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IHC Reserves Verdict on Imran Khan’s Bail Petition in £190 Million NCA Settlement Case

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court reserved its verdict on Tuesday regarding Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan’s bail petition in the £190 million National Crime Agency (NCA) settlement reference.

A two-member bench, comprising IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, reserved the verdict after the completion of arguments.

Amjad Parvez, the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) special prosecutor, argued that the money should have gone to the Government of Pakistan. He noted that the Supreme Court stated the money belonged to Pakistan, and it was incorrectly sent to its account.

The Asset Recovery Unit informed the prime minister that securing this money was their success. However, according to documents, the money could not have been transferred without the NCA’s permission, Pervez added.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq asked if the money was the proceeds of crime, while Justice Jahangiri pointed out the lack of documentation, questioning the evidence of freezing or de-freezing accounts. The NAB lawyer was also questioned about evidence of out-of-court settlements.

Justice Jahangiri inquired about the money transfer before the prime minister’s note, to which the NAB prosecutor replied that the money was transferred after a confidentiality deed and that Imran Khan was the head of the Asset Recovery Unit. The confidentiality deed did not specify that the money would be deposited in the Supreme Court’s account, which Pervez called a “huge fraud.”

NAB counsel highlighted that a public servant cannot accept gifts from someone whose case is pending. He added that 458 kanals of land were purchased and transferred to Zulfi Bukhari. The land, bought from private individuals, was transferred during correspondence between the Asset Recovery Unit and the NCA.

The chief justice inquired about the trust registration date, with the NAB lawyer responding that the trust’s story was “very interesting.” Justice Jahangiri remarked that the entire story was interesting.

Imran Khan, speaking to journalists in Adiala jail, stated that the NCA had seized the amount due to “suspicious transactions” rather than “money laundering.” During the PTI government, the NCA seized assets worth £190 million from a property tycoon, intending to return them to Pakistan. The PTI government approved the settlement with the UK crime agency without disclosing details, deciding that the money would be submitted to the Supreme Court on behalf of the tycoon.

The Al-Qadir Trust was established shortly after this agreement, with trustees including Zulfi Bukhari, Babar Awan, Bushra Bibi, and her friend Farah Khan. The property tycoon transferred 458 kanals of land to Bukhari, who later transferred it to the trust. The trust is now registered in the names of Khan, Bushra Bibi, and Farah.

NAB officials are investigating the alleged misuse of power in recovering “dirty money” from the UK crime agency. The inquiry, based on “irrefutable evidence,” has been converted into an investigation. NAB claims that Khan and his wife obtained land worth billions to build an educational institute in return for legalizing the property tycoon’s black money.

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