Illegal receipts not cause for disqualification: SC

CJP says collection from prohibited sources can result in confiscation of funds as penal consequences


Hasnaat Mailk August 01, 2017
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan. PHOTO: AFP / FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has observed that a political party’s head could not be disqualified “merely for collecting funds” allegedly from prohibited sources and submitting a ‘false’ certificate before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) under the Political Parties Order-2002.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Tuesday posed a question: “If there is a breach of duty in collecting funds for a party, will it necessitate disqualification of the party’s head under the Political Parties Ordinance-2002?”

During the hearing of PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi’s petition, seeking disqualification of PTI chief Imran Khan over submission of a ‘false’ certificate about his party’s funds, the chief justice remarked that penal consequences of collecting funds from prohibited sources were confiscation of funds – and not the disqualification of the party’s chief.

However, senior counsel Akram Sheikh requested the three-judge bench, headed by the chief justice himself, not to give such an observation as it would make headlines in the media.

The counsel also referred to judgment in the Arshad Lodhi case in which a parliamentarian was disqualified for submitting false affidavit in any matter. He also said that the Supreme Court had ordered disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as PM for not mentioning his salary in the nomination papers.

The chief justice, however, observed that though they would not comment on the judgment in the former PM’s disqualification case, “if someone does not fulfil the requirement of the Representation of People Act (ROPA) 2013 while filing nomination papers and misdeclare his assets, he would be disqualified”.

 

SC cannot disqualify Imran Khan for submitting false declaration: CJP

Justice Umar Ata Bandial, a judge on the bench, questioned the PML-N counsel if the agent who collected funds for the PTI in the United States was an extension of the party or working as a collecting agent.

Sheikh said: “Imran Khan is not an ordinary person as he has authored a book. He has the charisma to influence everyone, including the establishment.”

He also argued that the US policy had severely harmed Pakistan and it was a matter of great concern that the PTI was getting money through dubious sources in the US.

The PML-N counsel said that if the court held that Imran’s affidavit before the ECP regarding foreign funding proved to be correct, he would withdraw his case, adding “there is a different standard of morality for an ordinary person and political leaders”.

 

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He said though he was not interested in getting a party banned or the prohibited fund confiscated, but “if the court feels appropriate, then the matter should be referred to the federal government [interior ministry] for action against the party, which is allegedly involved in foreign funding”.

Later, the bench asked Imran’s counsel Anwar Mansoor Khan to explain their position over submission of a false affidavit which said that the party did not receive any funds collected through prohibited sources.

Meanwhile, Sheikh contended that the court should take action against the PTI for submitting forged documents with the ECP.

The bench asked the PTI counsel to satisfy the court over allegations of submission of forged documents by the party and unavailability of those on FARA website.

The hearing will resume today (Wednesday).

COMMENTS (1)

Salman | 4 years ago | Reply Bad news for pmln supporters. Another avenue of propaganda struck down
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