Pakistan court grants interim bail to Imran Khan in false affidavits case

According to the FIR, Arif Masood Naqvi, owner of the Wooton Cricket Limited, transferred “ill-gotten” money to a bank account registered under the name of Mr. Khan's party.

October 17, 2022 05:09 pm | Updated 05:09 pm IST - Islamabad

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks at an event of Karachi Bar Association in Karachi on October 14, 2022.

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks at an event of Karachi Bar Association in Karachi on October 14, 2022. | Photo Credit: AFP

A special court in Pakistan on Monday granted interim bail to former prime minister Imran Khan till October 31 in a case filed against him and his party leaders for allegedly submitting false affidavits to the election commission in connection with a prohibited funding case.

The Federal Investigation Agency last week filed the case against Mr. Khan, 69, and other senior leaders of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party on Tuesday.

According to the first information report (FIR), one Arif Masood Naqvi, who is the owner of the Wooton Cricket Limited, transferred “ill-gotten” money to a bank account registered under the name of Mr. Khan's party.

The former prime minister filed bail petition earlier Monday in the Special Court, where Judge Raja Asif Mehmood after hearing the argument granted interim bail till October 13 against surety bond of PKR 100,000.

The FIA case is based on the last month decision by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the prohibited funding case against the PTI, which stated that the party did indeed receive money from prohibited sources.

It ruled that the party "knowingly and willfully" received funding from Wootton Cricket Limited, operated by business tycoon Arif Naqvi among other sources.

Mr. Khan and other leaders denied any wrongdoing by claiming that all money the PTI received was actually donations from Pakistanis living abroad.

Those implicated by the FIA include Sardar Azhar Tariq Khan, Saifullah Khan Nyazee, Syed Yunus Ali Raza, Aamer Mehmood Kiani, Tariq Rahim Sheikh, Tariq Shafi, Faisal Maqbool Shaikh, Hamid Zaman and Manzoor Ahmad Chaudhary.

The FIA already took into custody the two of the accused — Saifullah Khan Nyazee and Hamid Zaman.

Last week, the Islamabad High Court had granted Khan a protective bail in the case till October 18 with the order to seek proper forum for proper bail. The court also barred the FIA from arresting Khan.

Mr. Khan has been facing different cases since he was removed from office in April this year through a no-confidence vote. He has maintained that the cases were an act of political vendetta by the current government.

Mr. Khan was ousted from power in April after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.

The cricketer-turned-politician, who came to power in 2018, is the only Pakistani Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament.

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