–Court upholds disqualification, says there were no grounds to review verdict
–CJP asks Tareen to bring back his money to country
–Court refuses to form full bench in Hanif Abbasi’s review plea challenging its verdict which gave clean chit to Imran Khan
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday dismissed a review petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) former secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen against the apex court’s verdict to disqualify him from holding public office.
In its December 15 ruling last year, the apex court had disqualified Tareen but ruled in favour of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Tareen had been disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution by the Supreme Court on a petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Hanif Abbasi for misdeclaration of assets. The ruling had rendered Tareen ineligible to hold public office for life.
The disqualification was made on the same provision under which former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was held ineligible to hold public office for life in the Panama Papers case.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar had cleared Imran in the case as the petitioner was not directly affected in the foreign funding case. The judgement stated that Imran wasn’t bound to declare his offshore company, declare his London flat in an amnesty scheme and that his former wife Jemima gave Imran the funds for buying the Bani Gala estate.
Tareen was disqualified because of his blatant misstatement regarding the ownership of the Hyde House property and failure to declare it in his nomination papers. The PTI leader had then filed a review petition against the apex court’s verdict.
Tareen had, however, argued that the SC’s ruling on lifetime disqualification was not applicable in his case.
“I always believed 62(1)(f) to be for life, but it is not applicable in my case,” Tareen had said on Twitter following the April verdict.
In the review petition against his disqualification, Tareen had informed the court that he could not present legal instruments and specific documents regarding his trust — Shiny View Limited (SVL) — and a property — Hyde House — during the course of litigation because they were not in his personal knowledge, possession or control.
“My understanding and knowledge of the trust arrangement, its legal aspect and components and its legal effect was that of a layperson gathered from my interaction with my professional advisers and the trustees,” Tareen had pleaded in the review petition.
The three-member bench, headed by the CJP, observed that there were no grounds to review the verdict disqualifying the senior PTI leader and close aide of PM Khan.
As the hearing went underway, Justice Nisar remarked that the court will not hear the case again.
“We kept asking you [to declare assets] but you took very long to even submit the trust deed,” the chief justice said.
In addition to turning down Tareen’s review petition, Chief Justice Nisar also asked his counsel to disclose the total amount of funds his client had moved abroad.
The counsel replied that the amount mentioned in the court’s order was Rs 500 million. At this, the chief justice reminded the counsel of the federal government’s drive to repatriate funds moved abroad, adding: “Has such a big leader given any thought to returning the money.”
Further, the chief justice said it had come to his knowledge that Tareen bought a company and shares. “How can a public representative make such suspicious transactions?”
A visibly emotional Tareen presented his arguments as his lawyer raised his voice.
The court then admonished the latter for his behaviour. “Keep the volume of your voice low and do not shout in court,” the chief justice advised. Issuing an apology, Mohmand clarified that he was habitual of speaking in a loud voice.
HANIF ABBASI’S PLEA REJECTED:
The same bench also heard Hanif Abbasi’s review petition against the SC verdict which declared Prime Minister Imran Khan ‘Sadiq and Ameen’.
Hearing the petition, the top court refused to form a full bench.
The chief justice asked Advocate Akram Shaikh, the petitioner’s lawyer, why he had lodged the plea. “On what grounds do you want the full court to hear this petition?” asked Chief Justice Nisar.
Responding to the chief justice, Sheikh stated that the court had earlier said Imran’s disqualification case did not have ‘strict liability’ but SC’s Panama Papers bench had declared Nawaz Sharif unfit to hold public office in a case that was similar in nature.
Abbasi, in his 13-page review petition, has demanded the disqualification of Imran over non-disclosure of his assets and ownership of offshore companies. The petition states that now, since Imran has become the prime minister, the matter is more pertinent for the public.
The original petition, filed by Abbasi in November 2016, had sought Tareen and Imran’s disqualification over non-disclosure of their assets and ownership of offshore companies.
It accused the PTI leaders of not declaring their assets to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and violations of the lncome Tax Ordinance, 1979, and Peoples Act, 1974. It also claimed that the PTI is a ‘foreign-funded’ party.