ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar has observed that honesty is a state of mind which can only be proven through a person’s conduct.
The CJP’s remarks came during the hearing of a petition by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi seeking disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) general secretary Jahangir Khan Tareen as well as chairman Imran Khan as members of the National Assembly over allegations of concealing their sources of income.
Heading a three-member bench, the chief justice said when the law is clear, how Tareen should have gone about distinguishing between two kinds of land – leased and owned. He also asked whether a person owning no land but cultivating over 18,000 leased acres should mention this in his nomination papers.
“What will the impact be if we assume that [Tareen was] liable to pay taxes on leased land?” Justice Umar Ata Bandial, another judge on the bench, asked the PTI leader’s counsel Sikandar Bashir Mohmand.
Upon this, Mohmand replied that Tareen could still not be disqualified, adding that if the petitioner believed that his client had lied, he should identify where he did so.
The counsel said that Tareen acted in good faith as he did not conceal anything. He also said that the court could not open the tax history of a person and examine records beyond two years, claiming that in the Sindh tax law, there is a difference between the treatment of leased and owned land.
Another judge, Justice Faisal Arab, said if Tareen derived income from agriculture, then he was liable to pay agriculture taxes. The hearing was then adjourned till Tuesday.
Earlier, petitioner Abbasi told the apex court that Imran Khan, the PTI chief, had been playing hide and seek with the court for a long time, taking undue advantage of the court in its quest to do complete justice.
Abbasi’s counsel Akram Sheikh submitted a reply to Khan’s recent application for submitting a banking trail regarding the transfer of £526,000 pounds into the account of Jemima Khan, his then-wife.
According to the reply, the documents submitted by Khan are baseless and unsubstantiated, having been fabricated by him to fill the lacunas in his pleadings before the court and the financial transactions in question. The documents neither stand on their own nor do they adequately substantiate the corresponding claims made by Khan.
“[Khan] has attached excerpts of Jemima’s bank statement from Anglo Irish Bank to show receipt of £562,415.54. The said bank statement, just like all other bank statements of foreign banks attached by [Khan] during the course of the proceedings, fails to comply with the attestation and certification requirements laid down in Article 89 of Qanoon-e-Shahadat Order, 1984, read with Section 4 of The Banker’s Books Evidence Act, 1981,” says the reply.
It further states that it is essential to take cognisance of the fact that on July 13, the SC strictly directed that “no further documents shall be received from Imran Khan without the permission of the court, in order to specifically put an end to this continuous submission of documents in a piecemeal manner. Yet, even three months after the order, they sought to admit new documents in unruly disregard of the order of this court.”
The reply adds that Khan’s account on May 26, 2003, admittedly received a remittance amounting to £79,000 which is not reflected in the wealth statement for the year 2002, his nomination papers for the year 2002 or his statement of assets and liabilities filed before the ECP in 2003. Moreover, the said remittance has not been declared in the Statement of Assets and Liabilities for the year ending June 2003.
“Khan, in his letter dated April 18, 2003, instructed Barclays Bank to retain a sum of £100,000 for reasons best known to him. He has not shown that there was any compulsion on him from any side. If Khan had set aside the money to meet certain contingencies and the same had been retained for that purpose and utilised over a period of time, it does not mean that the money had ceased to be Khan’s asset. The flat had been declared among Khan’s assets in the nomination papers filed before the ECP for the year ending June 30, 2002,” explains the reply filed by Abbasi’s counsel.
It also states that once the flat was sold, the proceeds continued to be an asset of Khan, who was the beneficial owner, in the same manner, that he had been the owner of the asset in its previous shape. The proceeds of the sale being an asset of Khan, a major portion was transferred with his consent to Jemima to settle Khan’s loans, and £100,000 was retained in the account to meet other expenses and liabilities that might accrue in the future. All these funds continued to be an asset of Khan till the last penny had been consumed.
The reply states that it is an absolutely false proposition that if a person retains a part of his assets to meet future liabilities, the retained monies would lose their status as an asset of that person.
It is absolutely clear from the record that Khan made a false declaration by failing to disclose before the ECP that regarding funds in the NSL account beneficially owned by him, as an asset, in his declaration as on June 30, 2003, and subsequently as well, concludes the reply.