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ISLAMABAD: An Accountability Court on Wednesday deferred the indictment of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Founder and former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife in the £190 million National Crime Agency (NCA) scam commonly known as the Al-Qadir Trust case.

The Accountability Court judge, Muhammad Bashir, while hearing the case at Adiala jail, deferred framing of charge against Khan and his wife in the Al-Qadir Trust case after he was informed that a petition is pending before Islamabad High Court (IHC) regarding this case.

Jail authorities produced former premier Khan before the court. However, his wife Bushra Bibi did not appear before the court and she filed an exemption application before it through her counsel.

PTI founder and his wife’s counsel Sardar Latif Khosa, Shoaib Shaheen, Shahbaz Khosa, appeared before the court. National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzzafar Abbasi, prosecutor Amjad Perviz, and Irfan Bola also appeared before the court.

At the start of the hearing, PTI founder’s counsel Shaheen told the court that a petition filed by his clients is pending before the IHC regarding the Al-Qadir Trust case. The IHC did not hear the said plea as it was mistakenly fixed before the single bench, he said, adding that the division bench of the IHC will hear the said application on Thursday (today).

He requested the court to postpone the hearing of the Al-Qadir Trust case. The court approved Bushra Bibi’s plea seeking a one-day exemption from personal appearance before the court. The court approved PTI’s counsel’s request and adjourned the case till January 19. The court also issued directives to the accused to ensure their presence during the next hearing and charges will be framed against them.

Talking to reporters informally in the courtroom, former PM Imran Khan said that his party will not make an alliance with those who took NRO. He said that those who took NRO gathered in the PDM. “The nation will decide whether they want to become slaves or wish to become a free nation,” he said, adding that he would not accept slavery.

To a question about Iran’s violation of Pakistani airspace, he said that during the last 18 months, no focus has been made on foreign policy, first it damaged the relations with Afghanistan, now such news is coming from Iran. Former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari did not conduct a single visit to Afghanistan, he said.

To question regarding “Plan C” of PTI, Khan said that he could not disclose “Plan C” of his party as if he disclosed it then “Vigodala” would arrive. “I was arrested while doing biometrics from the wheelchair and Nawaz Sharif's biometrics were done at the airport,” he said.

The bureau filed a corruption reference against Khan, his wife, and six other accused in the Accountability Court in the £190 million National Crime Agency (NCA) scam commonly known as the Al-Qadir Trust case on December 1.

NAB nominated Khan, his wife Bushra Bibi, trustee of Al Qadir Trust; Farhat Shehzadi alias Farah Gogi; Shehzad Akbar, former special assistant to the prime minister on accountability and former chairman of Asset Recovery Unit (ARU); Malik Riaz Hussain, chief executive officer (CEO) of Bahria Town Private Limited, Ziaul Mustafa Nasim, a former expert on international criminal law ARU, Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, former trustee of Al Qadir Trust, and Ahmed Ali Riaz.

The same court during the previous hearing issued perpetual arrest warrants for six accused including Malik Riaz, Shehzad Akbar, Ziaul Mustafa Nasim, Zulfi Bukhari, Ahmed Ali Riaz, and FarhatShehzadi alias Farah Gogi for not appearing before the court as well as issued orders to freeze their properties after declaring them as proclaimed offender. The court issued directives to freeze the bank accounts and vehicle registers in the name of these accused.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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