ISLAMABAD: Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan narrowly escaped disqualification while his close confidante Jahangir Tareen was disqualified in an anxiously awaited verdict announced by the Supreme Court on Friday.
In the verdict announced by Justice Saqib Nisar, it was categorically observed that Imran Khan was qualified enough to be a lawmaker, to the pleasure of PTI members who had assembled inside courtroom No. 1.
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 today but took around an hour-and-a-half’s delay.
Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said that Khan was not liable to declare his offshore firm Niazi Services Ltd in his 2013 nomination papers as he was not a shareholder, adding that he submitted all the information asked of him.
“Imran Khan is neither director nor shareholder of the offshore company. He was not required to show his off-shore company accounts,” the court added.
It was also directed that the issue of foreign funding brought by the petitioner Haneef Abbasi should be handled by the Election Commission separately.
‘It is the responsibility of the ECP to look at the foreign funding case in detail’ Justice Nisar observed.
‘Imran Khan had declared the London flat in Amnesty scheme’ remarked the Chief Justice and rejected the petition filed by Haneef Abbasi declaring that the petitioner was not directly affected in the foreign funding case.
The CJ observed that the delay in the verdict, which was supposed to be announced at 2pm, was due to a mistake on one page.
“We had to go through the entire 250-page document,” he explained, in an apologetic tone.
The apex court disqualified the PTI Secretary General Jahangir Tareen for life on multiple charges in its verdict.
The verdict was handed down by a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Umar Ata Bandial on petitions filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi against PTI bigwigs.
As many as 700 policemen were deployed in the vicinity of the apex court to maintain law and order situation.
Party members from both the petitioner’s as well as respondent’s side had assembled at the courtroom no.1 whereas both Imran Khan and Jahangir Tareen missed the hearing as they are in Karachi.
Naeem Bukhari, Senator Shibli Faraz, Ch Sarwar, Firdous Ashiq Awan, Naeemul Haq from PTI whereas the petitioner Haneef Abbasi along with his fellows Talal, Ch, Mussadiq Malik and Mariyum Aurangzeb besides scores of the party workers reached the court.
In the petitions, which had been filed in November last year, it was accused that the PTI leader concealed their assets and offshore companies, and received foreign funds.
Akram Sheikh and Azid Nafees were among the counsels of the petitioner, whereas Naeem Bukhari argued for Imran. Sikandar Bashir Mohmand advocated for Tareen.
During the hearings, Bukhari argued that the court should not treat the case in line with the Panama Papers case in which former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified as both cases were totally different in nature.
Bukhari added that the case against Imran Khan was about a young man who could not handle his accounts efficiently.
The bench finally came to the conclusion after conducting over 50 hearings during 405 days. INP