Punjab anti-corruption body summons Pak ex-PM Imran on June 19

Lahore: Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan has been asked to appear before the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) of Punjab on Monday in connection with a case related to the purchase of over 5,000 kanals (625 acres) of land at throwaway prices through fraud in the country’s Punjab province.

The ACE has sent summonses to Khan, his sister Uzma Khan and her husband Ahad Majeed in the Layyah land corruption case, a spokesperson of the ACE said on Saturday.

The 70-year-old Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief has been asked to appear before the ACE headquarters on June 19, while Uzma and her husband have been informed to present themselves before the ACE DG Khan, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.

Earlier, Khan was summoned by the ACE on June 16 but he did not appear before it. The summons was affixed at Khan’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore, it said.

The ACE has “clear evidence” of Khan’s involvement in the Layyah corruption scandal, the spokesperson said, adding that pressure was exerted on revenue officials of Bani Gala – Khan’s residence in Islamabad – for illegal transfer of land.

Uzma is accused of alleged fraud in the purchase of 5,261-kanal of land in Layyah district, reportedly worth billions of rupees, for a mere Rs 130 million. The ACE said that an FIR had been registered against the couple.

According to the spokesperson, the land was bought in 2021-22 through fraud, and Uzma and Majeed made a fake land transfer in their names.

The market value of the land was about Rs 6 billion, he said, adding that the purchase was made when the Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced aid for the Greater Thal Canal project aimed at irrigating barren lands through Thal Canal.

The spokesperson said Uzma had prior knowledge of the project and the couple forced the landowners to sell their land to them.

The landowners have filed complaints against Uzma and others for forcibly buying their land, he said.

The ACE said last week the suspect, using political influence, “snatched” 5000-kanal land from the local people who had been living there for many years.

The spokesperson said the role of other officials involved in the fraud would be investigated.

Khan was booked in the Layyah land corruption case on Sunday.

The total number of cases against him has now swelled to over 140 following his ouster as the prime minister of Pakistan in April last year.

Khan’s cases mostly relate to terrorism, inciting the public to violence, arson attacks, blasphemy, attempted murder, corruption and fraud.

The cricketer-turned-politician was ousted from power after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him for his independent foreign policy on Russia, China and Afghanistan.