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Disq Case: SC Clears Imran, Disqualifies Jahangir Tareen

Islamabad (December 15, 2017): The Supreme Court rejected on Friday Hanif Abbasi’s petition seeking disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan for concealing assets including offshore company and receiving funds for party from prohibited sources.

According to the details, the apex court, on Friday, rejected a petition seeking the disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan. However, the court disqualified general secretary Jahangir Tareen for life under article 62 (1) (f) of the constitution.

The SC pronounced its verdict, which was reserved on November 14, 2017.Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, who headed the full bench, read out the verdict.  The bench was comprised CJP Justice Nisar, Justice Faisal Arab and Umar Ata Bandial.

At the outset, CJP said that in the draft of the decisions there was a minor mistake in a page due to which the judges had to read some 250 pages. He added this led to delay in pronouncement of the decision.Regarding the foreign funding case, the CJP said that this matter would be decided by Election Commission of Pakistan. The court directed the ECP to fairly scrutinize the party accounts of PTI.

“It is ECP’s responsibility to scrutinise PTI’s foreign funding issue,” said the top court.

The court maintained that Imran was not bound to declare his offshore firm (Niazi Services Limited) in his nomination papers for 2013 as he was neither director nor shareholder of the company.“Imran Khan is neither director nor shareholder of the off-shore company. He was not required to show his off-shore company accounts,” the court added.

According to SC, “Bani Gala is Imran Khan’s property.”

The top leadership of PML-N and PTI along with the party workers were also present in the court amid heightened security.The CJ said the delay in the verdict, which was supposed to be announced at 2am, was due to a mistake on one page. “We had to go through the entire 250-page document,” he explained, apologizing for the delay.The bench disqulified PTI Secretary General Jahangir Tareen for life. He was disqulified under Article 62(1) (f) for holding public office.

The CJP while announcing its verdict said that Tareen had been found involved in inside trading and he confessed it.The verdict said that Tareen did not reply the questions raised by the court during the proceeding.

The SC bench declared Tareen dishonest for concealment of his London Hyde house in his nomination papers. The top court observed that Tareen deliberately gave the false statement before the SC for concealment the ownership of his 12-acre UK house.“Jehangir Tareen has been disqualified for not disclosing his off-shore company,” said the top court while explaining on what ground the PTI leader was disqualified.

The court has also referred the matter related to prohibited fund allegedly obtained by PTI ECP for further probe.The apex court rejected two allegations against the PTI’s general secretary but disqualified him for life over the allegation of concealment of his assets in nomination papers.

The SC bench, however, did not pass any direction related to PML-N allegations that Tareen was involved in insider trading. The court said that “it’s past and a closed matter”.

The court also showed restraint to pass any direction over Tareen’s leased land issue.Moments after the SC’s verdict in favour of Imran, PTI spokesperson Fawwad Chaudhry termed it a great achievement of the party.

“Today, Supreme Court verdict was 99 per cent in favour of the PTI whereas only one per cent of it was against the party,” he said.

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Abbasi had filed the petition in November last year. It accused the PTI leaders of not declaring their assets to the Election Commission of Pakistan and violations of the lncome Tax Ordinance, 1979 and Peoples Act, 1974. It also claimed that PTI received party funding from prohibited sources.

During the hearing of the case, a member of the bench had remarked that Tareen was beneficial owner of the offshore company, Shiny View Ltd.Justice Umar Ata Bandiyal noted that was clear in the trust deed submitted by Tareen that there were two lifetime beneficiaries of the trust.

In his concluding arguments, Advocate Naeem Bokhari, the counsel for Imran Khan, had argued that his case should not be treated like that of Panama Papers because there was no question of money going out of the country, though it could be said that there was a ‘young man’ who could not manage his accounts properly.Akram Sheikh had contended that Mr Khan had shifted his stance before the court 18 times, adding that Justice Khosa had in the Panama Papers case judgement mentioned the word shifting stances for Nawaz Sharif twice and eventually disqualified him.

On Tareen’s disqualification for life, Fawwad Chaudhry said, “Tareen was facing three allegations against him, out of which two have been dismissed” by the court today.The PTI spokesperson continued that the property over which Tareen has been disqualified belongs to his son. “If he had to evade the accountability, why would he name the property after his son?” he asked.The PTI spokesperson said the party would now go for the review petition against Tareen’s disqualification. “The third case against Tareen is related to 62-(1) (F) but we will go for a review petition.”

Background of case

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi had filed constitutional petitions against the two PTI leaders for not disclosing their assets, owning offshore companies and running a foreign-aided party. The judgment was reserved last month.After Khan filed the Panamagate petition, the PML-N, through Abbasi, moved two constitutional petitions in the apex court against the two PTI leaders. However, as the hearing of these petitions could not be conducted along with the Panamagate case, the matter was de-linked by the then CJP Anwar Zaheer Jamali and was later taken up for hearing in May by incumbent CJP Nisar.However, when the judgment in the Panamagate case was reserved, these petitions were listed before the three-judge bench, headed by the CJP.

Akram Sheikh and Azid Nafees argued on behalf of the petitioner while Naeem Bukhari appeared on behalf of Khan and Sikandar Bashir Mohmand on behalf of Tareen. The bench conducted more than 50 hearings in both the matters. The lawyers of both the political parties remained confident during this time that the decision would come in their favour.The PML-N was positive that Tareen would be disqualified on the non-disclosure of his London house in the nomination papers.

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