Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its judgment on a plea seeking disqualification of Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan and General Secretary Jehangir Khan Tareen from the Parliament. A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Faisal Arab, reserved its verdict after hearing the plea of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Hanif Abbasi seeking both the PTI leaders' disqualification over alleged charges of tax evasion, concealing facts in nomination papers and attaining foreign funding to run the party affairs.
After hearing the arguments of both the sides, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar observed that the court would have to examine the matter in hand profoundly and it is not possible to announce judgment within a couple of days. Earlier, during the course of proceedings, Akram Sheikh, the counsel for Abbasi, contended in final rebuttal arguments that Imran Khan has changed his point of view as many as 18 times during the pleading of the case. He also alleged that Khan didn't provide details of his former wife Jemima's properties abroad and only apprised the court about her assets in Pakistan.
Sheikh pleaded that the matter relating to the Banigala property cannot be declared an act that falls under the privileged communication. Sheikh further argued that there is an obvious difference between a business dealing and a beneficial ownership, adding that he cited the Panama Papers verdict which ruled that prima facie Maryam Nawaz was beneficial owner of the Mayfair properties in England. He further said that after the verdict it cannot be presumed that one had failed to declare assets in nomination papers mistakenly.
Responding to a query of Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar whether the court can examine a matter after one-and-a-half decade, the counsel for Abbasi said that the court had disqualified parliamentarians on the ground of fake educational degrees after they were elected. Opposing the argument of Abbasi's lawyer, the counsel for Imran Khan said his client has never changed his stance, saying Imran Khan had not declared offshore company Niazi Services Limited in nomination papers because he was not a director of the company.
Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar observed that Imran ought to have mentioned the offshore company when he declared the London flat in his nomination papers. Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar remarked that there is a difference between the contents of trust deed and the reply which Tareen has submitted before the court, saying in his written reply Tareen said he was not the owner of Trust but it has been mentioned in the deed that Tareen is a lifetime beneficial owner of Trust.
After hearing both the sides, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar asked the parties to submit written material after which the court will examine all the facts of the case before announcing the verdict.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2017