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Court disqualified me on mere interpretation of trust deed: Jahangir Tareen

16 December, 2017

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Hours after the Supreme Court disqualified Jahangir Tareen for life, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday denotified the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader from his NA-154 (Lodhran) seat.

Earlier today, a three-member bench of the apex court ─ headed by Chief Justice Sadiq Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Atta Bandial and Justice Faisal Arab ─ had announced its decision pertaining to petitions filed by PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi seeking the disqualification of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Tareen.

The apex court rejected Abbasi's petition for Imran Khan's disqualification, but disqualified Tareen for life. The bench found Tareen to have been dishonest to the court and thus unworthy to hold public office under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution and Section 99 of Representation of People Act.

"The respondent [Tareen] is disqualified in terms of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution read with Section 99(1)(f) of ROPA for the non-declaration of his property/asset i.e. 'Hyde House' in his nomination papers, and in making untrue statement before this Court, that he has no beneficial interest in SVL [offshore company]; therefore, he should cease to hold the office as the member of the National Assembly with immediate effect," the apex court's judgement, read out by the chief justice, read.

However, after the verdict was announced, Tareen said that the court had disqualified him on a "mere interpretation of the trust deed." He was referring to a trust deed that names Tareen as a settler and was used to buy property in the UK.

In a tweet, Tareen went on to note that the apex court had rejected four of the allegations levelled against him by the PML-N leader, including misuse of authority to write off loans and insider trading.

The tweet also noted that the court had accepted the money trail provided by Tareen for his property in London and that it had rejected the allegation that he had mis-declared his agricultural income.

As he appeared before the media after the Supreme Court announced its verdict, PTI Chairman Imran Khan expressed his gratitude for being cleared in the case.

However, he regretted that the Supreme Court had disqualified PTI leader Jahangir Tareen, whom he described as an upright citizen and one of Pakistan's highest tax-paying politicians.

Notwithstanding the verdict, he said, Tareen should not be compared to the "corrupt mafia" of the Sharif family, who Khan accused of taking Rs300 billion out of the country. Compared to the Sharifs, Tareen conducted all his legitimate business in the country, Khan said.

Khan said that the PTI would file for a review of the Supreme Court's judgement on Tareen, insisting it was based on a technicality.
The case

The petitions, filed by Abbasi in November 2016, accused the two PTI leaders of not fully declaring their assets to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and sought their disqualification based on alleged violations of the lncome Tax Ordinance 1979 and Representation of Peoples Act 1974.

On May 3, amidst heightened political noise, a three-member bench of the apex court had begun hearing the petition.

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