PTI chairman Imran Khan on Saturday admitted to investing the funds of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust (SKMT) in a private housing project, multiple media reports suggest.
It was revealed during the hearing of a Rs10 billion defamation case filed against PML-N’s Khawaja Asif, wherein the ex-premier appeared through video link.
Additional Sessions Judge Umeed Ali Baloch heard the case, as lawyers from the two sides furnished the arguments.
During cross-examining of the PTI chief, Asif’s lawyer Barrister Haider asked him questions regarding an investment in a private housing project with SKMT funds.
Admitting to the investment, Imran said he was informed about it by the SKMT board. However, he said that he now doesn’t remember the name of the project.
To another question, Imran said he did not remember if the information was conveyed to him in writing or verbally.
According to him, the matter stood closed with the deposit of the $3 million by the board members. To which, Asif’s lawyer remarked that the matter was ‘only getting started’.
“At the time of the investment, the dollar rate was Rs60 and when it was returned, the rate had reached Rs120,” he maintained.
In Oct last year, the Election Commission disqualified Imran Khan from politics in the highly-anticipated Toshakhana verdict.
Khan was disqualified from his Mianwali seat in the National Assembly under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”.
The decision was taken unanimously by a five-judge bench headed by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja.
According to the decision, Khan stands disqualified for five years. Additionally, criminal proceedings will be initiated against Imran Khan for misdeclaration.
The reference against the former prime minister had been filed by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) in August of this year. PML-N lawmaker Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha submitted the reference to the commission contending that Imran had not declared gifts received from the Toshakhana in his assets declaration. He argued that the PTI chief should be disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.
The decision taken by the ECP rendered Imran Khan unfit to retain his parliamentary seat. After the verdict was announced, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry in a press conference urged party’s supporters to come out of their houses to protest against the decision. Asad Umar, on the occasion, said that they will challenge this decision in court.
Earlier this month, the top electoral authority sought an explanation from the former premier as to why he was still holding the top post in his party despite his disqualification.
The commission had initiated the process of his removal as party’s chief in light of the verdict. In October 2022.