ISLAMABAD: The three-judge bench of Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that the petitioner has provided inadequate evidences against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen to corroborate tax evasion and assets stashing charges.
The bench was hearing the petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi – which seeks disqualification of two PTI leaders; Imran Khan and Jahangir Tareen over non-disclosure of assets and offshore companies – when it observed that Khan’s counsel Naeem Bukhari has yet to reply many questions.
Presenting arguments, Tareen’s counsel Sikander Mohmand argued that the petition against the duo has been filed in retaliation of the petition that resulted in former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s ouster by the top court.
“The petition has been filed mere on a political basis,” Mohmand contended. He said Abbasi has misled the top court by asserting his client’s name in the Panama papers, whereas Tareen’s name did not appear in the list.
Hearing the arguments, the bench remarked that the no evidences against Tareen were provided by the petitioner. “The court was not provided with evidences corroborating that Tareen has waived loan while holding two ministries,” the bench noted.
The petitioner’s counsel – Akram Sheikh – asserted that Tareen had failed to declare his offshore companies while involved in tax evasion.
To which Justice Bandial remarked that the petitioner has not provided any proof with regard to Tareen’s offshore company. He observed the counsel has brought the matter to the court with insufficient evidences.
On which, Sheikh apprised the bench that Tareen reported his annual income in 2010 to be Rs540 million to the Federal Board of Revenue whereas the same was shown as Rs120 million to the Election Commission of Pakistan.
Responding to the argument, Chief Justice Nisar said it is a matter between Tareen and the income tax authorities. “This is not our concern as we are looking at issues of being honest and truthful,” the chief justice further observed.
Despite concluding hearing arguments with regard to Khan’s disqualification, the bench ruled that it would not reserve a verdict in the case until the bench does not conclude hearing into Tareen’s disqualification case.
“The bench concludes hearing Imran Khan’s disqualification plea, [however] we will continue posing questions [in connection with the case] whenever we feel necessary,” remarked Chief Justice Saqib Nisar.
The court later adjourned the hearing till tomorrow (Thursday).
Talking to media after court proceedings, petitioner’s counsel Akram Sheikh expressed resentment over, what he called, the top court delaying reserving a verdict in Khan’s disqualification case. NNI