After the Tosha Khana scandal — that created a controversy surrounding the auctioning of 112 precious gifts which deposed prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi retained at nominal prices from the treasure-house — another scandal, against the ousted PM, his wife Bushra Bibi, and their close aides Zulfiqar Abass Bukhari and Zaheer Ud Din Babar Awan, has emerged exposing the malpractices, legal lacuna, financial peculation, and operational matters of the Al-Qadir University Project Trust (AQUPT).
Documents, seen by this scribe, reveal that Khan, Bushra Bibi, Bukhari, and Awan formed Al-Qadir University Project Trust. It was aimed to set up ‘Al-Qadir University’ for imparting ‘quality education’ in Tehsil Sohawa District Jhelum, Punjab. The office address of the trust has been mentioned as “Bani Gala House, Islamabad”.
Later, the trustees inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a private company involved in real estate business, Bahria Town, to receive donations from the latter. For the proposal, Bahria Town allotted land measuring 458 Kanal, 4 Marla, 58 square feet to the trust.
Fulfilling paper formalities, Bushra Bibi signed the MoU with Bahria Town effective from March 2019.
But Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah claims: “The previous government approved an agreement in a sealed envelope in a December 2019 cabinet meeting under which ‘Mr Clean, Sadiq, and Amin’ made an adjustment from Bahria Town instead of depositing the Rs 50 billion recovered in the UK into the national treasury”.
He added: “Bahria Town donated 458 Kanal Land to the trust. But [Khan] fixed its shares and 240 Kanals of the total donated land was transferred in the name of Farah Gogi. The value of the land transferred through collusion was underestimated. Imran Khan received his share in all matters in the name of the university. Imran Khan tried to suppress the matter. The federal cabinet has formed a sub-committee on the East Recovery Unit to look into the matter”.
Following Sanaullah’s stance, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, in a tweet, claimed that Khan gave Rs4,275 crore rupees (£190 million pounds) back to Riaz that were confiscated by the British authorities.
Coincidently at the same time Riaz donated hundreds of acres of land to a trust whose trustees are Khan, Bushra Bibi, and Farah Gogi — a close aide of Khan’s wife.
The critics, however, raised questions over the deal.
According to them, the trust received millions of rupees in the name of donations for the operational activities in 2021 for an under-construction educational institute named ‘Al-Qadir University’.
They said that how is it claimed that the project is a university since its inception when, according to the law, universities have their charter and functions which are separate from a trust’s operations.
Moreover, the Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) is still waited to recognize the institute as a university since March 17, 2022. Until then, the institute can enroll only up to 50 students to date as maximum capacity and offer one management program.
On May 5, 2019, former PM, while inaugurating the project of Al Qadir University, said that varsity will impact modern education by combining science and spirituality. Khan, also the chairperson of the institute, called this project his 23-year-old dream of promoting spirituality as the supreme science.
In addition, the controversy was raised when the media highlighted that an amount of 180 million rupees was received for the trust when the operational expenses record was found for around 8.52 million rupees only and why the tuition fee was charged by the students when the institute was acknowledged as a trust.
Though public opinion is unclear about this newly emerged scam, the citizen and even Imran Khan’s cult under the section ‘Right to Know’ of the Constitution should have the right to know about this newly emerged Al-Qadir University Scandal and its details. The trustees must answer so that the people can trust transparency.