Land, whether owned or leased, has to be declared in election forms, SC tells Tareen’s lawyer
ISLAMABAD, Oct 11 (SABAH): Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday told the counsel representing Jahangir Khan Tareen that land ? whether owned or leased ? has to be declared in the election forms.
The chief justice was presiding over a three-member bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justice Umar Atta Bandial and Justice Faisal Arab, which was hearing a petition filed by PML-N leader Muhammad Hanif Abbasi.
The petition seeks the disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and the party’s Secretary General Jahangir Tareen over non-disclosure of assets, existence of offshore companies as well as the PTI being a foreign-aided party.
The debate in the court remained focused on the 18,566 acres of land which, according to Tareen’s lawyer in a previous hearing, was leased by his client in 2010. Tareen had earned around Rs1.6 billion agricultural income from the said land.
In his arguments, Advocate Sikander Bashir Mohmand said that Tareen had submitted his tax returns along with his nomination
papers, adding that the land owned by Tareen was declared on the election forms. However, he said, the election forms do not
contain a column for leased land.
Advocate Mohmand admitted before the court that Tareen had not mentioned in the election forms the 18,566 acres of leased land. He maintained, however, that no misinformation was given in the papers.
The chief justice then told the lawyer that the definition of landholding encompasses both owned and leased land. In response, the lawyer conceded that according to that definition of landholding, his client was obligated to declare his leased land in the forms.
“Will Jahangir Tareen be disqualified for not knowing the definition of landholding?” the lawyer asked.
Justice Bandial told the lawyer that the petition against his client alleges that Tareen did not declare the leased land and points out discrepancies in his income.
The lawyer said that the leased land had been declared on the tax returns which were submitted along with the nomination papers. “We are not concerned about tax,” the chief justice said. “We are looking to see if income was declared.”
The Supreme Court’s jurisdiction cannot be constrained. Even if a case is being heard somewhere else, the apex court cannot be restrained from examining it, chief justice said.
The chief justice was responding to Tareen’s counsel’s argument that the ongoing case will have an effect on a reference underway in the Lahore High Court against his client.
Justice Umar Ata Bandiyal remarked that they are conducting disqualification proceedings at the core of which is the issue of
misdeclarations in election nomination forms.
When Mohmand objected to the questions in the forms for the electoral nomination papers, the court said it will examine the form and see if the objections hold true.
However, the bench observed that regardless of the ‘objections’, all land holdings should have been mentioned in the form. The court adjourned further hearing of the case till today (Thursday).