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Monday March 04, 2024

Illegal constructions on state land: FIA arrests Bushra Bibi’s ex-husband

September 26, 2023

LAHORE: Khawar Farid Maneka, former husband of Bushra Bibi, the wife of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, was arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) at Lahore airport on Monday.

The Agency said in a statement the detainee was barred from travelling to Dubai by a private airline, as his name was placed on the exit control list (ECL). Later on, he was handed over to the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Punjab, which presented him before a Lahore court. The judicial magistrate granted ACE officials one-day transitory remand of Khawar Maneka and directed them to present him before the relevant court on Tuesday (today).

Maneka has been arrested for making illegal constructions on the state land in Pakpattan. ACE Director General Sohail Zafar Chatha confirmed that an inquiry was under way against Maneka over a reference, filed by the Okara deputy commissioner. According to the reference, Maneka had allegedly constructed a marriage hall and 26 shops on a site designated for a graveyard. “The marriage hall was built on a four-kanal land of a cemetery without any approval from the authorities concerned,” the DG said.

“Maneka has illegally been occupying the land of Pir Islam Graveyard Haveli Rakha for long,” he claimed.

According to the first information report (FIR), a case was lodged under sections 409 (Criminal breach of trust by a public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (Forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (Using as genuine a forged document).

It said the land was valued at millions of rupees and no money was paid to the government for it. The report stated that an inquiry was initiated over pointation of the ACE Sahiwal. It also alleged that officials of the Revenue, Auqaf and Excise departments helped Maneka to grab the land.

The FIA DG said Maneka was trying to escape from the country when he was apprehended. “The anti-corruption officials foiled his attempt to flee the country and arrested him,” claimed the official.

A spokesperson for the ACE said arrest warrants for Maneka had been issued on Sept 14. The accused had made over Rs2 billion from the illegal shops, built on the state land. “Maneka will be taken to Sahiwal division today after completing all legal requirements,” the spokesperson said, adding that raids were being conducted to arrest other accused.

The FIR said Maneka and his family had illegally collected Rs25.988 million as rent for the shops so far. It alleged that the illegal rent collection from the marriage hall cost the exchequer a loss of Rs13.670 million.

Official sources said Khawar Maneka and his two sons have been charged with inflicting financial losses on the exchequer, as the land was not registered with the Auqaf Department chief administrator. A case was lodged on the complaint of ASI Binyamin Iqbal, filed on August 11, 2023.