Imran’s paternity of Tyrian will have to be proven in civil court before invoking Article 62: IHC’s Justice Kayani
Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani on Monday observed that prior to invoking Article 62 of the Constitution against PTI chief Imran Khan, his paternity of Tyrian White — his purported daughter — will have to be established in a civil court first.
The judge made the observation today when a three-judge bench comprising him, IHC Chief Justice (CJ) Aamer Farooq and Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir heard a petition seeking Imran’s disqualification for not mentioning his alleged daughter Tyrian Jade White in his nomination papers for the 2018 general elections.
Last year, Sajid Mehmood had filed a petition in the IHC claiming that although Imran made arrangements for White’s upkeep in the United Kingdom, he did not disclose it in nomination papers and affidavits filed by him for contesting elections.
“I have said this before as well that whoever wants to prove Imran Khan’s paternity should go to the civil court,” Justice Kayani said. “Once this has been proven, then Article 62 can be invoked,” he added.
Justice Kayani remarked that even if the girl had herself claimed that Imran was her father, that statement “won’t be binding” on the PTI chairman.
The court raised a number of questions, directing the petitioner’s counsel to prepare his arguments till the next hearing.
At the hearing’s outset, Justice Farooq asked if the petitioner’s counsel had completed his arguments, to which Advocate Hamid Ali Shah said he had not even begun.
“I will present my arguments on five points each,” he said. “I have just presented my arguments on one point so far.”
CJ Farooq inquired if the Election Commission of Pakistan had so far presented any findings on Imran’s affidavit to the commission, to which Advocate Shah replied in the negative.
The chief justice told Imran’s lawyer that the matter can be resolved within two minutes. “The petition will be disposed of even if you accept or deny it”.
“If you deny it, their petition will be disposed of right now,” he said, highlighting that someone else would bring the matter again to court in the next elections.
CJ Farooq urged Imran’s lawyer to end the matter with a simple “yes or no”.
As the hearing continued, Justice Kayani remarked that “anyone can be the guardian of anyone”.
Meanwhile, the IHC chief justice asked the petitioner if any suit or any other documentation pertaining to the matter was submitted in any foreign court.
“Have you challenged the documents they are presenting before the court?” he asked Imran’s lawyer, who replied that he had no such information.
“This case is very simple. You have to convince the court regarding the parents,” Justice Kayani told Advocate Shah. “You say that he (Imran) is the father but he doesn’t agree that he is the father”.
The IHC chief justice said it was “unfortunate” that someone’s private life matter came into the public.
The court said that if Imran’s lawyer were to take a clear position in the case, the petition would be disposed of.
The petitioner’s counsel contended before the court that Imran submitted the affidavit as White’s father. At this, Justice Kayani remarked that the document was “related to guardianship and not paternity”, adding that “you can be a guardian of anyone.”
He further asked if there was any court declaration stating Imran as Tyrian’s father. At this, the PTI chief’s lawyer replied: “A US court’s declaration is available which states that Imran Khan is Tyrian’s father”.
The petitioner’s counsel said a US court had pronounced the verdict declaring Tyrian as Imran’s daughter. At this, Justice Kayani said: “Did you present a US court’s uncertified and unattested decision in court?”
The chief justice then intervened, asking “did Imran Khan challenge these documents in any court?”, adding that “the case will be over right now if Imran Khan challenged the documents in any court.”
At this point, a copy of Imran’s affidavit in the Tyrian case was presented. “The copy is not certified,” the petitioner’s lawyer said.
Justice Kayani again pointed out that the affidavit mentioned guardianship. “This affidavit doesn’t mention anything about [Imran being] the father.”
Justice Kayani remarked that “the petitioner has to show in clear words the parentage of Tyrian.”
At this, the petitioner’s counsel said Imran and his ex-wife Jemima Khan had agreed to sponsor White. “Why didn’t any third party agree to sponsor Tyrian? Imran Khan was Tyrian’s father and Jemima her sponsor.”
“You are saying that he is the father,” Justice Kayani said. “The father is not saying this.”
The judge further said the California court’s decision was an ex-parte action. “This was not a final decision. You have to show Imran Khan’s confession in clear words”.
“Show us where Imran has confessed to being Tyrian’s father. You are saying that he is the father of Tyrian but he doesn’t accept that,” Justice Kayani said. “Now you have to show from records that Imran is the father of Tyrian”.
Further on in the hearing, the IHC chief justice asked what will happen if Imran denies being White’s father. At this, the petitioner’s lawyer said the PTI chairman had not yet denied being the father.
“There is no clear evidence of Imran being the girl’s father,” Justice Kayani said.
CJ Farooq also asked if a copy of the petition submitted in the California court was available. Justice Kayani said no documentation was available that would clear the minds of judges.
When Advocate Shah asked the court to summon the record from the US court, the IHC chief justice said “how can we direct” a foreign court to provide them documentation?
Justice Kayani said many people were guardians of another child in Pakistan but they were not their fathers. “If that girl is spending her life with her guardian and they don’t have any problem then what problem does the third party have?”
The judge said that the paternity test was also not on record. “At this moment there is no evidence available”.
At this, the petitioner’s lawyer said when the matter of the test arose, Imran took a step back from legal proceedings. To which Justice Kayani said, “Does taking a step back from legal proceedings mean that he is the father of the girl?”
The hearing was adjourned till March 20 and the petitioner’s counsel was instructed to prepare and present arguments at the next hearing.
Sajid Mahmood, the petitioner, had alleged that the PTI chairman did not marry Sita White because her “racist father categorically told the respondent (Imran) that if he married Sita, they would not get a penny of his money”.
“Only thereafter, he met Jemima, another rich lady, and in a very short time married her.”
The petition, titled “Imran versus Imran — the untold story”, recalled the circumstances in which the custody of Tyrian Jade was given to Jemima.
It stated that Ana-Lusia White, in her will of Feb 27, 2004, had nominated Jemima Khan as guardian of her daughter Tyrian Jade Khan-White. Sita White died that year on May 13.
The petition went on to state: “Jemima Goldsmith had been the spouse of Imran Khan (1995-2004).
“The concealed facts stood confirmed by a judgement of paternity rendered by a superior court in California in favour of Sita White where it was held that the respondent (Imran Khan) was the father of Tyrian Jade.”
Imran Khan initially joined the proceedings through his attorney, but defaulted after he was asked to undergo a blood test, it added.
However, he later submitted a declaration to a court of guardianship when Caroline White, Sita’s sister, asked the court that she be appointed Tyrian’s guardian, the petition alleged.
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