Global Courant 2023-05-23 21:43:17
ISLAMABAD – Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was questioned by an anti-revenue agency on corruption charges on Tuesday, his lawyer said, less than a week after he declined a summons and dismissed the charges against him.
The embattled Khan, who says allegations of corruption have been fabricated, is locked in a confrontation with the powerful military, which has ruled Pakistan directly or overseen civilian governments throughout history.
Khan was arrested and detained in the same case on May 9, sparking widespread protests from his supporters and raising new concerns about the stability of the nuclear-armed country, which is grappling with its worst economic crisis in decades.
Khan was later released on bail.
“He has joined the investigation,” his lawyer, Faisal Chaudhry, said, referring to his questioning by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials on charges that he and his wife received millions of dollars worth of land as a bribe from a real estate magnate through a charity.
Khan called the allegations “absolutely false, frivolous and fabricated” in a statement to NAB last week.
The former international cricket star became prime minister in 2018 with the tacit support of the military, though both sides denied it at the time, but he later fell out with generals and was ousted as prime minister after losing a confidence vote in 2022.
Khan, 70, has been campaigning for snap elections ever since, with rallies with his supporters across the country.
The prime minister who succeeded him, Shahbaz Sharif, has rejected Khan’s call for a general election before it is due to take place at the end of this year.
The graft case is one of dozens registered against Khan in the past year. He says there are nearly 150 cases in total and the allegations are part of an effort by the government and military generals to keep him and his party out of politics.
The government and military deny this, but in recent protests against his arrest, his supporters looted the homes of senior officers and stormed army headquarters, posing an unprecedented challenge to the Muslim country’s most powerful institution.
His party, which denies orchestrating the violence, also faced a crackdown following the protests.