ISLAMABAD: A Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader from Rawalpindi filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday a petition seeking disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and its secretary general Jehangir Tareen for not disclosing before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) their assets and offshore companies as well as allegedly running the party through foreign aid.

Hanif Abbasi sought a court directive for the two PTI leaders to explain under which authority they were holding membership of the National Assembly.

Both should be disqualified from their constituencies as well as be declared ineligible to hold or retain any office of a registered political party as provided under the Political Parties Order 2002.

The petitioner through his counsel Akram Sheikh requested the apex court to declare the PTI a foreign-aided party and order investigation into alleged financial mis-declarations, misappropriation and tax evasion by Mr Khan and his party.

Mr Abbasi alleged that Imran Khan had violated the Income Tax Ordinance (ITO) 1979 by not declaring his offshore company — Niazi Services Limited (NSL) — in his statement of assets and liabilities submitted to the ECP while filing his nomination papers for contesting different general elections, including that of 2013.

He said that since its incorporation, the NSL had been regularly filing its annual returns and statement of annual share capital and shares as required under the applicable laws of Jersey, Channel Islands. The statement for the year 1988 had been submitted through the company’s directors Uzma Khan and Aleema Khan, sisters of the PTI chief, the petition alleged.

It said the NSL was alive till October last year, but Mr Khan failed to disclose his ownership interest in the company and later publicly admitted that he had incorporated the offshore company to avoid UK taxes. This fact was also admitted by him in a recent media talk at London’s Heathrow Airport.

The petition also alleged that in his declaration of assets for tax year 2014, Mr Khan had willfully concealed his investment of Rs2.97 million to purchase a luxury apartment at Constitution Avenue’s Grand Hyatt locality in Islamabad.

This was a clear violation of sections 12(2) (f) and 42A, read with section 82 of the Representation of the Peoples Act 1976, and, therefore, he was liable to be disqualified on this account alone, the petition said.

Likewise, it added, Mr Khan had misstated in statement of assets and liabilities that the NSL owned a flat No165, Draycott Avenue, London. The petition alleged that the PTI chief had purchased the Draycott flat in 1983 when he had negligible earnings and the flat remained undeclared until the Pakistan government announced an amnesty scheme in 2000. This established the fact that Mr Khan had purchased the flat with the money on which he had not discharged his tax liabilities accrued under the ITO for many years, it added.

In 2000-02, the petition alleged, Mr Khan had gifted an amount of Rs6.5m to his ex-wife Jemima Khan from which she had purchased a 45-kanal land in Mohra Noor, Banigala. Jemima Khan also purchased a 255-kanal in Mohra Noor for Rs36.9m. She later transferred the land to Mr Khan who declared it as a gift in his wealth statements filed with the Federal Board of Revenue. Such transaction established that the gift-back arrangement was utilised to launder his black money, the petition said.

It said that during her stay in Pakistan as a resident Jemima Khan also did not file her income tax returns. This shows that she had no taxable income at the time. In the light of the foregoing, Mr Khan was obliged to declare assets owned by Jemima Khan in his own wealth statements, but he failed to do so, violating the mandatory ITO provisions, the petition said.

It alleged that an amount of $2.99m had been transferred to the PTI-Pakistan from the PTI-USA from 2013 to 2015 but collected through prohibited sources like donations made by Barry C Schneps, Lab USA Inc, Freedom Line Ltd, IMGC Global LLC, Goldrock Holdings LLC and Prime Motor LLC.

These foreign agent companies were created allegedly for generating funds and remitted from the US to the PTI in violation of the Political Parties Order 2002 which allowed donations and contributions only from individuals, the petition said.

Similarly, it alleged, Jehangir Tareen had misstated his agricultural income for the tax year 2010-11 and willfully and fraudulently overstated the income to the FBR, contrary to what he had stated before the ECP. Likewise, the petition said, Mr Tareen got loans worth Rs49.8m written off from different banks.

Published in Dawn November 3rd, 2016