Pakistan’s top court upholds Jahangir Tareen’s disqualification from public office

Pakistan’s top court upholds Jahangir Tareen’s disqualification from public office
Jahangir Khan Tareen. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 27 September 2018

Pakistan’s top court upholds Jahangir Tareen’s disqualification from public office

Pakistan’s top court upholds Jahangir Tareen’s disqualification from public office
  • Tareen was disqualified last December for tax evasion and concealing offshore assets
  • The apex court also rejected PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi’s petition for a full court to hear his case against Prime Minister Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top court on Thursday rejected a petition by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader, Jahangir Khan Tareen, against his lifetime disqualification from public office.

Tareen was disqualified last December by the Supreme Court after Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) politician, Hanif Abbasi, moved a petition against him for concealing offshore assets.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, said there was no legal grounds for a review of Tareen’s disqualification. Tareen’s lawyer, Sikandar Basheer Mohmand presented some documents to prove his offshore assets, but the court did not accept them. “Where were these papers before?” the chief justice asked.
“These offshore companies were not made by angels: They were made by Jahangir Tareen,” he said. “If the London house is yours, why were its records with a trust?”
Addressing Tareen’s lawyer, the top judge said: “Your client is a national level leader. Has he ever thought about bringing his money back to Pakistan?“
The court said that the federal government had started a move to repatriate wealth stashed abroad and Tareen should also consider bringing his money back to Pakistan.
In the review petition against his disqualification, Tareen had informed the court that he could not present legal instruments and specific documents regarding his trust, Shiny View Limited, an offshore company that held a legal title for the 12-acre property, known as Hyde House.
“My understanding and knowledge of the trust arrangement, its legal aspect and components and its legal effect was that of a layperson gathered from my interaction with my professional advisers and the trustees,” Tareen said in the review petition.
The PTI leader was disqualified on the same provision under which ex-premier, Nawaz Sharif, was held ineligible to hold public office for life in the Panama Papers case in July last year.
Earlier, the apex court rejected a plea from PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi for a full bench to review a case against Prime Minister Imran Khan, and to disqualify him for not being honest and righteous.
The chief justice. asked Abbasi’s lawyer, Akram Sheikh: “On what grounds do you want the full court to hear this petition?” 
Sheikh noted that the court had earlier said Khan’s disqualification case did not have “strict liability” but the apex court’s Panama bench had declared Nawaz Sharif unfit to hold public office in a case that was similar in nature.
In his 13-page review petition, Abbasi had demanded Khan’s disqualification over the non-disclosure of his assets and ownership of offshore companies. The petition said that since Khan had become Pakistan’s prime minister, the matter had acquired greater public significance.
Last December Supreme Court had ruled that Khan was not bound to declare his offshore company and his former wife, Jemima Goldsmith, had given him the funds to buy land for his house in Bani Gala, Islamabad.