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Saturday April 20, 2024

Azam Khan testifies in £190m NCA settlement case against Imran

Azam Khan appeared before combined investigation team of NAB probing £190 million National Crime Agency (NCA) UK settlement case and recorded his statement on the case

By Arshad Dogar & Asim Yasin & News Desk
July 22, 2023
Ex-principal secretary to prime minister Azam Khan. — Facebook/File.
Ex-principal secretary to prime minister Azam Khan. — Facebook/File.

ISLAMABAD: Former principal secretary Azam Khan Friday appeared before the combined investigation team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) probing £190 million National Crime Agency (NCA) UK settlement case and recorded his statement on the case. 

NAB, Rawalpindi, had issued a notice to Azam Khan on July 20 directing him appear before the probing team.

The other day, Azam Khan in a statement appeared in the media accused former prime minister Imran Khan of using the US cipher to create a false narrative against the institutions.

On Friday, Azam Khan, being the former principal secretary to Imran Khan, recorded his statement as a witness in £190 million NCA settlement case. He also had a question-answer session with regard to the case.

Sources said that Azam Khan’s statement negated Imran Khan’s claims on the issue. The former principal secretary answered the questions regarding cabinet meeting on the £190 million settlement case and also informed NAB about other meetings regarding the sealed note of the case.

Sources claimed that former accountability czar Shahzad Akbar played a key role in the preparation of the note for the cabinet meeting which was got approved by the cabinet. Before presenting the note before the cabinet, a meeting was held with former prime minister Imran Khan in the chair in which Shahzad Akbar was also present. Imran gave approval of presenting the note in the cabinet meeting.

Sources said the NAB team also gave a questionnaire to Azam Khan and he sought a week’s time to reply.

Sources said NAB also asked former principal secretary for all the documents related to the case as he was the custodian of documents related to case and cabinet decisions. According to Geo News, Azam Khan also attested the documents in the possession of NAB and told the investigators how the payment was transferred to Pakistani account. He told the NAB team that he was witness to many things happened at that time, adding that Imran Khan had given instructions regarding the issue.

Source in the NAB indicated that Azam Khan may also be summoned in Toshakhana case. It is to be mentioned here that Azam Khan was earlier summoned by NAB on June 6, but he failed to appear as he was missing and his family had registered a report in a police station of his disappearance.

Meanwhile, the joint investigation team (JIT) formed to investigate the May 9 incidents has declared Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan “responsible” for the vandalism. According to the report prepared by the JIT, the accused nominated in case 23/96 for attacking Jinnah House including PTI chief were all “guilty”. The report says the “planning and execution” of the attack on Jinnah House by the accused has been established.

According to the JIT investigation, Jinnah House storming and all the other May 9 incidents were carried out as “planned”. The JIT detectives based their findings on the thorough analysis of digital evidence, mobile videos, closed-circuit footage and cellphone contacts.

Talking to the media outside ATC Court on Friday, Special Prosecutor Farhad Ali Shah said: “We need custody of the PTI chief”. He further explained that the police conducted a thorough investigation from all aspects.

He said he has informed the court that the police had concluded their investigation, and their findings indicated the PTI chairman’s guilt on the charges.

The cases in question concern the attacks on Jinnah House, Askari Tower, Shadman Town Police Station, PMLN Model Town office and setting ablaze a container.

Shah further said that they would have to get access to some social media pages during the custody of the former premier.

As the protests were underway, social media was flooded with footage of rioting and vandalism at various spots, including the Jinnah House and General Headquarters, the army’s head of office in Rawalpindi.

“It will be our request from the court to dismiss the bail of the PTI chairman on August 8 next. If arrested, his physical remand will be given,” he stated, adding that “he [Imran Khan] should be arrested as this is not a bailable case”.

Earlier, the special anti-terrorism court of Lahore extended the bail of Imran in five cases including the Jinnah House attack till August 8, Daily Jang reported.

Judge Abhar Gul Khan of the ATC conducted the hearing of the case and the PTI chief appeared before the court.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has said that Imran Khan can be disqualified from holding a public office in cipher gate.

Speaking to Geo News on Friday, the federal minister said the former PM used a diplomatic cipher for political purposes and he could be charged with treason for using the classified document for vested interest.

“Article 6 can be imposed on the PTI chief,” he said while referring to the law that deals with high treason under which an accused can be sentenced to death and life imprisonment.

He termed the former principal secretary to the ex-PM Azam Khan’s confessional statement “important”, saying the former premier’s aide has validated his opponents’ allegations.

Imran’s top aide had revealed in the confessional statement that the then-prime minister last year used the diplomatic cypher sent by Pakistan’s envoy to Washington to concoct a narrative against the establishment and opposition.

In a similar statement a day earlier, Law Minister Azam Khan said that the PTI chief can be sentenced to up to 14 years for using diplomatic cypher for political purposes.

Azam Khan, who has been “missing” since last month, has recorded his statement under CrPC 164 before a magistrate, the sources added, with no information on his whereabouts. In his confession, Azam Khan claimed that when he shared the cipher with Imran, the former premier was “euphoric” and termed the language as a “US blunder”.

“There can be no bigger betrayal than this,” Khawaja Asif said while referring to the confessional statement that purportedly validated the ruling coalition’s claims that the PTI chief jeopardised the country’s national security by using the classified document for political purposes. “National security was compromised and the official secrets act was violated,” Asif added.