SC adjourns Imran Khan’s disqualification case till October 3

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned hearing of a case regarding offshore companies of PakistanTehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan till October 3.

A three-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Faisal Arab heard the case filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi seeking disqualification of the PTI chairman for concealing of assets before Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), ownership of offshore company and running party’s affairs through foreign funding.

During the course of proceedings, Imran Khan’s lawyer Naeem Bokhari told the court that PTI chief’s former wife Jemima had gifted Rs 6.5m to her then husband and the money was returned. The court asked that documents of bank transactions be provided to prove the same.

Bokhari presented a letter sent by Jemima via email before the bench, verifying that Khan had returned 562,000 pounds.

The chief justice remarked that Bokhari had not disclosed before court that Khan’s ex-wife Jemima had given Rs 6.5 million as a gift to him.

At this, Naeem Bukhari said that monetary exchange between wife and husband did not qualify as a loan and financial issues between the two were personal matters.

The chief justice observed that the allegation against Imran Khan was that he acquired the Bani Gala property through money laundering, which the PTI chief had denied.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar asked where were the details regarding the transfer of the sum from Jemima’s account and the return of that sum from Imran Khan’s account?

Bokhari said Jemima had received 562,000 pounds, to which Justice Umar Atta Bandial asked for documents proving the same.

The chief justice observed that Khan had so far provided money trail of only three payments, including those of $33,000, $270,000 and 20,000 pounds.

Documents showing money had travelled from the account of Niazi Services Limited (NSL), Khan’s offshore company, to Jemima’s account could fill the gaps in the money trail, Justice Nisar observed.

Bokhari recalled that the court had also sought answers to two other questions in the last hearing: why Imran Khan had not declared before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) the presence of 75,000 British pounds in Barclays Private Bank and Trust Ltd; and if the funds had been transferred from one account to the other, why the bank statement of 2003 was not presented.

Bokhari argued that it was the job of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and not the ECP to inquire about the income, assets and liabilities.

Chief Justice Nisar asked the counsel whether the 75,000 pounds did not constitute Khan’s assets. Bokhari replied in negative.

“We reject the allegation that the money was remitted as a gift to evade tax,” he said.

The ECP does not have the right to determine income, assets and expenditures, the counsel maintained.

He regretted that Khan did not submit a clause-by-clause reply. The hearing was adjourned after Bokhari completed his arguments.