SC adjourns Jehangir Tareen’s disqualification case till Tuesday

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned hearing of a case regarding offshore companies of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) General Secretary Jehangir Tareen till Tuesday.

The court also sought the record of 18,564 acres of land in relation to the disqualification case against him. The chief justice in his remarks said that the official data would reveal under which conditions the land was bought.

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 Jehangir Tareen for concealing of assets before Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), ownership of offshore company.

The petition alleged that Tareen owned offshore companies in the name of his children, shared gifts worth over Rs1.6 billion among family members, and was involved in insider trading in the shares of United Sugar Mills Limited in 2005.

During the course of proceedings, the court questioned Advocate Sikander Mohammad, the counsel representing Jahangir Tareen, regarding discrepancies in his client’s income records.

The court observed that the income declared by Tareen before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in his nomination papers was less than the figure declared in his tax returns, wondering if the discrepancy alluded to money laundering.

Advocate Sikandar Mohammad said that Tareen had not concealed any part of his income, adding that his client was required to only submit details of income he had received from his personal land to the ECP.

He said that Jehangir Tareen had declared before the Federal Board of Revenue the income that he received from land on contract.

The court asked Advocate Mohammad to provide records that proved the land he was referring to was, in fact, on contract.

The chief justice asked what would be his client’s position, if the records proved that the land was not contractual.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed that Jehangir Tareen had been accused of money laundering.

Sikandar Mohmand said that Jehangir Tareen paid the highest amount of tax in the country. The court referred to the Panama Papers case.

The chief justice observed that the Panama Papers case was about assets exceeding income and the court could open an investigation if it was found that false statements were made in the nomination papers.

Justice Umar Bandial asked how much tax was paid on the land on contract. The lawyer replied that he would submit the required documents once he acquired them.

The chief justice remarked that the bench was not here for tax scrutiny.

He asked the counsel whether he accepted that there was a discrepancy in the income declared on the tax returns and the nomination papers.

The lawyer responded that the nomination papers were incomplete.