ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court disqualified Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Secretary General Jahangir Tareen but ruled in favour of PTI Chairperson Imran Khan in its judgment on the disqualification case against the two party leaders.
The three-member bench had reserved the verdict in the disqualification petition against the two PTI leaders on November 14.
The decision was expected to be announced at 2pm but took around an hour-and-a-half’s delay.
As the judges took their seats, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar apologised for the delay and explained that there was a mistake on one page so all 250 pages of the judgment had to be read again.
He remarked further that the judgment should be heard with patience, adding that all the evidence was examined carefully.
Reading the judgment, the chief justice ruled that Imran is not disqualified as a parliamentarian as the petitioner was not directly affected in the foreign funding case.
The court also ruled that the ECP will impartially investigate the foreign funding claims against the PTI chief by scrutinising accounts up till five years ago.
The judgment states that Imran wasn’t bound to declare his offshore company, declared his London flat in an amnesty scheme and that his former wife Jemima gave Imran the funds for buying the Bani Gala estate.
Jahangir Tareen disqualified from Parliament
With regards to Tareen, the judgment stated that the PTI secretary general had pleaded guilty to insider trading.
Tareen cannot be termed honest and stands disqualified for life as per Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution, according to the Supreme Court judgment.
Article 62(1)(f) reads: “A person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) unless-…he is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate, honest and ameen, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law.”
Moreover, the court ruled that Tareen used suspicious terms in his statements to the court.
It was also stated in the judgment that the court is not announcing its decision on Tareen’s agriculture land matter.
Tareen did not declare his offshore company, the court stated.
All eyes on Supreme Court
Imran was in Karachi on party business but has now left for the airport. According to reports, Tareen had left for Islamabad from Karachi on Thursday evening. The party had planned a publich gathering in Tando Mohammad Khan today.
However, other PTI leaders were present in the court for the verdict.
Similarly, senior leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), including the petitioner of the case Hanif Abbasi, were also present in the packed courtroom.
Several workers of both parties were present outside the court and chanting slogans in their favour. A heavy police contingent was also present to control the situation in case of any adverse development.
Walking into the court, PTI leader Firdous Ashiq Awan said the “rule of law will prevail” today.
State Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb made similar comments while entering the court.
The case was heard by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar, who headed the three-member bench, which included Justices Umar Ata Bandial and Faisal Arab.
On Oct 18, the chief justice had remarked that the verdict of both the cases will be given together.
The petition, filed by PML-N’s Abbasi, sought Tareen and Imran’s disqualification over non-disclosure of their assets and ownership of offshore companies.
Abbasi had filed the petition in November last year. It accused the PTI leaders of not declaring their assets to the Election Commission of Pakistan and violations of the lncome Tax Ordinance, 1979, and Peoples Act, 1974. It also claimed that the PTI is a ‘foreign-funded’ party.
In the earlier hearings, the court observed while hearing Tareen’s case, that he is the beneficial owner of the offshore company, Shiny View Ltd.
Justice Bandial noted that it is clear in the trust deed submitted by Tareen that there are two lifetime beneficiaries of the trust.
During the hearing on November 9, the chief justice observed that Tareen has already served his punishment according to the law.
Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali presented his arguments before the bench, saying Tareen’s counsel challenged two sections of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Act.
He added that the fine imposed on Tareen by SECP in 2008 for insider trading has been submitted in the national kitty and there is no point objecting to the law after 10 years.
Tareen also provided the court the trust deed regarding a 12-acre property — Hyde House — he owns in the United Kingdom.
The case against Imran is related to the bank account detail of his offshore company, Niazi Services Limited, and the sale of his London flat and subsequent purchase of his Bani Gala estate in Islamabad.
Imran became a member of the National Assembly from Rawalpindi’s NA-56 constituency after defeating Abbasi, the petitioner in the case, while Tareen had bagged the NA-156 constituency of Lodhran, Punjab.