Anti-corruption watchdog summons next Pakistani premier

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) Hours after being nominated as the next prime minister, Pakistan’s former cricket star Imran Khan has been summoned by the country’s anti-corruption watchdog for allegedly misusing the government’s helicopter, his party and local media said on Monday.

Khan whose center-right Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is going to form the government for the next five years in the wake of July 25 elections, is facing an inquiry by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for allegedly using the helicopters of the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, where his party ruled from June 2013 to May 2018, for his private visits, local broadcaster Dunya News reported.

Since Khan had no official status, he was not allowed to use the government’s helicopters for personal use .

According to the NAB, there is documentary evidence that Khan paid Rs2.1 million (around $30,500) for using an Mi-17 and an Ecureuil helicopter belonging to the KP government for a total of 74 hours.

The NAB report claims that had Khan used a private company's choppers, it would have cost him much more.

A senior PTI leader who spoke to Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity confirmed the summoning and said that Khan had decided to appear before the NAB in Peshawar, the KP capital on Tuesday.

Khan denies the charge claiming that he simply accompanied the KP chief minister who had actually used the helicopters to visit the flood-affected areas.

“He wants to set an example that no one is above the law. He will definitely appear before the NAB tomorrow,” he said.

The PTI’s parliamentary party members on Monday unanimously approved the resolution to nominate Imran Khan as the parliamentary leader and nominee for the next country's premiership

In the July 25 elections, the PTI emerged as the single largest party but fell short of simple majority in the National Assembly. The party will have to seek formal support from smaller parties or independents to get elected the prime minister of its choice.