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Imran not cooperating: NAB informs IHC

ISLAMABAD: The country’s top accountability watchdog has informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that former Prime Minister Imran Khan is refusing to cooperate in its ongoing investigation into the Toshakhana-gift repository scandal.

“[Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief] Imran Khan has been sent a questionnaire and details of gifts he received [from foreign dignitaries during his term as prime minister], but he is deliberately avoiding the investigation,” NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi told the court on Thursday.

Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi’s applications challenging the NAB inquiry into the Toshakhana matter were heard by a single-judge court led by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq.

On March 30, Imran Khan filed an appeal with the IHC against the NAB’s Toshakhana investigation. On April 1, the former first lady also contested the NAB letters issued to her on February 16 and 17, asking the court to declare them invalid.

She also asked the court to prevent NAB from converting the inquiry into a probe until her application was decided.

The IHC sent notifications to NAB on April 3 requesting responses to its inquiry into the Toshakhana matter. The NAB informed the court on Thursday that it has issued letters regarding Toshakhana gifts to all former cabinet members, not just Imran Khan.

Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi, the NAB’s Deputy Prosecutor General, told the court that PTI chairman was not complying with the probe.

This problem could have been averted, according to IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, if the notices had been served in compliance with the procedures. He emphasized the importance of the NAB following the law and following the norms while issuing notices, noting that accused individuals have the right to defend themselves.

The chief justice directed the NAB to issue a new notice to Imran and his wife after they had followed all of the rules.

He questioned if the NAB had any proof or if the case was based largely on newspaper accounts. The lawsuit eventually stayed until April 27 after the court directed NAB to provide a written response within seven days.

On November 8, 2022, the NAB began an investigation into Imran Khan’s alleged violation of Toshakhana norms. The NAB was formed a month after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) barred PTI chief from running for office.

The ECP ruled that Imran purchased presents from the state gift depository but failed to disclose the assets in declarations made to the commission.

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