RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s close aide Zulfi Bukhari was interrogated by an investigative team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday.
The London-based businessman was probed for one-and-a-half hours as he appeared before the accountability body in Rawalpindi for the first time in an ongoing NAB probe against him pertaining to offshore companies.
Bukhari, who was accompanied by his counsel, presented details regarding his offshore companies to the accountability body.
Speaking to media men as he left the NAB office, Bukhari said, “This was an initial investigation and the case will go on for now.”
“NAB has asked me to appear before the investigative team again on Wednesday (July 27),” he further said.
Responding to a question, the PTI chairman’s close aide said, “My name was not on the Exit Control List and I have said this before as well.”
On June 21, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) instructed Bukhari to join an ongoing NAB probe against him.
The court issued the directives while hearing two petitions together: one filed by Bukhari seeking removal of his name from the blacklist, and the other where a petitioner has challenged Bukhari’s name removal from the blacklist within mere hours which allowed him to leave the country for Umrah.
Bukhari was barred from leaving Pakistan when he proceeded to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah on Monday, June 11. Bukhari was later granted a one-time permission to go abroad for six days by the Interior Ministry.
Sikandar Bashir Mohmand, the counsel for Zulfi Bukhari, argued that his client, a British national, left for Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah, along with PTI chairman Imran Khan, in a special flight from the Noor Khan Airbase when the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) informed him that his name was on the blacklist.
A NAB prosecutor informed the court that Zulfi Bukhari failed to appear before the accountability body despite being issued notices. Bukhari replied to a summons on March 20 that he is a British citizen and NAB lacks the jurisdiction to investigate him, the prosecutor said, adding that the bureau was not informed whether the Interior Ministry had placed his name on the blacklist.
Interior Ministry officials informed the bench that they had received a letter from the NAB on May 10 requesting that Bukhari’s name be placed on the Exit Control List.
The ministry placed Bukhari’s name on the blacklist after receiving the letter, the officials informed.
According to Bukhari’s petition, he is facing an inquiry and the NAB has issued multiple notices to him since February this year. The petitioner responded to the third notice saying that since he was a British national, NAB lacked the jurisdiction to investigate him.