Islamabad: Provincial minister and senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader, Aleem Khan, resigned on Wednesday after he was taken into custody in Lahore by Pakistan’s anti-graft watchdog. National Accountability Bureau (Nab) detained him for owning assets beyond his known sources of income and an offshore company case.
Prime Minister Imran Khan welcomed the PTI minister’s voluntary resignation before facing charges in the court and said that all the procedures should be in accordance with the law. Earlier in the day, the minister had submitted his resignation to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.
Nab took Khan, the provincial minister for local government and community development, into custody on Wednesday, after he appeared before the anti-graft watchdog in the offshore company case and for having accumulated assets beyond known sources of income. Khan was detained for further interrogation when he was unable to satisfy the officials regarding the money trail for his assets, according to reports. He will be produced before the accountability court on January 7.
Just before his arrest, the minister told media he would voluntarily face the cases against him, adding, “I have faith in the judiciary and I will succeed.”
He earlier said that he had provided the details of his assets to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
Khan has been probed by the bureau in multiple inquiries, including one involving offshore company Hexam Investment Overseas Ltd, one for owning assets beyond his known sources of income, and inquiries into Park View housing society and River Age Housing Society.
Nab had initiated probe into Khan’s offshore company after he was named in Panama Leaks in 2016 among 435 Pakistanis.
The serving minister’s arrest indicates the culture of self-accountability in Pakistan.
“Aleem Khan’s arrest has proven that no one is above the law and everyone must face accountability,” Federal Minister for Railway Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad told local TV channel.
Pakistan’s opposition leaders, who have been yearning for fair accountability process, hailed the move. Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former Governor Sindh Mohammad Zubair called Khan’s arrest a “big development” and demanded resignations from ministers who are under investigation by the anti-corruption watchdog.
Khan is the third PTI minister after Azam Swati and Babar Awan to resign within the first few months of PTI government.