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ISLAMABAD: Terming the corruption investigation ordered by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Farah Khan – a close friend of Bushra Bibi – a political vendetta, former prime minister Imran Khan on Sunday fully defended her, saying she is absolutely innocent.

The statement from Khan who is also chairman PTI comes days after the top anti-graft body – the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) – launched a probe into alleged illegal assets beyond known sources of income, money laundering, and maintaining various accounts in the name of businesses by Farah Khan.

Speaking at a presser, the former prime minister said: “I want to ask NAB that the case which it has opened against Farah Khan is apolitically motivated”.

“Does this even merit a case? he asked in a response to a question at a press conference, where he also presented his party’s white paper on the ruling coalition’s graft cases.

“First of all, the NAB says she [Farah Khan] has wealth beyond known sources of income. This only applies to public office holders. Was she ever an MNA or a public office holder? She has been working in real estate for the past 20 years,” he added.

He continued that the NAB said her assets saw a significant increase in three years, adding just check and see how much real estate has made money for people.

“Ask the ones in real estate how much money they’ve made. But it is no crime,” he questioned.

He said that it is the same case that Jemima faced regarding alleged smuggling of tiles, adding Jemima’s only fault as that she was my wife.

“Farah Khan is absolutely innocent. I want her to have the opportunity to defend herself. A proper hearing should be conducted,” he maintained.

The PTI chief said he was presenting the white paper so that the nation could know that all of the ruling coalition’s corruption cases started in their own tenures, from 2008-2018 — apart from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) cases.

He alleged that the “newly imposed government” has started working on getting rid of the cases, adding their true interest was to get rid of the cases.

The ex-PM said Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz are on bail in the Panama Papers case while Hassan and Hussain fled the country during their tenure.

“When they were asked to give a reply, they said they are not Pakistani citizens. There is no example of this. A three-time prime minister had three properties in London. Their businesses are abroad and their sons say they are not Pakistanis. This is only what has been found in the inquiry, this is the tip of the iceberg,” he added.

Khan said that there are several money laundering cases involving billions of rupees against the ruling coalition, adding these are the people who have been looting the count6ry for the last three decades.

He said that they took money on their servants’ names and sent it abroad and now they have transferred the investigator and the IOs (investigating officers) have been removed from the case.

“The special prosecutor has been told not to come. They have kept the record with themselves [...] this is what happened when Musharraf gave an NRO to Zardari,” he added.

Then they have four NAB cases on Shehbaz, Hamza and Suleman, he said, adding in another case, a drain was built towards Ramzan Sugar Mills using the public money which is an open and shut case of corruption.

He alleged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, when the Punjab chief minister, used the premier’s plane and went on a number of foreign and domestic trips.

The PTI chief voiced apprehensions that the record of corruption cases against the ruling coalition members would disappear soon.

He termed what he said was the government’s move to quash graft cases against itself and coalition members as NRO II, warning that the current rulers would resume laundering money abroad to further dent the national economy.

“The imported government has been imposed on us and they are going to start the corruption business once again,” he alleged.

He mentioned the FIA cases against the two families – Zardari and Sharifs and regretted the justice system of the country could not take those cases to its logical conclusion.

He called the case against himself and his party leaders for Masjid-e-Nabwi incident as foolish. He reiterated that those leaders would be treated in the same manner in elsewhere in the world.

“They do not understand the rage of Pakistanis against them,” he added.

Imran said the government should be ashamed of accusing him and his associates of planning the incident of Masjid-e-Nabwi. He also condemned the treatment meted out to Sheikh Rashid’s nephew who has been arrested upon his arrival in Islamabad after performing umrah.

He then said his government had never opened cases against anyone of the opposition in his tenure.

“Tell me one instance where that had happened,” he questioned.

To a question, he reiterated his criticism of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, saying his party has no confidence in him.

He alleged that the CEC left no stone unturned to victimise the PTI, which will not be tolerated.

“We believe he (CEC) influenced the courts... when it was about to make its decision on early elections. He said to the courts that it would take six to seven months to conduct elections,” he lamented.

He said that the courts should have dismissed him and brought a new CEC as according to the constitution, elections have to be called within 90 days when they are announced. Khan was referring to the Supreme Court hearing of April 7, in which Raja told the court elections could not be held in 90 days because the ECP had to conduct delimitation, which would take time, adding the CEC told the court that the commission would take a minimum of four months to conduct the delimitation and another 90 days for the general elections.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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