Imran remanded in NAB custody for eight days

PTI Chairman Imran Khan can be seen sitting in a room which was given the status of a court as a “one-time dispensation” on May 10, 2023. — YouTube Screengrab via Geo News
PTI Chairman Imran Khan can be seen sitting in a room which was given the status of a court as a “one-time dispensation” on May 10, 2023. — YouTube Screengrab via Geo News

ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court No-1 Wednesday approved an eight-day physical remand of the PTI chief and former prime minister Imran Khan in the Al-Qadir Trust case. The court conducted the hearing at the New Police Lines Guest House.

The NAB sought a two-week physical remand. However, Imran’s legal team opposed the request. Imran’s lawyer Khawaja Harris maintained that the PTI chief would cooperate in the investigation and there would be no need for the physical remand. Deputy Prosecutor General NAB Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi, Special Prosecutor Rafi Maqsood, NAB investigation officer Mian Umar Nadeem and Prosecutor Sardar Zulqarnain were present in the court. Imran was also represented by Barrister Ali Gohar and Advocate Ali Bukhari.

The NAB prosecutor told the accountability court that the arrest warrant was shown to Imran Khan at the time of his arrest. But the PTI chief maintained that he was shown the warrant at the NAB office. In his arguments, the NAB prosecutor told the court that the case pertained to corruption, which was investigated by the National Crime Agency (NAC) of the UK. “The money in this case was to be transferred to the Government of Pakistan,” he added. Haris said his client was arrested illegally. He said Imran was also being dragged in many other cases, adding that his client will join the investigation and cooperate. The court later reserved its verdict.

Meanwhile, Imran told the accountability court that his life was in danger. “I have not been to the washroom in 24 hours,” he told the judge and requested that he be allowed to access his personal physician Dr Faisal Sultan. “I am afraid I will meet the same fate as Maqsood Chaprasi,” Imran said in reference to an alleged key witness in the money laundering case against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Maqsood died of cardiac arrest last year. The PTI had termed the death mysterious. “They give [you] an injection, and [you] slowly die,” the ex-premier said.

Hours after the location of Imran’s hearing in the anti-graft case was changed, Faisal Chaudhry Advocate filed a petition challenging the move in the Islamabad High Court (IHC). He requested the court to declare the notification of “forming the police lines court illegal”, adding that Imran’s legal team should be allowed to meet him. Advocate Chaudhry also maintained that not allowing the legal team to meet Imran Khan will affect the conduct of a fair trial.

In a notification dated May 9, the government announced that the location of the court hearing the case against Imran had been changed to the Police Lines guesthouse in Islamabad. As part of a “one-time dispensation”, the local administration declared “New Police Guest House, Police Lines Headquarters H 11/1, Islamabad, the venue of hearing of the case titled ‘District Election Commissioner Vs Imran Khan Niazi’ and for the appearance of Imran Khan Niazi before Honorable Judge Accountability Court – I, Islamabad on 10th May 2023, instead of F-8 Court Complex, Islamabad and Judicial Complex G 11/4, Islamabad.”

Amid strict security, three of Imran’s lawyers — Khawaja Haris, Ali Bukhari and Barrister Gohar — were allowed to enter the Police Lines Headquarters. Notably, the PTI had provided a list of 20 lawyers but only three of them were permitted to enter the premises.

Meanwhile, the PTI leadership, including Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, and Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Muhammad Khalid Khurshid Khan, were not allowed to reach the venue of the hearing.

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