–Imran’s assets a non-issue
–PTI could be temporarily banned if guilty in ill-funding
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan will begin hearing the case against Imran Khan’s disqualification from his National Assembly seat on September 26.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Umar Ata Bandial is conducting proceedings into petition of Hanif Abbasi – leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), seeking Imran Khan’s disqualification, for obtaining foreign funding for his party and hiding his assets. Moreover, Imran Khan was required to provide a money trail to his Bani Gala house.
In August, the Chief Justice of Pakistan observed that the law does not allow collection of funds from international companies, saying that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman’s counsel will have to clarify this matter. The bench also summoned for the second time, a copy of Imran Khan’s passport for verification of his “non-resident” status.
Moreover, addressing the bench, Sheikh Akram said that it was extremely necessary to investigate the source of PTI’s funding and argued over the money trail of Khan’s Bani Gala property. The chief justice observed that Imran khan declared his Bani Gala property in the nomination papers for the 2002 elections.
Importantly, Imran Khan’s counsel Naeem Bukhari has already submitted the money trail for Bani Gala and his London flat. The focus of the case would entirely be on party funding.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Barrister Ali Zafar, Pakistan Bar Council former president, said that cases against former premier Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan are totally different. Timeframe of the cases against both the personalities is different. In the case against Imran Khan, his London flat issue is out of the context as he did not hold a public office at the time he acquired that property.
Furthermore, the Bani Gala property’s money trail has already been provided in shape of bank statements of his ex-wife Jemima Khan. It is easily provable as the bank statements can be traced.
“The cases would not disqualify Imran Khan but the party funding case might turn out to be harmful for PTI as a party”, Barrister Ali Zafar categorically stated.
It is not the court that can take any action against PTI; if the party gets proven guilty in ill-funding, the government can either impose a high penalty or ban the party for a certain period of time.
Earlier, PTI Spokesperson Fawad Choudhry had said that the party had submitted all the evidences of party funding. The party funding mainly included foreign remittances from overseas Pakistanis.