A five-member bench of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), headed by the chief election commissioner, on Thursday dismissed disqualification references against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Imran Khan and Jehangir Tareen.
The references had been filed with National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq by PML-N lawmakers in August. Deeming the references valid, the speaker had forwarded them to the ECP in September.
"I am very satisfied with the ECP's decision," PTI spokesman Naeemul Haque said as he addressed media after the announcement.
"We want elections to remain clean and clear so that no party or individual has reasons to object," he added.
The reference against Imran Khan mentioned his offshore company and properties abroad, income, the fact that he had not disclosed an investment to the ECP and his alleged misstatements about his Bani Gala house.
It alleged that 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 was 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 the aforementioned 45 kanals, Ms Jemima also purchased 255 kanals at Mohra Noor with an amount of Rs36.98 million.”
The reference also went on to question the sources of income that he used to construct the palatial house, accusing him of concealing his investment in the Grand Hyatt Hotel on Constitution Avenue in the declaration of assets submitted to the ECP for the year 2014.
It also accused the PTI chief of keeping the ownership of his London apartment at 165-Draycott Avenue a secret until a tax amnesty scheme 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 Rs101 million loan from the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) in the name of Tandlianwala Sugar Mills, which was later written off in 2005.
“Jahangir Tareen concealed facts while submitting his nomination papers for the general elections in 2013 and by-elections in 2015,” the reference stated.