Admitted, undisputed facts yield a decision: CJP

Published: August 2, 2017
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PTI chairman Imran Khan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

PTI chairman Imran Khan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar has remarked that under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has only decided cases on the basis of admitted facts.

The remarks came on Wednesday during the hearing of a petition filed by Hanif Abbasi of the ruling PML-N, seeking disqualification of PTI chief Imran Khan.

The chief justice was replying to Akram Sheikh, the petitioner’s counsel, who had asked the Supreme Court that principles of equity, equality and justice must be protected in the wake of the announcement of the July 28 judgment whereby former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified for concealing assets.

“In Friday’s judgment [against the ex-PM], the court rendered a verdict and now the people of Pakistan are looking for equity. In all honesty and fairness, the court has to protect the principle of equity, equality and justice,” said Akram Sheikh before the three-judge bench of the top court.

However, Justice Nisar, who heads the bench, remarked that they were mindful as under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, the Supreme Court only decided cases on the basis of admitted facts. He told the counsel that it was yet to be clarified whether the nature of facts submitted by him in the foreign funding case were admitted or not.

He also asked him to point out undisputed facts and submit evidence to substantiate that PTI received funds through prohibited sources. “On which basis the certificate submitted by PTI chief be declared false and he should be disqualified under Article 62 (1)(f),” he observed.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial, a member of the bench, also asked the counsel that he wanted to hold the principal i.e. Imran liable for the funds which were not deposited in his account by the agent who collected them in the US.

SC cannot disqualify Imran Khan for submitting false declaration under PPO: CJP

Sheikh, however, said if the court believed that facts were disputed, then the matter of prohibited funds should be investigated, adding that if this trend was not stopped, a floodgate of foreign funding in political parties would open up. He said that the PTI got around 40,000 dollars from multi-national companies.

He also said that holders of dual nationality did not cease to be foreign nationals, and foreigners cannot make funding to a political party. However, the bench said that there were two judgments, in which the court had accepted their right of vote.

Meanwhile, the PML-N leader’s counsel contended that despite the Supreme Court order, Imran had not submitted a complete bank statement of his offshore company, Niazi Services Limited (NSL), founded on May 10, 1983 and wound up in 2015.

Justice Bandial wondered why the PTI chief did not shut down his offshore company even 10 years after selling off its assets. He also asked how it could be established that the NSL had no assets owned in its name after the sale of Imran’s London flat.

The counsel argued that Imran himself had admitted that he was the beneficial owner of the NSL. However, the chief justice observed that the PTI chief was not the ‘legal owner’ of the company.

He also asked PTI chief’s counsel Naeem Bukhari to submit complete travelling records to prove that he was a non-resident in that particular period.

Sheikh said although the PTI claims that upon the sale of the London Apartment, the NSL became a shell company, but a shell company is an asset.

He contended that omissions to make a true statement of assets and liabilities highlighted above “cover the same kind of facts that are required to be disclosed in the wealth statement under the income tax laws as well as statements to be filed under the Wealth Tax Act of 1963 (Repealed in 2003)”.

Maryam Nawaz ‘beneficial owner’ of London flats

As far as the Wealth Tax Act is concerned, the respondent i.e. Imran was obliged to declare his beneficial ownership of the London Apartment, he said, adding that Imran had been a resident taxpayer since 1981-82, and was directed by the court to provide copies of all income and wealth tax returns.

Sheikh contended that Imran claimed that he availed CBR’s Tax Amnesty Scheme of 2000 and declared the London Apartment as an un-disclosed source of income.

“It is submitted that the London Apartment did not directly belong to Imran Khan in his status as an Assessee taking the benefit of the scheme. The benefit of the same was not available to NSL, while the London Apartment itself was registered in the name of NSL. Imran Khan obtained the benefit of the scheme by making a false declaration regarding recorded title to the property,” he told the court.

According to Sheikh, immunity under the scheme extends only to tax liability, and there is no immunity on other liabilities such as making a false declaration in the wealth tax returns, clearly establishing that Imran was neither ‘sadiq’ nor ‘ameen”

“The facts of the case clearly establish that the PTI chief consistently made false and misleading statements in declarations filed with the ECP in nomination papers as well as declarations made in the Income Tax and Wealth Tax records. Imran Khan is, therefore, clearly neither ‘sadiq’ nor ‘ameen’ nor a “righteous” person. This fact is established from the admitted record placed before this court. Therefore, he is not competent to remain an MNA,” he argued.

The case continues today (Thursday).

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Imran Qadri
    Aug 2, 2017 - 7:08PM

    Before his offshore compnay got exposed,Imran Khan has time and again stated that offshore firms are nothing but vehicles for money laundering. Maybe he too was using it for just that purpose..?Recommend

  • Hatim
    Aug 2, 2017 - 7:19PM

    @Imran Qadri He was using companies to avoid taxes–which is legal. Recommend

  • Shan
    Aug 2, 2017 - 7:49PM

    @imran qadri. Do you even know what is a offshore company? is any company abroad is offshore company? or company abroad in Tax heaven location like BVI or Panama are called offshore companies for money laundering? Perhaps you can educate people!Recommend

  • Imran Qadri
    Aug 2, 2017 - 8:08PM

    For the information of gluible followers of PTI :

    Niacin Services was incorporated in Jersey channel islands (a known tax heaven whose economy depends on such offshore companies)Recommend

  • Lakhkar Khan
    Aug 2, 2017 - 8:20PM

    The moral issue is, it is ok if he cheats taxes in England but not ok if he cheats taxes in Pakistan? Only in Niazis world it is logical. Recommend

  • Imran Qadri
    Aug 2, 2017 - 8:40PM

    Niazi Services too is incorporated in Jersey channel islands a known tax heaven.Recommend

  • Salman
    Aug 2, 2017 - 9:13PM

    @Lakhkar Khan:
    In England, there is the concept of tax avoidance which is legal, and tax evasion which is illegal. Using an offshore company to buy a property in England to avoid taxes is legal – for IK and Nawaz family. Note that no one is accusing nawaz family of tax evasion in eng either. Where Nawaz is in trouble, is regarding the source of funding (possible corruption) and money laundering (I.e. Tax evasion from Pakistan). On both these points IK is in a better position as he bought money from uk to Pakistan and has been able to show source and money trail. Hope that explains…Recommend

  • Lakhkar Khan
    Aug 2, 2017 - 9:58PM

    @Salman: – Thanks for explaining but Imran Niazi is neither honest nor loyal. Anyone has a child out of wedlock, which he has, and abandon it has no morals.
    Let me ask you, how about the rest of PTI goons like Tareen and Aleem? Are they also honest like Niazi?Recommend

  • M.Sethi
    Aug 2, 2017 - 11:00PM

    Important and pertinent question is ,why Imran Khan never disclosed this asset in his election nomination during th perion the compnay was found on May 10, 1983 and winded up in 2015 ?Recommend

  • Imran Qadri
    Aug 2, 2017 - 11:26PM

    Recent PTI illegal foreign funding case shows that Imran Khan collects lots(millions of dollars) of unaccounted money overseas in the name of politics and charity. In order to launder or hide,reinvest such unaccounted money, offshore companies come handy. Recommend

  • hellodrsoul
    Aug 2, 2017 - 11:39PM

    IK did mention his offshore company in 1997 election which he contested from 7 constituencies. That may render him dishonest as per article 62,63. An application has been filed today about this by Hanif abbasi.Recommend

  • Imran Qadri
    Aug 2, 2017 - 11:41PM

    Imran Khan admitted that in recent past millions of dollars worth of Charity money collected in his hospital name was invested overseas in realestate projects which resulted in looses. Similar millions of dollars in profits must have been made by making other similar investments? All that unaccounted millions of dollars have to be parked somewhere. That’s where such offshore companies come handy.Recommend

  • Zarnish Kabir
    Aug 3, 2017 - 10:14AM

    @Salman

    Although morality being the guiding principle of law demands that any one running for the highest public office ought not have swindled his capital any where around the glob for the purpose of cheating a domestic law but you are correct that the question in hand does not pertain to tax-avoidance.

    It pertains to Miss-Deceleration under section 12(2)(f) of the Representation of Peoples Act 1976. Imran Khan under oath said the assets declared therein are the only assets held by him anywhere across the globe. They however did not make a mention of Niazi Services Ltd. a legal entity with 9 Pounds as a paid-up capital.

    Hence the question rises if he had been honest in terms of Article 63(1)(f) of the Constitution?Recommend

  • Mirza Faisal Hussain
    Aug 3, 2017 - 10:26AM

    i’m lovin’itRecommend

  • salman
    Aug 3, 2017 - 2:09PM

    @Zarnish Kabir:
    Sorry mate, you may have misunderstood. My point is that using offshore companies to buy property is NOT tax evasion according to UK laws. It may be classified as tax avoidance which is not illegal in UK. Although in last 5-6 years the tax treatment of this scenario has changed, those changes are not retrospective. This is why neither IK or Nawaz is in trouble with UK tax authorities – on this matter at least. HMRC may decide to look at the source of funding and money laundering allegations, but we will never know as HMRC don’t comment on individual cases.

    What IK did or did not declare is what the SC will decide on. As I understand from brief readings, IK claims he did declare the property but not the offshore company – if that breaks the law, then yes, let the law take its course. Recommend

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