A day after being disqualified by the Supreme Court, Jahangir Tareen on Saturday resigned as the general secretary of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
"I have resigned as SG [secretary general] of PTI. Will remain part of the struggle," said Tareen as he announced his resignation on Twitter. "Hoping to see Imran Khan as Pakistan’s next PM."
Calling the petition by PML-N's Hanif Abbasi "malicious", Tareen in his resignation said that the apex court disqualified him on "an interpretation of a legal term".
According to Tareen, the "standards of scrutiny" that the PTI leaders faced during the trial were "unprecedented".
Profile: Jahangir Tareen — one of Pakistan's wealthiest lawmakers
"It is disappointing that the country's highest tax paying Parliamentarian stands disqualified on a flimsy technical ground," added Tareen. "Since the highest coup of Pakistan has concluded that I am not qualified to continue as a member of [the] assembly, I bow my head in compliance of that order. I have spent all my life on principles and moral values and I feel that morally, it is not justified for me to continue as secretary general of PTI."
IK meets Tareen
PTI chief Imran Khan, who flew back to Islamabad from Karachi today, met Tareen on his return. Soon after the meeting, Tareen shared the news of his resignation. The PTI core committee is also expected to meet today. The resignation has yet to be accepted by the party chief.
Following Nawaz Sharif's disqualification by the SC in its landmark Panama Papers verdict, opposition parties — including the PTI — had raised objections to the former prime minister holding a position in the PML-N.
"Someone who is not sadiq [truthful] and ameen [honest] in the view of the apex court should not be eligible to hold party office," PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi had observed during a National Assembly session last month.
Tareen’s disqualification is also uncomfortably close in judicial reasoning to the ouster of the former prime minister. Effectively, a top PTI leader has been stripped of public office for almost the same reason the PTI used to argue Sharif had no right to hold public office.
Disqualified for life
The Supreme Court had handed down its much-awaited judgement in the petitions against Imran Khan and Jahangir Tareen on Friday.
While the petition against Khan was dismissed, the bench disqualified Tareen after finding him to be dishonest under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution and Section 99 of Representation of People Act (ROPA) on one count among the multiple charges brought against him.
Read: The charges against Khan and Tareen — and how the Supreme Court ruled on each
"The respondent [Tareen] is disqualified in terms of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution read with Section 99(1)(f) of ROPA for the non-declaration of his property/asset i.e. 'Hyde House' in his nomination papers, and in making untrue statement before this Court, that he has no beneficial interest in SVL [offshore company]; therefore, he should cease to hold the office as the member of the National Assembly with immediate effect," said the apex court's judgement.
Hours after the SC's decision, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) denotified the PTI leader from his NA-154 (Lodhran) seat.
Tareen, in a tweet on Friday, said that the court had disqualified him on a "mere interpretation of the trust deed". He was referring to a trust deed that names Tareen as a settler and was used to buy property in the UK.
Tareen went on to note that the apex court had rejected four of the allegations levelled against him by the PML-N leader, including misuse of authority to write off loans and insider trading.
The tweet also noted that the court had accepted the money trail provided by Tareen for his property in London and that it had rejected the allegation that he had mis-declared his agricultural income.