ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Sunday expressed resentment at being compared to his arch-rival, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, saying “his case and my case are very different”.
“He is accused of money laundering, tax evasion, concealment of assets and forgery. I earned from abroad and brought all the money back to Pakistan, what exactly is the case against me?” he asked.
He also lashed out at press coverage of the reply he submitted to the Supreme Court, saying it was being portrayed as if he had failed to come up with a money trail.
“The people are being misled,” he claimed, saying that he had provided complete details of his banking transactions to the Supreme Court, as well as the money trails for his London flat and his Banigala property.
PTI chief says bringing foreign-earned money into Pakistan not a crime
On Saturday, Mr Khan’s counsel had told the Supreme Court that neither Worcestershire nor Sussex, for whom he played county cricket between 1971 and 1988, maintained salary records beyond 20 years.
The three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, will resume hearing the petition of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi, which seeks the disqualification of Mr Khan and PTI secretary general Jahangir Tareen, on July 25.
Following the press conference at Banigala, Mr Khan also tweeted his indignation at the comparison with PM Sharif. “Shameful to make fabricated comparisons between NS, who is guilty of money laundering, tax evasion & assets concealment, & myself,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
Flanked by his legal advisers, the cricketer-turned-politician told reporters he used to pay his taxes abroad and everybody knew that he owned a flat in London.
His ex-wife Jemima had sent full details of her bank accounts, showing transactions made to him in Pakistan, all of which had already been submitted to the Supreme Court, he said.
“Jemima also provided decades old banking records viz Bani Gala - all submitted before SC. Unlike Sharif clan my money trail is all there,” he tweeted later.
Brandishing the documents before reporters, the PTI chief said that he had played cricket for Sussex for 11 years and the county had issued him a certificate to this effect. The document states that during this time, tax was deducted from his salary at-source.
However, he said, the club did not have the record of the money it had paid him, adding that instead, he had submitted a copy of the contract between leg spinner Mushtaq Ahmed and Sussex.
“His (Mushtaq’s) contract says that he earned 70,000 pounds per year. The reason I presented Ahmed’s contract was to give the court an idea of how much I would have earned as a [renowned] all-rounder of my time,” he added.
Mr Khan also showed documents and a letter from Austin Robertson — a central figure in Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket — saying that he was among the cricketers signed between 1977 and 1979.
He said that other cricketers, including Zaheer Abbas, Asif Iqbal and Javed Miandad, were also signed by Packer. From his Twitter account, he lashed out at media outlets for comparing Mr Robertson’s letter to the Qatari royal’s communiqué in the Panamagate case.
The PTI chief maintained that even though he had never held public office, he was presenting himself for accountability as a “public figure”.
Responding to a question, Mr Khan criticised Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, who had accused the PTI chief of investing charity money abroad.
He challenged the minister to prove any wrongdoing or embezzlement in charity funds and asked him to take the matter to court, if he had any proof.
Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2017