ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court of Pakistan will resume hearing petitions seeking the disqualification of PTI supremo Imran Khan and secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen on Wednesday (today).
The petitions were filed by PML-N’s Rawalpindi stalwart Haneef Abbasi last year who argued that both the PTI leaders were involved in wrongdoings and concealment of income in nomination papers.
The Supreme Court’s three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar will take both the constitutional petitions to decide the political fate of PTI duo.
The former CJP Anwar Zaheer Jamali had held a couple of hearings of the case. However, despite several hearing requests by Abbasi’s counsel Akram Sheikh, the court had preferred not to club it with Panama Leaks case, the verdict of which was announced on April 20.
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.
However, the cricketer-turned-politician approached the Supreme Court seeking dismissal of petitions against him on Tuesday.
The PTI chief, referring to paragraph 18 of Abbasi’s petition, has objected that the petitioner has not made his sisters—Uzma Khan and Aleema Khan—parties, adding that they are necessary parties in this case.
“There is no averment in the entire petition with respect to the federation, which is now sought to be belatedly impleaded”, says the reply.
Imran has also told the SC that the ECP has already rejected reference against him through its March 16 decision.
He also stated that petitioner Hanif Abbasi is not bona fide as he filed the petition to counter Imran’s petition seeking the PM’s disqualification.
Imran went on and stated that the petitioner was an accused in the “infamous ephedrine scam” and was defeated by him in the last general election, adding that the petition was merely a misplaced filing to establish loyalty to the current prime minister, whose status on his seat has yet to be determined by a JIT in the first instance, and then the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, PTI’s legal team – Anwar Mansoor Khan and Chaudhry Faisal Hussain – will file a reply today (Wednesday)
Regarding, Tareen, a close confidant of PTI supremo, the petitioner argued that he did not mention his offshore holdings in his statement of assets and liabilities filed before the ECP, along with his nomination papers for contesting 2013 general elections which was in violation of ‘Representation of Peoples Act’.
Imran and Tareen – respectively represented by Naeem Bukhari and Sikandar Bashir – have already submitted their concise statements, wherein they have refuted the allegations of tax evasion.
The PTI chief termed the accusations against him baseless and requested the court to dismiss the petition. He has also took aim at the Federal Board of Revenue for investigating his tax returns after 13 years.
“I have been paying all my taxes for three decades now. I have never lied about the property I own,” he stressed.
Tareen, in his concise statement, has also rejected the petitioner’s claim that no ‘admission’ or ‘confession’ (express or implied) was ever made by him in relation to the subject.
But, what could land Tareen in trouble is the reply of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan that suggested a violation of the Insider Trading Ordinance-1969 and the Companies Ordinance-1984 in the United Sugar Mills (USML) acquisition by PTI bigwig.
“He also made roughly Rs71 million gains but returned Rs73.1 million to the SECP — including fines and legal cost that the regulator incurred in investigating the case,” the reply stated.
The SECP has requested the apex court that it probed the entire matter which culminated into the return of entire illegal gain and recovery of penalties for contravention of the relevant provision of laws.
“It is respectfully prayed that this honourable court may decide the case as deemed appropriate.”