ISLAMABAD -  The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on an application seeking a declaration of his (Imran) and his former wife Jemima Khan’s bank accounts of the year 2002-03 and the details about Niazi Services Limited.

When a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar resumed hearing on a petition of PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi against the PTI chief and General Secretary Jehangir Khan for having offshore companies, Abbasi’s counsel Akram Sheikh argued that he (Imran) should be disqualified on the basis of the material evidence produced before the court.

Naeem Bukhari, the PTI chief’s counsel, said he would file all documents along with an affidavit of his client by Friday.

The chief justice said Article 199 of Constitution has its own jurisdiction while Article 184 was its extension. He said Article 199 has trapping and limitation which do not apply in Article 184. He said in the Jamal Shah case, passed in 1962, and the Pervaiz Elahi versus Manzoor Wattoo case, the Supreme Court has declared that they can record evidence and also summon witnesses. “If someone says that the apex court has no such jurisdiction then it’s wrong,” the chief justice said.

The judge said it was not right to draw a conclusion to disqualify an elected member under Article 62 of Constitution, adding they could not disqualify anyone on the basis of the available record.

When Sheikh argued that the PTI chief should be disqualified on the basis of the material produced before the court, Justice Atta Bandial observed that though he (Sheikh) referred to many judgments of the apex court, he did not mention the recent judgment of the apex court. The judge asked whether he was relying on the minority judgment in the Panama case to outrightly disqualify a parliamentarian.

The judge said: “The minority judgment [in Panama leaks case] considered whatever the material furnished before the court in the form of speeches in the National Assembly, the PM and his family members’ interviews and the talk-shows sufficient to pass declaration.” “Should this principle be applied in this case? he asked.

Sheikh did not reply but said the minority judgment gave a declaration, but the majority judgment did not say that they could not hear the case but they had set nine questions regarding the properties of the PM and his family abroad and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was constituted to probe the allegations. The majority judgment also said that after the finding of the JIT they would decide the case.

Sheikh argued whatever the standard had been set in that case (Imran Khan’s petition against the PM and his family) should be applied in this case too.

He said: “There is a sitting prime minister [Nawaz Sharif] and the other is prime minister-in-waiting [Imran Khan]”. Justice Bandial questioned do you accept it? He is an MNA. Sheikh did not respond.

The judge questioned: “Whether the proceedings against an ordinary MNA could be equated with the proceedings against a prime minister?”

Sheikh said when there was the same nature of allegations the court should not have discriminated. He said his client filed this case in November 2016, but the court told him they would see it, later on, adding the pith and substance, the common feature was same in the petitions of his client and Imran Khan.

“The issue is of sagacity, honest, and integrity in both the cases but the two judges relying on the material available passed declaration against the prime minister,” he argued asking the chief justice if investigations were required in this case too, then it should also be fixed before a five-member bench.

"Should the court say that that was the case of the prime minister and it is the case of an ordinary citizen. The cases are filed before the court for justice,” Sheikh said. He said Imran Khan was not an ordinary MNA but ahead of a party and under Article 63A has the power to show the door to any MNA of his party who is found of defection. He [Imran] has paralysed the court for a month, the counsel added.

He said that the court should not discriminate among applicants as the judges decide the cases on the basis of facts and law. The PML-N leader’s counsel argued that Imran is a leader, who has to give direction to the nation, and questioned whether the apex court would allow giving leadership to such people.

About PTI foreign funding: Akram Sheikh contended that in the present case the PTI chairman has accepted five times that he was aware of the definition of foreign funding under section 2(c) and 6(c) of the Political Parties Order 2002.

Justice Faisal Arab asked who was locus standi in this regard, whether an individual or the federation. The court said the federal government could ban a party if it receives foreign funding.

However, Sheikh contended that ultimately it was the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to ban such party, and the federation only has the power to confiscate the funds of such a party. He said Imran, being the head of the party, has given a certificate that the PTI is not receiving foreign funds from prohibited sources.

The court questioned when it was required that a party was receiving funds from prohibited sources how would it ban it? How could the court usurp the power of another forum?, the chief justice asked.

Sheikh contended that the apex court has jurisdiction in this regarding under Article 17 of Constitution.

The chief justice said: “I am not able to comprehend as the Article 17(3) says every political party shall account for the source of its funds in accordance with law.” He asked under the law who would determine that the party is receiving funds from prohibited sources.

“A certificate could not be termed false unless it is proven that the funds were received from the prohibited sources. Who will determine this question,” the chief justice asked?

Earlier, Akram Sheikh said the Bani Gala property was parked in the name of Jemima Khan to stop the questions of mischief, put to him (Imran). He said it was a sham transaction and also not a benamidar. The divorce between Imran and Jemima took place in 2004. He said that the transfer deed of 95-kanal Bani Gala land was made in 2005, and at the time, Imran had already sold the London flat. He said Imran has committed a cheating not only with the people of Pakistan but also with the tax authorities.

Justice Umar Atta Bandial said: “We would not accept this argument for the disqualification under Article 62 of Constitution.” The chief justice questioned as to whether such kind of transaction would fall under Article 62.

Akram Sheikh said the story of mistreatment, concealment by Imran Khan continues. In his 2002 nomination papers the PTI chief in the column of assets mentioned Rs67 lacs paid advance for the land of Bani Gali, he said adding till that time three mutations in the name of Jemima were made but in the column of liability it was not mentioned.

The counsel referred to the apex court judgments to prove that disclosure of liability was more important than assets. He said there was a contradiction between the speech Imran made in National Assembly on May 18, 2016, and speeches he makes in public meetings.