Every political party accountable for funding, remarks CJ Saqib in Imran Khan disqualification case

  • Three-member bench resumed hearing of petition filed by PML-N's Hanif Abbasi
  • PTI counsel argued that ECP could not investigate detail of funds
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) on Monday resumed hearing of a petition seeking disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, comprising Justice Umar Bandiyal and Justice Faisal Arab heard the case filed by Pakistan Muslime League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi asking the court to disqualify the PTI head for concealing assets and violating Income Tax Ordinance. He also called the PTI a foreign-funded party.

Counsel for Imran Khan, Anwar Mansoor, started presenting arguments before the court against the imposed allegation.

Anwar Mansoor argued that ECP does not have the right to audit the party’s funds after they have been audited by a chartered accountant.

Chief Justice remarked that every political party was accountable for their source of funds under Article 17 (3) of the Constitution.

“I am not denying it as I want to say something else,” Mansoor replied.

The chief justice inquired whether ECP could not investigate the details of received funds by political parties to which Mansoor said that there were no such provisions in the law.

The ECP cannot conduct an inquiry into submitted details of party funds, Mansoor said.

Later, Hanfi Abbasi’s counsel, Akram Sheikh presented his arguments before the court. He stated that PTI claims they received funds from those who have Pakistani origin card, adding that holder of these cards did not have Pakistani citizenship.

The PTI commited contempt of court by filing wrong documents, Sheikh said.

During the last hearing, Bukhari claimed that the money trail for selling London flats and purchasing Bani Gala land was completed after documents sent by Jemima, ex-wife of Imran Khan.

Abbasi’s Petition

Abbasi’s petition, which was taken up by the court November last year, accuses the PTI leader of not declaring his assets to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and seeks to unseat him based on alleged violations of the Income Tax Ordinance 1979 and Peoples Act 1974.

The PML-N leader’s petition claims that Jemima Goldsmith –Imran’s first wife – did not file her income tax, during her time in Pakistan, suggesting that she was, in fact, a dependent on her former husband and had no taxable income.

Abbasi claimed that Imran was bound to declare the assets of Jemima before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in his nomination papers during the relevant period, but he avoided it.

He further accused the PTI of allegedly receiving foreign funds violating the Political Parties Order, which bars parties from receiving funds from abroad.

Abbasi’s counsel Akram Sheikh argued before the court that the PTI chief did not declare foreign funds before the ECP; therefore, he should be disqualified under Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution.