A Pakistani anti-corruption court allowed the accountability bureau four days to question imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Al-Qadir Trust bribery case on Friday, news agency PTI reported. Khan, 71, has been held at Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail in multiple instances since September 26. On Friday, Judge Muhammad Bashir held an in-prison hearing in the high-security facility. During the hearing, the judge denied the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) request for physical remand and granted the anti-graft body a four-day permit to question the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party chief inside the Adiala jail in the case involving Rs 50 billion in alleged corruption.
The Ali-Qadir Trust case is a settlement of 190 million pounds (about Rs 50 billion) handed to Pakistan by the UK’s National Crime Agency after the sum was recovered from a Pakistani property mogul.
Instead of placing the money in the national treasury, Khan, as prime minister at the time, authorised the businessman to use it to partially clear a Rs 450 billion punishment ordered by the Supreme Court some years ago.
In exchange, the tycoon reportedly donated around 57 acres of land to a trust established by Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, to construct the Al-Qadir University in the Sohawa region of Punjab’s Jhelum district.
Bibi, who is also charged in the case, attended the session. After the NAB’s investigating officer informed the accountability court that the chairman had not issued arrest warrants against her, the judge granted her temporary bail in the matter until November 21.
The hearing was later postponed until November 21.
Separately, hearings in the cypher case were postponed till November 21 due to the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) stay order against Khan in the case, which was granted earlier this week.
The adjournment procedure was briefly conducted by Special Court Judge Abul Hasnat Muhammad Zulqarnain.
The alleged cypher (secret diplomatic communication) detailed a meeting last year between US State Department officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu and Pakistani ambassador Asad Majeed Khan.
Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister from August 2018 to April 2022, is accused of fabricating a narrative in which his administration was deposed as a result of a US-hatched plot, an accusation that Washington has consistently refuted.
The Federal Investigation Agency charged Khan and his close adviser and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the case in August.
Qureshi was also detained in connection with the cypher case and is being held at the Adiala Prison.
Khan and Qureshi have both entered not guilty pleas to the allegations.
The caretaker government in Pakistan has approved the duo’s prison trial in the cypher case in March 2022, based on an alleged violation of the Official Secrets Act while dealing with a secret diplomatic cable by the Pakistan embassy in Washington.
The two leaders’ close family members were present in court throughout the session.