LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday arrested Senior Punjab Minister Aleem Khan for owning assets beyond his known sources of income, a spokesperson for the watchdog said.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader was taken into custody as he appeared before NAB Lahore. The Punjab local government minister was being investigated by NAB in cases pertaining to owning assets beyond his known sources of income and an offshore company.
NAB will present Aleem before an accountability court tomorrow to seek his remand.
Following the arrest, Aleem Khan resigned from the post of Punjab local government minister and sent his resignation to the chief minister.
“I will fight against my arrest and the case in court,” Aleem was quoted as saying. “I am resigning due to moral reasons.”
Aleem arrived at the NAB Office in Thokar Niaz Baig, Lahore around 10:45am, sources said. During an informal talk with the media he informed that he had been summoned by NAB and will share further details afterwards, sources added. However, he was prevented from leaving the office and the cars he had arrived in left the premises.
This is the fourth time the senior Punjab minister appeared before the accountability bureau. Aleem had last appeared before NAB on August 8 when he was handed a questionnaire and told to appear on February 6 (today).
Earlier it emerged that Aleem owned assets worth over Rs918 million. According to Aleem’s nomination papers submitted for the recently held elections, he holds total assets worth Rs918,278,855. Aleem’s personal property is valued at more than Rs159 million while his ownership of shares is said to be worth more than Rs129.3 million.
Aleem taken into custody for further investigation: Chohan
Punjab Information Minister Fayazul Hasan Chohan while speaking to Geo News said, “NAB has the authority to arrest any official or bureaucrat who owns disproportionate assets.”
“A case had been ongoing against Aleem and he appeared before NAB for the second time in that case,” the provincial information minister said. “Aleem has never spoken against NAB or state institutions and neither will the Punjab government or any officials do so — this is the difference between us and the Sharifs and Zardaris,” he added.
“Aleem is not a suspect and no reference has been filed against him,” Chohan asserted.
Further, Chohan rejected reports that Aleem has resigned from the post of Punjab local government minister. “There is no need for him to resign right now and nor has a resignation been forwarded to the Punjab chief minister. NAB will further investigate and then decide whether to file a reference.”
Aleem’s arrest a positive development: Muhammad Zubair
Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Muhammad Zubair while speaking to Geo News said that he believes
“today’s development is positive”.
“If Aleem Khan is in jail, how will the provincial government run?” he asked.