PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday said his party will initiate legal action against Dubai-based businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor in the Gulf region and the Jang Group in London, which he denied on allegations that PTI Chairman Imran Khan bought a government gift to the front. .
However, he admitted that the gift was “legally” bought “in the market”.
The clarification came a day after Zahoor’s release Geo News program Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath and claims that the PTI government has bought an expensive Graff watch – gifted to Imran by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman – for $2 million, worth around Rs280m during the year’s auction 2019.
The Toshakhana case of government procurement made Imran a major landmark in national politics after the Election Commission of Pakistan disqualified the PTI leader for “speech talk and talk wrong”.
After months of avoiding the issue, Imran admitted in a written reply on September 8 that he had sold at least four items – including a Graff wristwatch – that had been stolen when he was Prime Minister.
The issue also came to light yesterday night when Zahoor said the Geo News he bought the watch owned by former accountability minister Shahzad Akbar and Farah Khan, wife of Imran Bushra Bibi.
The businessman in Dubai added that Farah wanted to buy the watch for $4-5m “but after negotiations, I sold it for $2 million”. The payment, he added, was done on a budget at Farah’s insistence.
The claims drew an outcry from PTI leaders, including Akbar who denied Zahoor’s allegations.
Along the same lines, Fawad also rejected the claims in a press conference today.
He began the press conference by talking about Graff’s warrant in question.
Elaborating on the procedures for receiving government donations, he said the watch was conducted by the Saudi king during Imran’s visit to Saudi Arabia in 2018 when the PTI leader was the Prime Minister. . After due process, the watch was sent to the Toshakhana office and the price was estimated at RS100m, Fawad said.
At that time, he recalled, public office holders can pay 20 bundles of the evaluated price for a gift and keep it. “Imran Khan paid 20pc of the assessed price and it became his personal property,” argued Fawad, adding that the watch was later “sold in the market for Rs57m.
“Capital income tax was paid on it, as announced in Imran Khan’s returns and before the election commission.”
The watch, he said, “was not sold to someone named Umar Zahoor.
“It has not been offered to Farah Gujjar for sale … and Ahsan Saleem Gujjar, Farah’s husband, has made it clear. [last] at night he did not meet him (Zahoor).
In this connection, Fawad also highlighted Zahoor’s “very sad story”.
Zahoor is said to be an influential businessman and is apparently wanted by Norway, Switzerland, Turkiye and Pakistan since 2009-10 for various financial and other crimes.
The businessman is also accused of taking his young daughters out of the country illegally after obtaining their passports under fictitious family names, although the Lahore High Court has ordered his name to be listed in the Publication Control List.
Building his case on these facts, Fawad said that Zahoor named Akbar because the former accountability minister wanted him to return to Pakistan.
But soon after the change of government, a first-instance report was registered against Akbar and the director of the Federal Investigation Agency against Mohammad Rizwan at the Islamabad police station in Kohsar, he said. “Later, Zahoor’s name was removed from the ECL (Exit Control List) and a month later, he held this press conference.”
Imran calls Zahoor ‘the traitor’ and accuses Geo and Khanzada of blasphemy
After Fawad’s press conference, Imran himself denied the allegation and promised to take legal action against Geo and Khanzada.
“Geo and Khanzada, supported by ‘instigators’, defamed me through a baseless story cooked up by a traitor known to the world’s most wanted criminals,” he said. .
“I have spoken to my lawyers and I plan to charge Geo, Khanzada and the fraudster not only in Pak but also in UK and UAE.”