Imran Khan faces anti-graft agency questioning over corruption charges
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan faced questioning by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on corruption charges yesterday, according to his lawyer Faisal Chaudhry. This comes less than a week after Khan refused a summons to appear and dismissed the allegations against him. The ex-cricket star, who has been in a confrontational relationship with the country’s powerful military, was arrested and detained on May 9, prompting widespread protests and concerns about Pakistan’s stability amid its worst economic crisis in decades.
“He has joined the investigation,” Chaudhry said, referring to Khan’s questioning by NAB officials. Bushra Khan, his wife, who also faces graft charges, accompanied him, but had not been questioned as of early Tuesday afternoon. While she has not commented on the charges, Khan has rejected them.
Khan, 70 years old, became prime minister in 2018 with the military’s implicit support, which both sides denied at the time. However, he later fell out with the generals and was removed from office after losing a confidence vote in 2022. Since then, he has been campaigning for a snap election, holding rallies with supporters across Pakistan.
The current prime minister, Shahbaz Sharif, has refused Khan’s call for a general election before it is due later this year. Khan’s has garnered widespread popularity among Pakistan’s 220 million people with a conservative, nationalistic agenda, and his challenge to the military establishment has further solidified his support.
Recent protests against his arrest saw his supporters ransacking the homes of senior officers and storming army headquarters, posing an unprecedented challenge to the nation’s most powerful institution. The NAB, which has investigated, tried, or jailed all prime ministers since 2008, had asked Khan to attend the investigation on May 18, but he declined. The NAB set a May 25 deadline for Khan to appear, which could have resulted in his arrest if he failed to comply.
The NAB arrested Khan this month on allegations that he and his wife received land worth millions of US dollars as a bribe from a real estate tycoon through a charitable trust. Khan called the allegations “absolutely false, frivolous and concocted” in a statement to NAB last week.
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