An Islamabad Accountability Court on Monday ordered the freezing of immovable properties of six accused, including real estate tycoon Malik Riaz and his son, over their repeated failure to surrender before court after being declared proclaimed offenders in a £190 million corruption case.
Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir issued the orders to freeze the movable and immovable properties of Riaz and his son, Ahmed Ali Riaz, as well as former aides to the prime minister Zulfikar Bukhari and Mirza Shahzad Akbar; Farhat Shahzadi; and lawyer Ziaul Mustafa Nasim. He also issued perpetual arrest warrants for them—almost a month after advertisements were issued for their arrest after they failed to appear in court against non-bailable arrest warrants.
The Accountability Court’s order directed revenue officers nationwide to seize the immovable properties of the accused, while excise and taxation officers were ordered to confiscate vehicles registered in their names. Similarly, commercial banks are ordered to freeze their accounts and restrict transactions or withdrawals. The court has also appointed an additional director of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as a “receiver” to collect rental income from properties owned by the suspects.
During proceedings, NAB’s prosecution team shared a copy of the reference with the counsel for PTI founder Imran Khan. His wife, Bushra Bibi, was also due to appear but failed to do so, prompting the judge to warn that non-bailable warrants would be issued if she not appear at the next hearing. The prosecution also submitted details of movable and immovable properties owned by the suspects.
Last week, Riaz sought to avert the confiscation of his properties by filing an application seeking suspension of his arrest warrants, stating he was unaware of the proceedings as he was abroad and wished to join the proceedings. This application, however, was dismissed.
The case pertains to corruption charges against the incarcerated PTI founder, who has been accused in a 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. His wife is a co-accused and currently has protective bail.
Of the remaining accused, all are believed to be abroad, with Akbar and Bukhari based in the U.K.; and Riaz and his son in the U.A.E. Nasim and Shahzadi’s whereabouts remain unknown.