ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq has rejected all four references seeking the disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other members of his family, holding that no question of disqualification had arisen.

But disqualification references filed against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and secretary general Jahangir Tareen have been forwarded to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad confirmed that the commission had received copies of all the references from the speaker.

In all, eight disqualification references were filed with the speaker; four against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, two against PTI chief Imran Khan and one each against PkMAP chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai and PTI’s Jahangir Tareen.

Apart from the four against the PM, one of the two references filed against Imran Khan and the one filed against Mehmood Khan Achakzai were rejected on grounds of “insufficient evidence”.

Sources said the forwarded references would be placed before the commission, which would take a decision in line with the law and Constitution.

All four references against the prime minister had sought his disqualification for concealment of assets, money laundering and being a beneficiary of offshore companies, established in the name of his children.

The reference against Imran Khan, forwarded to the ECP, mentioned Mr Khan’s offshore company and his properties abroad, his income, the fact that he had not disclosed an investment to the ECP and his alleged misstatements about his Bani Gala house.

It alleges that Mr Khan had purchased a flat in London through an offshore company in 1983 and did not disclose this fact until 2016.

Another allegation against him is about his sprawling Bani Gala residence, which he had declared to be a gift from his ex-wife. However, the record shows that he claimed to have purchased the land at a rate of Rs145,000 per kanal in 2011.

“Mr Khan gifted Rs6.5 million to his ex-wife Jemima Khan in the year 2001-02. She purchased 45 kanals of land at Mohra Noor, Islamabad with that amount. Later, she transferred that land to Mr Khan, who declared it a gift in his wealth statements filed with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). [This] establishes that the gift-back arrangement was made by Mr. Khan to launder his black money. Besides aforementioned 45 kanals, Ms. Jemima also purchased 255 kanals at Mohra Noor with an amount of Rs36.98 million.”

The reference also goes on to question the sources of income that he used to construct the palatial house, accuses him of concealing his investment in the Grand Hyatt on Constitution Avenue, Islamabad, in the declaration of assets for the year 2014, submitted to the ECP.

It also accused him of keeping the ownership of his London apartment at 165-Draycott Avenue a secret until a tax amnesty was announced by the government in the year 2000.

The reference against Jahangir Tareen, meanwhile, alleged that as a federal minister during the Musharraf regime, he had received a Rs101m loan from the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited in the name of Tandlianwala Sugar Mills, which was later written off in 2005. “Jahangir Tareen concealed facts while submitting his nomination papers for general elections in 2013 and by-elections in 2015,” the reference stated, claiming that he had hid his assets.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2016

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