LHC orders release of Aleem Khan on bail

The Lahore High Court ordered the release of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Aleem Khan judicial custody upon submission of surety bonds after he was granted bail earlier this week in a case involving possession of assets beyond means.

Khan, who was arrested in February this year, was remanded to NAB custody for investigation. After his arrest, the senior PTI minister had submitted his resignation to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, saying it was not “morally right” for him to stay in office.

On Wednesday, the bench comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem had granted Khan bail

The court had ordered Khan’s release on bail and directed the senior minister to furnish two surety bonds worth Rs1 million each.

Aleem Khan was in the Punjab Assembly on a production order when the court announced the bail yesterday. Talking to the media outside the assembly, he said he had no complaints. He said he supported Prime Minister Imran Khan not for any personal gain or office but for the betterment of the country. The PTI leader said he would say goodbye to politics permanently if corruption of a single penny was established against him.

Aleem Khan used the occasion to question the way the NAB goes about conducting its business. He said NAB should make any arrest only after something tangible was found against a suspect during investigation.

First PTI minister caught in NAB dragnet

NAB took Khan, a senior minister of the ruling party at the time, into custody in Lahore in February, 2019.

He faces multiple inquiries, including one involving offshore company Hexam Investment Overseas Ltd; one for owning assets beyond his known sources of income; and inquiries into his involvement in the Park View Housing Society, River Age Housing Society, and Multan Road.

The bureau’s officials allege that Khan had misused his authority as general secretary of the Park View Housing Society and as a past member of the provincial assembly to acquire assets beyond his known sources of income.

NAB had in January 2018 sought the records and details of offshore companies reportedly established in tax havens abroad by Khan and PML-Q’s Chaudhry Moonis Elahi. A Mutual Legal Assistance report pertaining to Khan’s case was provided to NAB Lahore earlier in January this year, following which the PTI leader was summoned and later arrested.

According to NAB Lahore, Khan had started a real state business in which he invested tens of millions of rupees. He bought 900 kanals of land and a further 600 kanals of land through a company set up for this purpose, A&A Private Ltd.

However, according to the bureau, the PTI leader was unable to show the sources of income with which he purchased the land.

NAB further alleges that Khan had set up multiple offshore companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Britain in 2005 and 2006, using them to purchase assets that cannot be explained by his means.