SC hears arguments in Imran, Tareen disqualification case

Bani Gala: Imran directed to reply CDA report

Staff Reporter

Islamabad

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s counsel Anwar Mansoor on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the petition filed by PML-N leader Hanif Abassi, seeking the disqualification of PTI chief Imran Khan and Secretary General Jehangir Tareen, was inadmissible in the apex court.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, has been hearing a petition which accuses the two PTI leaders of concealing their assets from the Election Commission of Pakistan and seeks to unseat them based on their alleged violations of the lncome Tax Ordinance 1979 and People’s Act 1974.
The petition, which was accepted by the apex court in November last year, also accuses the PTI of being a ‘foreign-funded’ party.
During Wednesday’s hearing, as he began his arguments before the bench, Mansoor told the bench that the petition was inadmissible in court and had failed to distinguish between “aid, funding and donation.”
“The PTI does not accept funds or aid, rather it operates solely on donations,” Mansoor told the bench.
The PTI’s counsel further said that Sections 1, 2 and 3 of Article 6 of the Political Parties Order, 2002 allow parties to accept donations from members and supporters, and prohibit them only from accepting funds from foreign governments.
“In this context, those who have left [Pakistan] and are living abroad are residents of those countries and considered foreigners,” Justice Umar Ata Bandial told the counsel.
In response, Mansoor pointed out that Pakistan has agreements regarding dual nationalities with several countries, adding that “an individual can have nationalities for both Pakistan and America.”
During the hearing, PTI also submitted the details of PTI’s banks accounts, financial statements, and a financial brief of the PTI’s USA chapter.
Tax returns from 2013-2015 submitted before the ECP, details regarding the party’s foreign funding, and a report approved by an auditor of the PML-N were also included in the PTI’s documents.
Submitting the documents before the bench, Mansoor also said that the party’s funding was a matter of the past and should not be raised now. The counsel argued that the ECP reviews account details in keeping with the law when they are submitted before the commission. Mansoor argued that once accounts are approved by the ECP, they cannot be reopened. “The ECP reviews all details submitted before it and approves of them in keeping with the law. It then allots an election symbol to the party,” Mansoor told the bench.
“Holding intra-party elections and providing details of the party’s accounts are the two conditions which need to be fulfilled before an election symbol is allotted to a party,” he said. “The election has already taken place, this matter cannot be raised now,” Mansoor said. Justice Arab asked the counsel whether the PTI’s accounts could be audited.
“I have submitted the details of the audit to the court,” the lawyer said in response.
“Private chartered accountants now conduct the audits for political parties,” the counsel told the bench, adding, “According to the People’s Representation Act, not just any individual can object to the accounts of a party.”
Turning his attention to details regarding the PTI’s USA chapter, the lawyer said the PTI Limited Liability Company is responsible for the organisation of the party in America. Mansoor also told the bench that funds received from the USA chapter include membership fees and are accepted in the form of cheques or by credit card. The hearing was adjourned till Thursday.
Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday summoned reply from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on report of Capital Development Authority which declared a portion of Khan’s 300 kanal residence illegal among 122 other constructions in Bani Gala.
The SC heard a suo moto case against encroachments in Bani Gala Wednesday and sought details from CDA of 20 years allotments. During proceeding, Khan’s counsel Babar Awan informed bench about his reservations upon which Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar remarked that apex court’s proceedings were not against any individual and SC could appoint analysts for comprehensive study in case CDA’s report was half-finished.
During proceedings, CJP pointed out three key issues pertaining to the encroachment case.
“First issue is illegal cutting of trees whereas second issue is construction of wall around the botanical garden. Third issue is provision of water to residents of twin cities from Rawal Dam”, pronounced CJP.
Supreme Court Judge Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that the court cannot order the demolition of 200 houses.
Justice Bandiyal said that if one house is pulled down then the authority will have to do the same for the other 200 houses built in the area as the law is equal for all. The Supreme Court has also ordered Capital Development Authority to present report on how many allotments it has issued in the last 20 years and what action it has taken against illegal constructions. The courts have also issued notice to the Attorney General for assistance in the case. Lawyer of the complainant, Zafar Ali Shah pleaded the case that legally two kilometres from Rawal Dam construction is barred, however, in the National Park which comes under the limit has gone through extensive construction, further adding that buildings of Supreme Court, PM Office and Convention Centre also come under the limits. The court adjourned the case for three weeks.
Later, Imran Khan announced to show complete money trail pertaining to purchase and sale of London flat, and money brought back to Pakistan before SC.
Khan took to microblogging website twitter to comment over ongoing case against his Bani Gala’s residence and said, “I will also show SC proof that I had my Bani Gala house plans approved by Union Council of Mora Noor before starting construction”.
“And in both London flat & Bani Gala house cases it won’t be a Qatari letter drama”, tweeted Khan. Khan further narrated that Pakistan Muslim League-N wanted PTI to stop taking funds from overseas Pakistanis, adding that PTI was the only party that raises political fund.

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