Imran defends Farah Khan, says ‘she is absolutely innocent’

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ISLAMABAD:

Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman (PTI) Imran Khan on Sunday claimed the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) case against Farah Khan, a close aide of his wife Bushra Bibi, was unfounded and deemed the charges against her a “political vendetta” against him.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad where he presented the white paper on corruption charges against the coalition government, the former premier defended Farah stating that “she is absolutely innocent” and claiming her only “fault” was her close ties with his wife.

Imran added that there was a precedence for the ‘vendetta’, comparing the situation to the case against his former wife Jemima Goldsmith for smuggling antique tiles.

The ex-PM’s remarks come days after the NAB authorised an inquiry against Farah Khan for accumulating “illegal assets beyond known sources of income, money laundering, and maintaining various accounts in the name of businesses”.

The anti-graft body issued a statement saying that a huge turnover amounting to Rs847 million was found in her account during the last three years. It added that the amount did not commensurate with her stated account profile.

“These credits were received in her personal account and withdrawn immediately after credit within a short time period,” it stated.

NAB noted that several “adverse” media reports had been found where Farah — referred to in the statement as Farhat Shahzadi (alias Farah Khan) — was alleged of “being involved in [amassing] assets beyond legal means”. The anti-graft body further said in a review of Farah’s income tax returns, it was observed that her assets had “significantly increased” from 2018 onwards “for unknown reasons”.

Imran criticises blasphemy charges against PTI

In response to a question regarding the charges of blasphemy filed against him and party leaders over the incident at Masjid-e-Nabwi, the PTI chairman condemned the action deeming it “foolish”.

The former PM stated that the behaviour of the Pakistani pilgrims was a reaction to the “rage” felt by citizens over the ruling coalition government.

He claimed that the country’s leaders operated as a “mafia”, that “buys loyalties” or resorts to pressing charges.

Read Imran to issue whitepaper on ‘corruption of Sharif family’

“They [the coalition leaders] will be treated like this in any country that has Pakistanis,” he furthered, adding that “we were offering our prayers at the time this incident took place, they should be ashamed of accusing us.”

The chairman also condemned the arrest of former interior minter Sheikh Rashid’s nephew, Sheikh Rashid Shafiq earlier today at the Islamabad airport.

White paper presented

Presenting his white paper on the corruption charges against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership, Imran Khan said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is on bail alongside his son Chief Minister of Punjab Hamza Shehbaz on charges of money laundering,

Accusing the PML-N leaders of “robbing the country for 30 years”, the former PM clarified that no corruption cases were filed against the ruling coalition during the PTI’s tenure.

“All cases of the Sharif family were established from 2008 to 2018. In our time, the NAB was an independent body,” Imran said, adding that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) filed only one case against Shehbaz Sharif during the PTI’s tenure, for funnelling money to his domestic staff’s accounts.

The former premier said that there are cases pending against PM Shehbaz with the FIA, amounting to Rs16 billion.

He accused the PML-N leaders of interfering with the investigative authorities, stating that the officers and prosecutors involved in the cases have been “exchanged” or barred from going to court.

Read More: FIR lodged against Imran, others under blasphemy laws over incident at Masjid-e-Nabwi

“They [the government] will destroy the records, they are only concerned about eliminating their cases of corruption,” the ousted prime minister claimed.

The PTI chairman revealed that apart from the Panama Papers leak, the Sharif family has hidden properties and a total of 16 cases worth Rs40 to 45 billion are pending.

“These cases are just the tip of the iceberg,” Imran claimed.

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Originally published at tribune.com.pk

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