ISLAMABAD: A three-member bench of Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar conducted hearing over Hanif Abbasi’s petition pertaining to the disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Secretary General Jahangir Tareen.
Defense lawyer Sikandar Bashir presented Tareen’s written statement in the court. He told SC that election form only asked about the details of proprietary land while his client hid nothing in the nomination papers.
“For instance, some person does not own any personal agricultural land but has an income of Rs10 billion from a land taken on lease. What will the person then write in the election form?” asked CJ Saqib Nisar.
The lawyer replied that nothing will be then written in the form as our stance is that the tax is paid by the first owner from whom the land was bought on lease.
The Chief Justice remarked that Jahangir Tareen received the income of the leased land and as per law every agricultural earner is liable to pay tax therefore; Tareen should have paid five percent tax on the income.
Sikandar Bashir argued that Provincial Agricultural Tax Authority approved Jahangir Tareen’s tax statements and they cannot be reopened now.
“The question before us is about the honesty of Jahangir Tareen which describes the conduct of a person,” said the CJ.
‘Honesty will be proved when the relevant forum will declare verdict against Tareen. The court should let the forum announce decision first over the tax issues,” pronounced the lawyer.
Justice Umer Ata Bandial commented, “For instance, if agricultural tax is applicable on land bought on lease then what will happen if it is not paid.”
Tareen’s lawyer maintained that his client cannot be disqualified in this situation as he had not lied anywhere.
The Chief Justice expressed dissatisfaction over the argument that the owner cannot pay tax over leased land.
On the contrary, Hanif Abbasi’s lawyer argued, “Jahangir Tareen’s dishonesty is obvious from day one. No record of deficit or finance department has yet been submitted in the court. Money laundering has been committed by Jahangir Tareen through lease agreements.”
The court while concluding the arguments adjourned the hearing till October 17. INP