ISLAMABAD: The top poll supervisory body has given three weeks to the prime minister and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief to submit their comments on pleas seeking their disqualification from the National Assembly.
On Tuesday, a full bench of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) took up the petitions against PM Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan that allege the leaders of concealing their assets from authorities to evade taxes.
ADB approves $197m loan
The petitions against PM Nawaz and his family members were filed by PTI, Pakistan Peoples Party, Awami Muslim League, Pakistan Awami Tehreek and an individual named Prof Waheen Kamal after the Panama Papers revealed that three scions of the Sharif family had secreted their money in international tax havens.
On August 17, the election commission had issued notices to the premier, his younger brother Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Shahbaz’s son Hamza Shahbaz, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and the premier’s son-in-law Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar to submit their replies on September 6.
The federal government apparently resorted to delaying tactics as its lawyer sought time to submit replies against the disqualification of the prime minister and his close relatives.
When the bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan took up the case, Advocate Salman Butt said the defence was not prepared to argue against the disqualification petitions.
He requested the ECP to give him more time for submitting replies from the respondents.
The petitioners’ counsel, especially Hamid Ali Khan representing the PTI, argued that notices were served on August 17 and the government’s lawyer should have prepared himself for the arguments.
However, the ECP bench asked the premier’s counsel to submit replies in the next hearing and adjourned the case till September 28.
In separate but similar cases, the bench also gave PTI leaders Imran Khan and Jahangir Tareen three weeks to submit their replies.
Two petitions against their disqualification were filed by independent petitioners Shah Nawaz and Bilal Mustafa.
Imran slams Sadiq for shedding neutrality
Nawaz alleged the PTI chief did not disclose his offshore company in the UK through which he purchased a flat in London in 1983 and did not reveal this fact until 2016. Mustafa had alleged that Tareen had received a loan of Rs101 million from the Zarai Taraqiati Bank, when he was a federal minister during Pervez Musharraf’s regime. The loan in the name of Tandlianwala Sugar Mills was later written off in 2005.
The petitioner accused Tareen of concealing facts while submitting his nomination papers for the 2013 general elections and by-elections in 2015, requesting the ECP to disqualify him.
The bench adjourned the matter till September 28.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2016.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ