Sheikh Rashid NAB Case
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has issued a summons to Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, former federal minister and Awami Muslim League (AML) chief, in relation to the Al-Qadir Trust case involving a settlement of £190 million. Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, a close confidant of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, has been directed to appear before the anti-corruption watchdog in person on Tuesday at 11 am.
Background of the Case
The case revolves around a settlement between the PTI government and a property tycoon, which allegedly resulted in a loss of £190 million to the national exchequer. According to the charges, the former prime minister, Imran Khan, and other accused individuals are said to have adjusted £190 million, which was sent by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) to the Pakistani government as part of an agreement with the property tycoon. They are also accused of receiving undue benefits, including land acquisition, to establish Al-Qadir University.
The NCA had previously seized assets worth £190 million from the property tycoon in Britain, with the intention of passing the assets to the government of Pakistan. The settlement with the property tycoon was considered a civil matter and did not imply a finding of guilt. Subsequently, then-prime minister Imran Khan obtained approval for the settlement from his cabinet on December 3, 2019, without disclosing the details of the agreement.
Summoning Sheikh Rashid
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, as a cabinet member of the former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government, has been summoned by the National Accountability Bureau Rawalpindi to record his statement in the £190 million National Crime Agency (NCA) UK settlement case. He had been asked to appear before a Combined Investigating Team (CIT) last week, but he sent his lawyer instead. Now, the CIT has re-summoned him to appear in person and record his statement at 11 am.
In a written reply to NAB, Sheikh Rashid claimed that he was absent from the cabinet meeting where the matter of the trust was discussed and had no information or evidence regarding the issue. He also mentioned his strained relations with Shahzad Akbar, stating that he was not even on talking terms with him. Sheikh Rashid asserted that he did not possess any evidence or documents related to the Al-Qadir Trust case.
Involvement of Other Cabinet Members
Sheikh Rashid is not the only senior member of the former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet who has been summoned by NAB in connection with the illegal settlement case. Fawad Chaudhry and Pervaiz Khattak have also received call-up notices. The Al-Qadir Trust, a non-governmental welfare organization, was established by Imran Khan and his present wife, Bushra Watto, in 2018 during his tenure as prime minister. The couple serves as the sole trustees of the trust, according to Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar.
The NAB’s summons to Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in the £190 million settlement case has added another chapter to the ongoing investigation involving the Al-Qadir Trust. The case raises concerns about alleged financial irregularities and misuse of public funds. As the investigation proceeds, it remains to be seen how the accused individuals will respond to the allegations and what evidence will be presented. The outcome of this case will have implications for the reputation and accountability of those involved, as well as the overall perception of corruption in the political landscape of Pakistan.