The charges against Khan and Tareen — and how the Supreme Court ruled on eachPakistan
As Jahangir Tareen heads back to the pavilion and Imran Khan basks in the glow of the Supreme Court's 'not out' decision, Dawn.com breaks down each of the charges brought against the two Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leaders and how the Supreme Court reacted to each of them.
Charge No.1: PTI is a foreign-funded political party.
The verdict: Petitioner Hanif Abbasi had no business bringing this charge against the PTI.
The Supreme Court ruled that the charge could only be presented by the federal government for its validation on a reference made to the Supreme Court.
The court said Abbasi thus had no locus standi — the right to level this charge; therefore, the matter would be sent back to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for investigation.
"The ECP must act transparently, fairly and justly, without discrimination among different political parties," wrote the chief justice.
"For undertaking such scrutiny, it shall be reasonable for the ECP to examine the accounts of a political party within five years of the objected accounts of that party having been published in the official gazette."
Charge No.2: The PTI's asset certificates have been falsified.
The verdict: This charge is quite irrelevant at this stage.
The Supreme Court ruled that this could only be determined in a competent court of law after the ECP gives its findings on whether any prohibited funding has been received or collected by the PTI.
Charge No. 1: Imran Khan had an offshore company (asset) which he failed to disclose in his nomination papers.
The verdict: Niazi Services (NSL) was not an 'asset' which Khan needed to declare.
Yes, NSL was an offshore company, of which Imran Khan was the beneficial owner. However, the court ruled, it had been established solely as a corporate vehicle for the legal ownership of Khan's London flat and Imran Khan could not be proved to have been a shareholder or a director of NSL.
The court noted that Imran Khan had later declared the London flat through an amnesty scheme under Pakistan's income tax laws, after which there was no need left to also declare NSL — which had only been set up to buy the flat — as an asset in his income tax returns, statement of assets or annual returns.
Charge No. 2: Imran Khan can not justify how he acquired the funds for his Bani Gala property, hence he is dishonest.
The verdict: Khan was actually quite forthcoming about where the money came from.
The court said it was quite satisfied that the initial purchase price of Rs43.5 million of the Bani Gala property was paid partly by Imran Khan (Rs7.3 million) and partly by Jemima Goldsmith (Rs36.2 million) at the time of its purchase.
The amount was covered by foreign currency remittances made by Imran Khan's ex-wife, the court found, which was later returned by Imran Khan in 2003 after he sold his London flat.
Charge No.3: Imran Khan did not legally come into ownership of the Bani Gala property
The verdict: The petitioner should mind his own business.
The court stated unequivocally that the Bani Gala property is owned by Imran Khan after it was orally gifted to him by his ex-wife after their divorce.
Prior to that, the property had been acquired by Khan for his family and the money provided by his then wife had been more than refunded by him, the court ruled.
Therefore, the court said, there was nothing irregular in Khan's ownership of the property and, in any case, Hanif Abbasi had no grounds to challenge the gift transaction between a husband and wife.
Charge No.4: Imran Khan owns a flat on 1, Constitution Avenue that he did not declare in his asset statement, hence he is dishonest.
The verdict: "There is no dishonesty in the omission made by him."
The court found that Imran Khan had actually declared his advance payment made to 1-Constitution Avenue Tower, Islamabad in his statement of assets and liabilities filed with his income tax return in the tax year 2014.
He was allotted the flat in the following year, and thereafter declared it in both his assets and liabilities statements filed with his income tax returns for the year, as well as his annual returns order filed with the ECP.
"Therefore, we hold that no misdeclaration of assets was committed by Imran Khan in relation to the said property in his annual return filed with the ECP in the year 2014," the court ruled.
Charge No.1: Jahangir Tareen is a dishonest person because he was involved in insider trading in the past.
The verdict: The SECP has already buried the matter through a settlement.
Though the Supreme Court concedes that Tareen may have committed the crime of insider trading, the court also notes that he returned his gains along with fines, penalties and charges to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) as was demanded from him by the SECP.
Further, the court noted that under the terms of the settlement with the SECP, Tareen could not be deemed to have committed an offense just because he agreed to a settlement.
Further, because the SECP itself had said that the matter "will stand disposed off with no further action" if Tareen agreed to the settlement — which he did — the court could no longer judge Tareen on the matter.
The court also noted that the SECP had never criminally prosecuted Tareen, which meant that this was "a past and closed transaction."
Charge No.2: Jahangir Tareen is dishonest because he mis-declared and underpaid his agricultural income tax in 2010 and 2011.
The verdict: This is already a sub judice matter.
"We are not persuaded to make any declaration against the respondent in this context because the matter whether inaccurate declaration has been made by the respondent, either in respect of agricultural income tax before the concerned department [...] or before the Federal Board of Revenue, is a matter which is sub-judice before different forums in the income tax hierarchy and even before this court," the court reasoned.
"Besides, no action so far for the alleged misdeclaration or short payment has been taken against the respondent by the authorities under the Act of 1997," therefore Tareen cannot yet be judged to be a dishonest man, the court ruled.
Charge No.3: Jahangir Tareen got his company's loans written off by abusing his authority as a public figure, hence he is dishonest.
The verdict: That is incorrect.
The court was not convinced that Tareen had misused his authority to have any loans written off. The company in question that Tareen was said to have benefited, FPML, was actually found to have had its loans written off before 2010 — when Tareen was neither a shareholder nor a director of the company.
"He became the shareholder and director with effect from 29.12.2010 to 4.2.2013 and during this period no loans were written-off," the court noted.
Charge No.4: Jahangir Tareen was the owner of a property in the UK which he had not declared in his nomination papers, hence he had been dishonest.
The verdict: Guilty!
"We hold that Shiny View Limited (SVL), an off-shore company, was established by the respondent which has legal title of the property measuring 12 acres known as “Hyde House” but the actual, true, real and beneficial owner of the said property is the respondent," ruled the court.
"Respondent has sent around more than Rs500 million at the exchange rate prevalent at that time and claims that amount to have been utilized for the purposes of purchase and construction of “Hyde House”.
"SVL or Hyde House was never transferred to any trust by the respondent, thus, it is his asset, which he has failed to declare in his nomination papers filed on 9.9.2015 according to the mandate of the law to contest the by-elections from NA-154 Lodhran and, therefore, he is not honest in terms of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution read with Section 99(1)(f) of ROPA."
"Besides, in his concise statement the respondent in unequivocal, clear and unambiguous terms stated that he has no beneficial interest in the trust arrangement which holds the SVL and the Hyde House, however from the trust deed dated 5.5.2011, on which reliance has been placed by the respondent himself, he is the ‘discretionary lifetime beneficiary’ along with his spouse and, therefore, this is a blatant misstatement on the part of the respondent made before the highest judicial forum of the country which is not a trait of an honest person."
"Consequently, on both the counts mentioned above, the respondent is declared not to be an honest person in terms of the constitutional provisions and the provisions of ROPA, therefore, he ceases to be the member of the Parliament having incurred the disqualification."