On November 6, 2016, Hanif Abbasi, a prominent member of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), moved an application before the Supreme Court of Pakistan, with a request to hear three of his petitions filed against Jehangir Khan Tareen, Imran Khan, and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
These petitions were filed in the wake of the Panama Papers petitions filed against the Sharif family by PTI, Jamat-e-Islami and Sheikh Rasheed.
Abbasi’s petitions against Imran Khan and PTI were subsequently let go of on December 15, 2017.
Jehangir Khan Tareen, who joined PTI in December 2011, is the general secretary of the party. Tareen, who is a wealthy businessman, owns thousands of acres of farmland, a private plane and runs some of the largest sugar mills in the country.
Tareen stepped into the field of politics in 2002, under the banner of PML-Q. In 2004, being the member of National Assembly, he was added to the federal cabinet as minister of industries, production, and special initiatives.
In 2008, Tareen won a seat from Rahim Yar Khan and, after serving as MNA for three years, he joined hands with Imran Khan in 2011. In the 2013 general elections, Tareen lost from NA-154 Lodhran, amid allegations that the elections were rigged by PML-N. Two years later, Tareen was elected as a member of National Assembly from NA-154 on PTI ticket in a by-election held in December 2015.
Hanif Abbasi had sought the disqualification of Jehangir Tareen from being MNA on the basis of the provisions of Article 62(1)(f) and 63(1)(n) under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, on the grounds that he is not honest and has got his bank loans written off.
PROPOSITIONS OF THE CASE:
After the initial petition was approved for hearing, the counsel for Hanif Abbasi submitted his formulations to the court in writing. These as agreed by both the sides were the propositions involved in the case:
1. Insider Trading:
In 2007, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) accused Tareen of the offences of insider trading. Tareen admitted his offences and deposited a sum of 70.811 million from insider trading to SECP. Therefore, he should not be qualified to contest the elections and become a member of parliament.
2. Off-shore company – Trust:
Tareen had publicly admitted that his children own an off-shore company for conducting business and holding properties in the United Kingdom. Moreover, he receives huge sums of money from his children, which he has failed to disclose in his tax returns or in the statements of assets and liabilities before the ECP. Therefore, he is not qualified to contest the election and remain a member of parliament.
3. Agricultural Income:
Tareen, in relation to his income, had committed following misrepresentations:
a) For the year 2010 and 2011, he had disclosed yearly incomes on his tax returns
b) Inflated his agriculture income for whitening his undisclosed income
c) Evaded agriculture income tax.
Therefore, making him not qualified to contest the election of, or being a member of parliament.
4. Written off loan:
Tareen was director of the company which remained under the management of his family members and a loan amounting to Rs 49 million was written off by the banks. Therefore, he is disqualified to contest the election of, or from being, a member of parliament.
TIMELINE OF HEARINGS:
November 07, 2016
After being approved for hearing, the first hearing of the case started under the watch of the former chief justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali.
November 26, 2016
It was during the initial days that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) disclosed to the court that Tareen had not disclosed his offshore company in his wealth statements from 2010-2015.
May 03, 2017
This case restarted in May 2017 after Justice Mian Saqib Nasir took over the reins from Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali as the chief justice of Pakistan.
The three-member bench which was headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar included Justice Umar Atta Bandial and Justice Faisal Arab. The bench heard the case on 42 hearings, over the course of six months.
July 26, 2017
Supreme Court of Pakistan asserted that the court will focus on the offshore company of Jehangir Tareen instead of focusing on his tax returns and agriculture income.
“We’re not here to scrutinise Tareen’s tax records — this is the responsibility of the tax authorities,” the chief justice remarked. “We’re only looking at how [Tareen’s] offshore companies were set up,” Justice Saqib Nisar observed.
October 24, 2017
The Supreme Court raised questions about Tareen’s trust deed through which he bought property in Britain and whether it was used to hide assets.
November 14, 2017
The Supreme Court reserved verdict in the case against Tareen and PTI chairman.
GROUNDS FOR DISQUALIFICATION:
On December 15, 2017, a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar disqualified MNA Jehangir Tareen for the non-declaration of his property — Hyde House — in his nomination papers, and in making false statements before the court.
The court observed that Tareen should cease to hold the office as the member of the National Assembly with immediate effect.
In the judgement, the court maintained that Shiny View Limited (SVL), an off-shore company, was established by Tareen which has legal title of the Hyde House and he is the beneficial owner of the property.
“SVL or Hyde House was never transferred to any trust by the respondent; thus, it is his asset which he has failed to declare in his nomination papers,” the court observed in its judgement. “… Therefore, he is not honest in terms of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution read with Section 99(1)(f) of ROPA.
Moreover, Tareen was also found to have misled the court when he maintained that he has no beneficial interest in the trust arrangement which holds the SVL and the Hyde House.
“However, from the trust deed dated 5.5.2011, on which reliance has been placed by the respondent himself, he is the ‘discretionary lifetime beneficiary’ along with his spouse and, therefore, this is a blatant misstatement on the part of the respondent made before the highest judicial forum of the country which is not a trait of an honest person,” the judgement read.
However, Tareen can still file a review petition against the judgement.