ISLAMABAD   -   The top court on Thursday dismissed the review petition of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) former general secretary Jahangir Khan Tareen, thereby retaining the lifetime bar on him to enter the parliament.

The top court also dismissed the application of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz’s leader Hanif Abbasi seeking constitution of full court bench to resolve the inconsistencies in interpretations laid down in disqualifications’ judgments of deposed Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Tareen.

The top court, however, adjourned the hearing of the main review petition filed by Abbasi against judgment, wherein the top court had declared Khan righteous and sagacious.

After the dismissal of his appeal, Tareen’s disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution to become member of the Parliament shall hold the field for lifetime.

“We find no case made out of the grounds of review petition,” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar ruled after which Tareen returned from the court premises with gloomy face and tearful eyes.

The other members of the bench which ruled dismissal of review were Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Faisal Arab.

Besides rejecting his review petition, the chief justice also hinted at assuming suo moto jurisdiction separately against Tareen’s wealth stashed abroad.

The bench also declined the request of Tareen, who was present in the court room, to address the court which left him in deep regret.

The silent Tareen, who will not be able to play the politics on front-line of PTI, slowly stepped back from rostrum and sat on his seat just behind the rostrum.

On December 15 of 2017, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar penned down the judgment disqualifying Tareen 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 ‘Hyde House’ in his nomination papers, and in making untrue statement before Court that he had no beneficial interest in Shiny View Limited (SVL), an offshore company.

The offshore company was established by Tareen which owned Hyde House but the actual, true, real and beneficial owner of the said property was Tareen.

Tareen had sent around more than 50 crore rupees at the exchange rate prevalent at that time and claimed that amount to have been utilized for the purposes of purchase and construction of Hyde House.

Ruling in Tareen case

The top court had ruled, “SVL or Hyde House was never transferred to any trust by the respondent, thus, it is his asset which he has failed to declare in his nomination papers filed on 9.9.2015 according to the mandate of the law to contest the by-elections from NA-154 Lodhran and, therefore, he is not honest in terms of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution read with Section 99(1)(f) of ROPA.

“Besides, in his concise statement the respondent (Tareen) in unequivocal, clear and unambiguous terms stated that he has no beneficial interest in the trust arrangement which holds the SVL and the Hyde House, however from the trust deed dated 5.5.2011, on which reliance has been placed by the respondent himself, he is the ‘discretionary lifetime beneficiary’ along with his spouse and, therefore, this is a blatant misstatement on the part of the respondent made before the highest judicial forum of the country which is not a trait of an honest person.

“Consequently, on both the counts mentioned above, the respondent is declared not to be an honest person in terms of the constitutional provisions and the provisions of ROPA, therefore, he ceases to be the member of the Parliament having incurred the disqualification.”

 Case proceedings

On Thursday, Sikandar Bashir Mohamand, counsel representing Tareen, appeared before the court and informed the bench that he had submitted some additional documents, regarding the trust deed, mentioning the particulars of trustees.

However, chief justice remarked that the case was being heard in the review jurisdiction wherein additional documents could not be submitted.

Chief justice questioned as to where were these documents earlier in main case despite multiple opportunities by the court to Tareen for producing them. He further remarked that Tareen had been hiding the documents even the undertaking was submitted in the last moments of proceedings.

The counsel responded that these documents were not in possession that moment. However, chief justice wondered how it was possible that the owner would not possess the documents. 

He further remarked that Tareen was the actual beneficiary and each and every instruction was given by Tareen from establishing the offshore company to hiring the contractor for constructing his Hyde House while the same was not disclosed in Pakistan. 

“We don’t accept it to be a valid trust deed,” observed chief justice adding, “everything erected upon the fraud and a public office holder transferred money abroad fraudulently,”

Chief justice further inquired the counsel as to how much amount the client had transferred abroad.

“A leader should not make such suspicious transactions. It is not behove of politicians like him to stash wealth abroad,” chief justice remarked further hinting at taking suo moto on transfer of wealth abroad. 

The counsel said that Rs 500million was mentioned in the judgment. Chief justice, while referring to the recent wave of steps for bringing back wealth to the country, asked as to what Tareen had so far decided regarding bringing back his wealth stashed abroad.

Justice Bandial remarked that implication for a private person holding offshore company was different but for holder of a public office it was an obligation to disclose.

The counsel for Tareen contended that neither his client had ever been the part of any document nor had he been the signatory of trust deed. 

He added that the offshore company Shiny View Limited (SVL) was not established by his client rather it was incorporated by an original trustee HSBC. He said that the trust arrangement was held under HSBC Bank which was then transferred to the EFG Trust Company.

Justice Bandial again dragged the counsel on Pakistani laws and remarked that Tareen was required to disclose his asset abroad under the Pakistani law but he had not done so. He further remarked that the case was decided under the law and there were precedent of likewise cases.

 Scope of disqualification clauses

Earlier when the hearing commenced, chief justice asked Akram Sheikh, counsel for Hanif Abbasi, to explain as to why the larger bench should be constituted.

Akram Sheikh cited the judgment on a petition seeking disqualification of Awami Muslim League (AML) Sheikh Rasheed and contended that a judge, who was in minority, had framed seven detailed questions suggesting constitution of a Full Court to settle the pertinent questions in matters relating to scope of Article 225, 184(3) and 62(1(f) in election disputes regarding disqualification of elected members of legislature.

“Should we dismiss your petition then,” chief justice told Sheikh referring to the petition filed by latter’s client for reviewing the judgment on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s disqualification case.

Sheikh while pointing the Panama Case Verdict responded that if one will be dismissed then all should also be dismissed adding that the justice should be dispensed equally. 

He further contended that the inconsistent judgments on the likewise matters had impact adding that the law should be one adding that the lack of clarity and presence of such unanswered questions in the public space was not warranted as it may have impact on the image of this ultimate court of justice and the citizens would not have the safety of knowing the consequences of an omission or an honest mistake or of a knowing mis-declaration in the nomination forms.

He also cited editorial of an English daily newspaper suggesting for constitution of full court bench.

“The court does not rely on newspapers while laying down its judgment,” chief justice remarked.  

The bench then ruled that the reasons in the instant application were not of the nature that larger bench should be constituted.

 

 

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