Imran, wife indicted in Toshakhana case

Charges to be framed against accused in £190m reference on 17th

Our Correspondent January 09, 2024
PTI chief Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi appear in court. Photo: screengrab


PTI founding chairman Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi on Tuesday were indicted in the Toshakhana (gift repository) reference. Ironically, a day after the issuance of his release order, Imran was arrested again while in custody – this time in connection with the GHQ gate attack and other incidents of violence on May 9 last year – and remanded by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) for two days.

Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir conducted the hearing of the Toshakhana and the £190 million settlement cases inside the premises of Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail. The judge read out the charge sheet to Imran and his wife and on the court’s query, the couple pleaded not guilty. The court summoned the prosecution witnesses on the next hearing.

It also rejected the bail application of the PTI founding chairman in the Toshakhana case. The next hearing of the case will be held on Jan 11 (Thursday) at Adiala Jail. The Toshakhana is a state department which retains gifts given by state officials, foreign diplomats, and heads of different governments.

Read Imran challenges IHC rejection in Toshakhana case

According to the Constitution of Pakistan, the recipient of the gifts must report them to the Cabinet Division and pay an appropriate amount if they wanted to keep them for personal use. Last month, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed a new reference against Imran and his wife in the accountability court for allegedly retaining 58 gifts against an undervalued amount over Rs142 million of the total of 108 that the couple had received from different heads of states and foreign dignitaries during the PTI founding chairman’s tenure as the premier.

NAB will present a total of 20 witnesses against the former prime minister and his wife in the Toshakhana case. Sohaib Abbasi, the private appraiser of the gifts, is expected to testify as an approver. The other witnesses include the former premier's military secretary and his deputy; Deputy Consul General in Dubai Rahimullah Khan; Assistant Protocol Secretary of the PM Office Zahid Sarfraz; and many officers from the Toshakhana section.

The same judge also heard the £190 million settlement case against Imran, his wife and others. The £190 million (approximately Rs60 billion) settlement case – also known as the Al-Qadir Trust case – pertains to the money of a property tycoon being laundered and seized by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) during Imran's government in 2019.


The agency said the assets would be passed to the Pakistani government. Later, the then premier Imran acquired approval of the settlement with the Britain’s crime agency from his cabinet on Dec 3, 2019, without disclosing the details of the confidential agreement. It was decided that the money would be submitted to the Supreme Court on behalf of the tycoon.

NAB alleged that the real estate tycoon gave land in Jhelum and Islamabad to the Al-Qadir Trust in exchange for that favour. The Al-Qadir Trust is a non-governmental welfare organisation set up by Bushra and Imran in 2018 when he was in office. The trust runs the Al-Qadir University spread over 458 kanals of land at Mouza Bakrala in Sohawa.

During the proceedings, Bushra was provided with copies of the £190 million settlement reference after the court met her condition to take up Imran’s bail plea, which it rejected. The judge decided to frame charges against the accused in the £190 million settlement reference on Jan 17. Speaking to the media outside Adiala Jail, Imran’s lawyer Shoaib Shaheen said his client was in state custody on May 9.
He maintained that the footage of Imran’s arrest and the attacks on Lahore’s Jinnah House – which was being used as the residence of the city’s corps commander – and the gate of the GHQ in Rawalpindi had been “disappeared”. He questioned the motive behind the move.

Read LHC to hear plea against Toshakhana ruling from Jan 12

Separately, Special ATC Judge Malik Ejaz Asif granted the physical remand of the PTI founding chairman for two days in 12 cases linked to the May 9 riots, including the GHQ gate attack one. The court ordered the investigation officers of all the cases to conduct their inquiries inside the premises of Adiala Jail.

It prohibited the police from taking Imran out of prison for their investigation, ordering them to submit their report to the court about the cases on Jan 11 at Adiala Jail. During the hearing in which Imran participated via a video link, the police sought a 30-day physical remand of the deposed premier in 12 cases linked to the May 9 riots, including the GHQ gate and Army Museum attacks as well as arson at the offices of sensitive organisations on Rawalpindi’s Shamsabad Murree Road and a metro bus station in the garrison city.

The Royal Artillery Bazaar SHO sought Imran’s physical remand in the May 9 violence cases. The police prosecutors claimed that the May 9 violence was plotted by the PTI founding chairman while the party activists carried out the attacks on his instructions. The defence lawyers argued that Imran was under arrest at the time of the protests and not aware about them.

They added that the PTI founding chairman’s name was not mentioned in any of the FIR or challan presented in connection with these cases. The judge announced a reserved verdict in which he turned down the police’s request for a 30-day remand, instructing them to complete their investigation in two days without taking Imran out of prison. A special court formed to hear cases under the Official Secrets Act issued Imran's release order on Monday if he was not wanted for any other offence.



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