ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Monday said that no one should be declared dishonest and untruthful on the basis of mere assumptions.

“We can’t buy assumptions and unless there is concrete evidence, no one should be declared dishonest and depraved,” Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said while heading a three-judge bench.

The court was hearing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Hanif Abbasi’s petition against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and General Secretary Jehangir Tareen for having offshore companies.

Akram Sheikh, representing the PML-N leader, said Niazi Services Limited (NSL) was owned by three companies. It was mandatory for Imran Khan to place all those documents regarding a flat and the NSL. He said Imran Khan will also have to explain the money trail to purchase 305-kanal Bani Gala property.

The chief justice asked the counsel if he meant that Imran Khan never declared the NSL in his wealth return under Wealth Tax Act, 1963, though the NSL was established in 1982 and he became income tax filer in 1983.

Akram Sheikh said the omission in the wealth return amounted to deliberate misconduct and misdeclaration which render Imran Khan guilty of disqualification for being non-honesty and non-sagacious.

Justice Atta Bandial observed that “your case is about the capital asset:. The chief justice noted that the income tax law did not envisage disqualification.

Akram Sheikh requested the court to summon the record of Imran Khan’s income tax and the wealth tax return statements from the Federal Board of Revenue as they were not providing that record to them. “I don’t have access to that record. It is a public record,” he said.

Meanwhile, the PML-N leader on Monday filed an application for summoning the record regarding the purchase of a land by Khan in Bani Gala. Akram Sheikh said that if the record was not summoned then he would be making a wild goose chase.

In the application, Hanif Abbasi has requested the court to direct Imran to provide the bank statements, from March 2002 to January 2003, of an account (9010327943) held with Citibank, Islamabad, in Rashid Ali Khan’s name; the bank statements of Jemima Khan accounts in the United Kingdom and remittance confirmations issued by Jemima Khan’s banks in the United Kingdom equivalent to $660,693 and the bank statements of Imran Khan of March 2003.

He also requested the court to summon, income tax and wealth tax returns of PTI chairman for the financial years 2001-2002 and 2002-2003. Bank statements of Imran Khan’s bank account in the UK from April 2003 to December 2003, or correspondingly deposit confirmation of the amount of $660,693 to the account or accounts of Jemima Khan in the United Kingdom; Khan’s income tax and wealth tax returns of financial years 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 and his wealth tax statements from 1983 to 2003 filed under the Wealth Tax Act, 1963.

The counsel contended that declaration of flat as his own property is also misdeclaration as it was in the name of NSL and for the purpose of amnesty scheme and to whiten his money it was declared.

He said Imran Khan created NSL in 1982. The company owned the flat which was sold in 2003. However, the offshore company was disposed of in September 2015. He questioned why the company was kept for 12 long years when it had no assets. Why Pound Sterling 350 and $1000 fee to a solicitor, as annual returns, were paid for 12 years. “One can presume the company has other assets, which were hidden from the public eyes,” he added.

The chief justice said: “We can’t go to the assumption and unless there is concrete evidence they can’t declare someone dishonest.” Upon that Akram Sheikh said this should be applied to other citizens as well.

Sheikh argued that the total price of the Bani Gala 305-kanal land was Rs43,700,000, while Rs6,500,000 was paid in advance and rest of the amount was paid in six instalments.

The court noted that according to the revenue record, Imran’s ex-wife Jemima Khan had gifted the land to him. However, Akram Sheikh said according to Jemima’s press statements she had not given a single penny to Imran.

The case is adjourned until Tuesday.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 09-May-2017 here.