Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, in a statement submitted before the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, has clarified that his London flat was not mentioned in his tax returns but was declared through a tax amnesty scheme in 2000 and subsequently appeared in his election nomination papers for 2002.
The court was hearing arguments on a petition that seeks Imran Khan's disqualification on allegations that he owned offshore companies and committed tax theft. The petition was submitted by the PML-N's Hanif Abbasi, who has additionally alleged that Imran and PTI senior leader Jahangir Tareen acquired funds through prohibited and illegal sources.
Naeem Bokhari, representing Imran, told the court that to his client's knowledge, foreign income was non-taxable in Pakistan, which is why taxes were not paid on his flat. Imran had declared the said property via a tax amnesty scheme, which meant that it did not need to be declared in yearly tax returns, he claimed. The property was later declared in 2002 in election documents, Bokhari added.
Details of Imran's possession of London flat according to Naeem Bokhari
- 1983: Imran Khan makes first payment for flat in London
- 1983 - 2003: Ownership of flat not declared in tax returns
- 2000: Imran declares ownership of flat through tax amnesty scheme
- 2002: Flat mentioned in 2002 election nomination papers
- 2003: Flat sold
Regarding the money trail of Imran's Bani Gala property, the lawyer presented the PTI chief's cousin, Rashid Khan, as a witness. Rashid testified that he had received money from Imran's ex-wife, Jemima Goldsmith, which was used to buy the property in Bani Gala.
Clarifying his stance on the court's request, Bokhari stated that the money for the Bani Gala property was transferred by Jemima to Rashid Khan, and later paid back to Jemima by Imran.
The court also questioned whether the PTI chief had enough money to buy the flat in London. Bokhari submitted that Imran had played for Worcestershire and Sussex in England, while he was also associated with New South Wales and played the Kerry Packer World Cricket Series in Australia. Justice Umar Atta Bandial pointed out that the banking transactions only show two payments from Sussex — not a continuous flow of income.
Bokhari conceded that some payment records for county cricket played by Imran were unavailable, but said that most have now been found and submitted. Imran Khan's tax records will also prove that he was not involved in tax evasion, maintained Bokhari.
Pointing out that the petitioner had not questioned Imran's funds for buying the London flat, Bokhari said that the issues in court were regarding non-declaration of Niazi Services, tax evasion and unduly benefiting from tax amnesty schemes.
Justice Azmat Saeed had remarked in the Panamagate case that Article 62(1)(f) cannot be used as a political tool to disqualify someone, Bokhari reminded the court after Justice Bandial led the discussion on implementation of Article 62 of the Constitution.
Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution deals with the eligibility of a member of parliament, requiring the members to be "sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and ameen."
Abbasi's counsel Akram Shaikh, in his arguments, alleged that the documents submitted by Bokhari were forged, to which Bokhari responded that while he was not sure whether the banks which handled the transactions were still operative, he would ensure that he would provide a legitimate record.
The chief justice then asked Bokhari how he had acquired the documents if the banks in question had discontinued operations and what the procedure to authenticate them would be. Bokhari submitted that he had acquired the details through Khan's former accountant and assured the court that he would make all efforts to ensure certified documents were made available to the court.
The court adjourned the hearing of the case until July 31, ordering Bokhari to submit all necessary documents tomorrow (Wednesday). The SC will also hear the petition against Jehangir Tareen on Wednesday.