SC adjourns Hanif Abbasi’s petition against Imran till Thursday

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ISLAMABAD, May 3 (APP): The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned hearing of the petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief
Imran Khan and Secretary General Jahangir Tareen for not disclosing
their assets and offshore companies before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) till Thursday.
A three-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP)
Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice
Faisal Arab heard the case.
The CJP asked leaders of both the PTI and the PML-N not to give
any comment regarding the case proceedings outside the court premises.
“This tradition should be stopped.” He, however, observed that counsel
for parties could address the media to explain their points of view.
The CJP also rejected the PML-N leader’s plea to form a larger
bench for the hearing of the case seeking disqualification of Imran
Khan and Jahangir Tareen for not disclosing their assets.
“There is no need to form a larger bench in this case,” CJP Nisar
remarked. “We don’t want to affect ordinary litigants’ cases by forming
a larger bench.”
During the course of proceedings, Hanif Abbasi’s counsel Akram
Sheikh advocate apprised the court that Imran Khan formed an offshore company called Niazi Service Limited in 1982, but did not disclose the same in his nomination papers submitted with the ECP or tax documents.
The PTI chief gave four contradictory versions regarding the
purchase of 300-kanal plot in Bani Gala, he claimed.
Sheikh also alleged that Imran Khan had started paying income
tax in 1982, but he did not provide details regarding irregularities
worth 170,000 pounds sterling in his 1983 tax returns.
Upon this, the CJP asked as to whether it was dishonesty to hide
property. “Perhaps it can be accepted that Niazi Services is an
off-shore company. It there any prohibition on Pakistanis acquiring
property abroad?” he asked.
Akram Sheikh replied that there was no ban on acquiring property
abroad, but the same must be declared.
He claimed that the details pertaining to the funds received by
the PTI from the US were available on the website of US Department of Justice. The PTI received $1m in political funding from the US in 2015,
while it had already obtained some $56m via Abraaj Company’s Tariq Shafi, but no reasons or details of the same were disclosed, he added.
The PTI, he claimed, had established an agent company to receive
funding from Pakistanis residing in America and it had also written a
letter to its political agents in that country seeking their
cooperation.
But, Imran Khan had denied accepting foreign funding before the ECP
and, therefore, he should be disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, he added.
Sheikh said,”On several occasions, the PTI chief has admitted the
establishment of Niazi Services Limited.” Imran Khan, however, had
failed to mention the name of the company in the list of assets submitted with the ECP, he added.
Sheikh said Niazi Services Limited was closed down in 2015, but it
was not mentioned in tax or election documents by Imran Khan uo to that year. Imran Khan was running his party from foreign funding, he alleged.
He further alleged that Imran Khan was not loyal to Pakistan as he
he received $2.3 million from 2010 to 2013 in foreign funding in the name of his party, which was prohibited under the Political Parties Order 2002 and Article 17 of the Constitution.
The CJP observed that if necessary the interior ministry would also
be made a party to the part and the NAB officials would also be summoned.
Akram Sheikh will continue his arguments on Thursday.