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News Analysis |

Aleem Khan, a senior leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and provincial minister, has been taken into custody by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). According to the press release issued by the Lahore chapter of NAB, Mr. Khan was arrested for owning assets beyond his known sources of income. The press release alleged that Khan had misused his authority as general secretary of the Park View Housing Society and as a past member of the provincial assembly, abusing his position to acquire assets beyond his known sources of income.

It is important to note that Mr. Khan faces multiple inquiries, including one involving offshore company Hexam Investment Overseas Ltd, one for owning assets beyond his known sources of income, and inquiries into his involvement in the Park View Housing Society, River Age Housing Society, and Multan Road.

It is also in the air that laws of NAB need some fundamental changes so that media trial of those arrested for inquiry is stopped. The SC has asked the parliament to legislate on many important issues concerning NAB. 

After his arrest, the Prime Minister reportedly appreciated Mr. Khan for upholding high moral grounds and resigning from the post. A meeting was called at the Chief Minister secretariat in Punjab and the government decided not to issue any political statement. PTI’s ministers have reportedly declined to defend Mr. Khan and maintained that the law would take its own course.

It was further added that PTI’s Babar Awan, Azam Sawati and now Aleem Khan have resigned from their respective posts and established new norms in Pakistan where there have been rare examples of rule of law. Columnist Maleeha Hashmey tweeted “News 1: Senior Minister, Punjab – #AleemKhanArrested by #NAB News 2: #AleemKhan RESIGNS as he considers himself UNFIT to head the Ministry anymore! That’s a great precedent. Now all the Ministers should keep a mum & let NAB do its job. Bohat mehrbani !!”

She also pointed, “#AleemKhan got arrested by #NAB & tendered his resignation RIGHT there WITHOUT uttering a word against NAB whereas Shahbaz Sharif, upon being arrested by NAB, INSISTED on becoming PAC Chairman, maligned NAB & often visits Parliament to LECTURE us all on “rule of law”. SHERRR!!”

But some commentators like Amber Shamsi, the host of SAMAA TV’s program Sawaal questioned whether the accountability bureau takes politics into account during is functioning. “Does NAB balance its inquiries to neutralize the pressure on it from the opposition?” asks Shamsi. Moreover, she also showed some clips of PML-N leaders Rana Sanaullah and Saad Rafique claiming that NAB would be arresting PTI leaders in future to balance the scales in its favor.

Read more: PTI’s Aleem Khan resigns after arrest by NAB

However, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Mr. Iktikhar Durrani in a talk show ‘Tonight with Dr. Moeed Pirzada’ at GNN argued that Mr. Khan is a thorough gentleman and he was appearing before the NAB whenever he was required. “The NAB should have thought about his post and his attitude,” he maintained. He further clarified that his party has made it clear that Mr. Khan will face the case and without retaining his position, therefore, he resigned from his post as he was taken into custody.

Furthermore, the NAB is currently probing into different cases against various politicians including the defense Minister Pervez Khattak, Mayor of Karachi Mr. Waseem Akhtar and CM KP Mr. Mehmood Khan and Principal Secretary to PM Mr. Azam Khan. It is also in the air that laws of NAB need some fundamental changes so that media trial of those arrested for inquiry is stopped. The SC has asked the parliament to legislate on many important issues concerning NAB.

Read more: Is NAB working independently?

Analysts argue that Mr. Khan has uplifted the image of his party after his resignation from the post of senior minister. “It will pay off the party and Mr. Khan himself,” it is added.

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