Pakistan Opens Graft Probe Against Ousted PM Imran Khan Over Sale of Necklace
Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan on Wednesday addressed his first public meeting since losing a no-confidence motion last week. Reiterating his claim that a “foreign conspiracy” was behind his removal, Khan warned that he would be “more dangerous” now than he was as PM.
Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has initiated a probe into ex-prime minister Imran Khan over the sale of a necklace which he received as a gift during his tenure, Express Tribune reported on Wednesday.
Khan reportedly gave the necklace, which was worth approximately $991,000, to his special assistant Zulfikar Bukhari, who sold it to a jeweller. The then former prime minister is said to have deposited a few hundred thousand rupees in the state account after the jewellery transaction.
As per Pakistani law, Khan was supposed to deposit the necklace in the "Toshakhana", or the state gift repository. He could also have deposited half the worth of the necklace in the state treasury.
However, the report described Khan’s action as “illegal” since he didn’t follow either of the alternatives.
The investigation by the country’s top agency has been initiated just days after Khan was voted out of office in a no-confidence motion introduced in the National Assembly by Shehbaz Sharif
, the former opposition leader and the current Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Sharif chairs the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Pakistani President Arif Alvi had ordered the dissolution of the National Assembly and rejected the no-confidence motion against Khan on 3 April, prompting an intervention by the country’s Supreme Court.
After five days of arguments and hearing both sides, a five-judge bench of the top court unanimously restored the Assembly on 7 April.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan also called for voting on the no-confidence motion be held on 9 April. It finally led to Khan losing out in the parliament to Sharif, who was sworn in as Prime Minister this week. The voting was largely boycotted by lawmakers from Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf Pakistan (PTI) party.
Khan continues to maintain that the no-confidence motion was initiated at the behest of the US, which was unhappy about the country’s “independent foreign policy” under his government.
Khan has said that Washington was also upset by his trip to Moscow on 23-24 February, and had even conveyed through diplomatic channels that the visit be shelved.
The US has rejected Khan’s charges.
But Khan has stood firm, asking his supporters across the country to hit the streets in protest
against the “imported government”, a reference to the Sharif-led government.