Friday Dec 15, 2017
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday 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 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.
However, the apex court disqualified Tareen under Article 62(1)(f) because of his blatant misstatement regarding the ownership of the Hyde House property and failure to declare it in his nomination papers.
The decision was expected to be announced at 2pm today but was subjected to 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 a page, so all 250 pages of the judgment had to be read again.
The apex court, in its judgment, declared that Tareen had failed to declare in his nomination papers the Hyde House property or SVL, the off-shore company established for the property. The apex court verdict said that Tareen was infact "the actual, true, real and beneficial owner of the said 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 filed on 9.9.2015 according to the mandate of the law to contest the by-elections from NA-154 Lodhran and, therefore, he is not honest in terms of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution read with Section 99(1)(f) of ROPA," read the Supreme Court's order.
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."
The apex court added that Tareen had made "a blatant misstatement...before the highest judicial forum of the country", claiming he had "no beneficial interest in the trust arrangement which holds the SVL and the Hyde House" while he was infact a ‘discretionary lifetime beneficiary’ along with his spouse.
Therefore, he is declared "not to be an honest person in terms of the constitutional provisions and the provisions of ROPA".
"In his concise statement the respondent [Tareen] in unequivocal, clear and unambiguous terms stated 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. Consequently, on both the counts mentioned above, the respondent is declared not to be an honest person in terms of the constitutional provisions and the provisions of ROPA, therefore, he ceases to be the member of the Parliament having incurred the disqualification," the apex court bench wrote in its judgment.
The judgment further stated that the PTI secretary general had pleaded guilty to insider trading.
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, following his disqualification, was denotified by the ECP in a notification issued.
"The Election Commission of Pakistan hereby de-notify Mr. Jahangir Khan Tareen as Member National Assembly of Pakistan from constituency NA-154 Lodhran-1 with immediate effect..."
The notification further declared Tareen as a returned candidate from his constituency Lodhran-1 which stands rescinded with effect from December 15.
Tareen had left for Islamabad from Karachi on Thursday evening.
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.