The Supreme Court on Thursday sought the record from Election Commission of Pakistan and other courts regarding the cases pending against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) about the alleged foreign sources of its funds. The apex court said it will conduct an inquiry into the matter as well if needed.
The SC was hearing the petition filed by PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi against alleged possession of illegal properties and tax theft committed by PTI chief Imran Khan and senior party leader Jahangir Tareen.
The ECP informed the three member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, that former PTI leader Akbar S. Babar had filed an application accusing the party of taking foreign funding.
The PTI had moved the Islamabad High Court against the petition saying the ECP did not hold jurisdiction to hear the foreign funding case. On this the chief justice issued directives that all the data regarding the pending cases against the PTI’s alleged foreign funding should be presented before the apex court.
The counsel for Imran Khan, Naeem Bukhari informed the court that his client has been paying tax since 1981, and that the court can ask the income tax department to furnish the relevant data in order to verify his claim.
Bukhari said that from 1971 to 1981 Imran Khan was residing abroad and he was a non-resident at that time. “The flats in London were purchased in 1983 from the money earned during his [Imran Khan] stay abroad,” said Bukhari.
He went on to say that according to legal and tax experts’ opinion there was no need to disclose this property or income before Pakistan’s tax authorities.
In September 2002, Imran Khan declared the flats under the amnesty scheme and subsequently paid the tax on it, said Bukhari.
On this, the chief justice said that this is exactly what Hanif Abbasi is trying to establish, “that Imran Khan did not disclose Niazi Services in his income tax returns and nomination papers. Hence he does not remain saadiq or amin.”
To this Bukhari replied saying there was no legal obligation to disclose Niazi Services. “And still, if there was any, it could be termed as a mistake on the part of Imran Khan.”
Discrepancy in financial records
The counsel for PTI chief also presented before the court the record of financial transactions between Imran Khan and his former wife Jemima Khan for the purchase of Bani Gala land.
“According to the submitted details, the money to purchase Bani Gala land was taken as loan by Imran Khan from Jemima,” the chief justice remarked.
However, there is a discrepancy between the amount of loan agreement and the amount paid for purchasing the land in Bani Gala, the chief justice added.
To this Bukhari said that it could just be a mathematical mistake.