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Pakistan: Islamabad court approves Imran Khan's bail application in Pound 190 mn corruption case

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday approved former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's bail application in the Pound 190 million corruption case, Pakistan-based Dawn reported.

A two-member bench, comprising IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, had reserved the verdict on Tuesday after the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) prosecution team and Imran Khan's lawyer, Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, concluded their arguments.

The court set Imran Khan's bail at Pakistani Rupees (PKR) 1 million. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan will not be released from prison as he is still serving out his sentences in the cypher case and the iddat case. His sentences in two separate Toshakhana cases were suspended by the IHC.

In his concluding arguments in the court, NAB Special Prosecutor Amjad Pervaiz said that the trial of Imran Khan and his spouse was about to conclude, according to Dawn report.

Pervaiz said that out of 59 prosecution witnesses, 30 have testified so far, and the prosecution would reduce the number of remaining witnesses by 10 to 15 and produce the rest for recording statements.

Amjad Pervaiz cited a Supreme Court judgement where bail petitions were rejected in such situations. In his arguments, Imran Khan's lawyer, Khosa, termed the case baseless and added that there was no allegation of money laundering by the accused.

UK's National Crime Agency seized the money for a suspicious transaction, which was returned to Pakistan under an out-of-court settlement.

Khosa stated that the money could have been retrieved through UK courts. However, it would have taken time to complete the process. Khan's lawyer said that the government only facilitated the expeditious return of the seized amount.

Imran and his wife, Bushra Bibi, were indicted in the case by a Rawalpindi accountability court in February.

In December, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed a corruption reference against Imran and seven others, including his wife, in connection with Al-Qadir University.

The case alleges that Imran Khan and his wife obtained billions of rupees and land worth hundreds of kanals from Bahria Town Ltd for legalising PKR 50 billion that was identified and returned to Pakistan by the UK during the previous PTI government, according to Dawn report.

The case filed by NAB alleged that Imran Khan, who is currently incarcerated in Adiala Jail, played a "pivotal role in the illicit transfer of funds meant for the state of Pakistan into an account designated for the payment of land by Bahria Town, Karachi."

It also claimed that despite being given multiple opportunities to provide information, the accused deliberately, with mala fide intention, did not give information on one pretext or another.

Property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain and his sons Ahmed Ali Riaz, Mirza Shehzad Akbar, and Zulfi Bukhari are among the suspects mentioned in the case. However, instead of joining the probe and subsequent court proceedings, they absconded and were subsequently declared proclaimed offenders (PO), Dawn reported.

Bushra Bibi's close friend Farhat Shahzadi and Ziaul Mustafa Nasim, a legal expert for the PTI government's Assets Recovery Unit, were also declared proclaimed offenders. Subsequently, the properties of all six accused had been frozen.

Judge Mohammad Bashir was supposed to indict Imran Khan and his wife on January 26. However, the indictment was deferred to January 30. It was then scheduled for February 10; however, it was again deferred until February 27. (ANI)

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