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Thursday Oct 12 2017

Tareen disqualification case: SC says leased land is still taxable


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court resumed hearing on Thursday the petition filed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Hanif Abbasi seeking the disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen today. 

Sikandar Bashir Mohmand, Tareen's counsel, is presenting his arguments to the three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar.

During the court proceeding, Tareen's counsel said that the court should tell where his client lied in his nomination papers.

In response to the question, the chief justice said that Tareen didn’t disclose his ownership of an agriculture land. He added that the counsel should read Representation of People Act's Section-12 to know what action can be taken on misdeclaration.

The chief justice said that the court is taking into consideration matters related to integrity and honesty.  

The chief justice observed that though the agriculture land in question was on lease, the earnings received from it would qualify as assets and thus had to be shown in the required documents. He added that Tareen did not mention his complete assets in the election forms. 

The chief justice also remarked that they are trying to understand the law and not giving a final opinion on the matter. 

At the last hearing on October 11, the bench observed that there is a clear difference in the assets details submitted by the PTI lawmaker in the election nomination papers and the details submitted to the Federal Board of Revenue. 

Presenting his arguments, Mohmand had informed the court that his client has declared all his assets.

He argued that the bench is conducting a tax audit of his client, saying that the petitioner wants to waste time and should be told to take the case to the Federal Board of Revenue.

Justice Umar Ata Bandiyal remarked that they are conducting disqualification proceedings at the core of which is the issue of misdeclarations in election nomination forms.

When Mohmand objected to the questions in the forms for the electoral nomination papers, the court said it will examine the form and see if the objections hold true.

However, the bench observed that regardless of the 'objections', all land holdings should have been mentioned in the form.

At the core of the case is the matter of over 18,500 acres that were acquired by Tareen on a lease. Tareen's counsel has said that the PTI leader grows sugar, mangos, and cotton on his farms.

The problem arises as the land, being on a lease (thaika), was not mentioned by Tareen when he submitted his nomination forms for the 2013 General Elections. 


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