An Accountability Court in Islamabad on Friday summoned the co-accused in the £190 million Bahria Town settlement case—Farhat Shahzadi, former special assistants to the prime minister Shahzad Akbar and Zulfiqar Bukhari, business tycoon Malik Riaz and his son Ali Riaz, and lawyer Ziaul Mustafa Nasim—via advertisements after earlier issuing non-bailable arrest warrants for them.
During proceedings, the judge expressed annoyance at the suspects’ prolonged absence from hearings and ordered their summoning via advertisements. Subsequently, advertisements for the arrests of the co-accused were outside the Federal Judicial Complex, where they are required to appear before the court on Jan. 6, 2024.
Akbar is currently in the U.K., where he came under an acid attack last month, according to U.K. police; Farhat reportedly left for Dubai last year; Bukhari similarly left for the U.K. earlier this year. The Riaz family is reportedly currently based in Dubai, while Nasim’s whereabouts are unknown.
The case pertains to corruption charges against incarcerated Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan, who has been accused in a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) inquiry of receiving billions of rupees and hundreds of kanals of land from Bahria Town Limited—Riaz’s company—in exchange for legalizing funds recovered by the U.K. and returned to Pakistan while Khan was prime minister.
The anti-graft watchdog had previously arrested Khan in connection with the case on May 9, triggering nationwide riots. However, he was subsequently released after the Supreme Court ruled that his arrest from the premises of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) was unlawful. His wife is also a co-accused in the Al-Qadir Trust case and currently has protective bail.
Last month, the law ministry issued a notification allowing the accountability court to conduct Khan’s trial at Adiala Jail, where is incarcerated while undergoing the cipher case trial.