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KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Friday termed the Supreme Court’s decision of dismissing petitions seeking his disqualification a victory of justice. But at the same time he regretted the disqualification of PTI secretary general Jahangir Tareen by the apex court.

Talking to reporters at Karachi airport before flying to Tando Muhammad Khan to address a public meeting, he said he had expressed gratitude to Allah on the judgement in his favour.

A set of petitions filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi last year sought disqualification of both Mr Khan and Mr Tareen for not disclosing their assets, owning offshore companies and running a foreign-funded party.

Mr Khan said his party would go for a review petition against the disqualification of Mr Tareen.

He claimed that the petitions were filed against him and Mr Tareen by a person who himself had been facing a drug pushing case. He said PML-N leaders had accused him and his Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital of being involved in financial irregularities. “All of their allegations had now fallen on their faces,” he added.

He alleged that ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif had plundered Rs300 billion of the poor nation which he had transferred abroad through money laundering. Mr Sharif would be made accountable for it, he added.

PTI secretary general says SC disqualified him on ‘mere interpretation of the trust deed’

Mr Khan said corruption and nepotism of the rulers had pushed the country to the verge of devastation.

He said he had earned money only through legal sources and that was the reason that he had submitted all accounts of his wealth and money trails of all transactions to the court.

On the contrary, he said, in the Panama Papers case Mr Sharif instead of summiting money trails, presented a “Qatari letter” in a bid to cover up his corruption.

Commenting on the apex court’s decision against Mr Tareen, the PTI chief said: “We have all regards for every order of the court, however, we would file review petition against his disqualification”.

Mr Khan said he had full confidence that Mr Tareen was not involved in corruption. When morality eroded from a society thieves and plunderers were compared with honest and trust worthy people which was not appropriate, he added.

Addressing a public meeting in Tando Muhammad Khan later in the day, the PTI chief alleged that a weak prosecution by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was reason behind the Supreme Court’s decision of rejecting the bureau’s appeal for reopening the Hudaibya Paper Mills reference against the Sharifs.

He accused NAB former chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry of deliberately preparing a weak appeal in order to protect the Sharifs.

Mr Khan accused the Sharifs of inducting their people in the country’s institutions who protected them in covering their corruption.

Tareen’s tweets

After the announcement of the court’s decision, Mr Tareen took to social media network Twitter, saying that he was “proud” that the court had “thrown out” allegations of financial wrongdoing against him and disqualified him on “mere interpretation of the trust deed”.

In a tweet, he said: “I worked sincerely with all my strength for the betterment of PTI and Pakistan. I am proud that all allegations of financial wrongdoing were thrown out. I will continue to stand tall and keep working for a Naya Pakistan.”

In an earlier tweet, he wrote: “Accusations Rejected by SC

1) Misuse of authority, loan writeoff

2) Insider Trading

3) Misdeclared Agri income

4) London Property Full money trail accepted not hidden, declared in children’s assets since 2011.

And SC disqualifies me on mere interpretation of the trust deed???”

In Islamabad, PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry hailed the apex court’s decision in the case against Mr Khan, but raised objections over the disqualification of Mr Tareen.

Talking to reporters outside the Supreme Court on Friday, he termed the decision a “doctrine of balance”.

“It is a general impression that the verdict was politically balanced,” he added.

He said Mr Tareen was disqualified on basis of “doctrine of balance”. The PTI would challenge the verdict against Mr Tareen within 30 days, he added.

The PTI spokesperson said all allegations of corruption, tax evasion and money laundering against Mr Khan had been set aside by the apex court.

In Lahore, PTI secretary information Shafqat Mahmood claimed that Mr Tareen had “clean money” and that he was the biggest tax payer in the country. He said the PTI’s core committee would meet on Saturday and decide about the review petition against Mr Tareen’s disqualification.

Flanked by Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly Mian Mahmoodur Rashid, Mr Mahmood was addressing a press conference after announcement of the apex court’s decision.

He said the court’s decision would put Mr Tareen at par with Nawaz Sharif, which is regrettable. “We are only giving our views on the SC’s decision: neither contesting it nor trying to make it controversial. The party is studying it and would determine its future course of action once all legal dimensions are properly studied,” he said.

Commenting on the court’s decision on petitions against Mr Khan, he said the party was sure that he would not be disqualified.

Mr Rashid claimed that the NAB’s appeal for reopening the Hudaibya Papers Mills reference was rejected by the apex court only because of its weak presentation by the bureau.

Mohammad Hussain Khan in Tando Muhammad Khan, Syed Irfan Raza in Islamabad and our staff reporter in Lahore also contributed to this story

Published in Dawn, December 16th, 2017