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Will Imran Khan get disqualified today?

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News Analysis |

The apex court of Pakistan will declare the much-awaited reserved-judgment in the disqualification case pitted against the Pakistan Tehrek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and its Secretary General Jahangir Khan Tareen.

According to the registrar’s office, Supreme Court will announce the twin-verdict result on Friday afternoon at 2 pm. The court of the Chief Justice had announced on November 14th that the verdict would be announced on October 18th. The case against Imran and Tareen was heard by the three-member bench, which included Justices Nisar, Faisal Arab, and Umar Ata Bandial.

The issue of misdeclaration in nomination papers has no grounds and does not prove Tareen dishonest. PTI’s general secretary is also facing the charge of insider trading.

The investigation into the corruption allegations after Panama revelations and the formation of JIT influenced the House of Nawaz to dismantle the collective effort of PTI to down Nawaz Clan and make a revenge attack on its leaders. Subsequently, Nawaz’s outspoken aide and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Hanif Abbasi was asked to file the petition against the disqualification of two PTI leaders on the backdrop of non-disclosure of assets and existence of their offshore companies, as well as receiving foreign funds for their party.

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Senior Supreme Court lawyer Naeem Bukhari was the defense lawyer for Imran Khan. He argued that there is a vast gulf between the facts surrounding the Sharifs and Imran’s case. Sikander Bashir Mohmand represented Tareen, while Akram Sheikh and Azid Nafees were arguing for PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi.

During the trial, media extensively reported on Khan’s inability to prove his innocence, despite the fact that Imran presented a significant number of documents. Surely the defense did make some U-turns on initial statements, but the nature of transactions and unavailability of documents that were later received from multiple sources in England boosted Khan’s credentials. Nevertheless, the impression was given of considerable discrepancies in Khan’s money trail, which left the judges perplexed in the context of his initial statements.

Despite the fact Sharif was disqualified on technical glitches, after failing to prove his innocence in front of JIT due to lack of evidence, Imran was apparently able to provide a plethora of evidence proving his innocence.

It’s ironic, how Pakistani media has brought Khan and Sharif’s cases at par. The two have nothing in common. Both are poles apart. In the latter’s case, money [hoarded with corruption] was allegedly laundered out of the country, but in the former’s case, it was money earned through legal means that was brought back to the country. Nawaz is naturally accountable after a stint as a former chief minister of Punjab and three-time Prime Minister (PM) of the country.

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Imran never held public office during the span of time probed in the case. Nevertheless, the impression was given as both the leaders in question were facing similar charges. Imran was more like a naïve client with a smart lawyer finding creative ways to save the earnings of high profile clients from being subjected to high taxes in Western countries.

The closed analogy between the two leaders was the offshore companies. However, there is a little difference in their alleged use. Imran used the offshore company to dodge the authorities in London to save tax payment on his foreign earned income. But, Nawaz allegedly had created these companies to facilitate the purchases of the properties through these companies using the corruption money laundered through illegal means. What Imran Khan did was morally wrong, but it was the use of a loophole in the capitalistic system in the west.

In the latter’s case, money [hoarded with corruption] was allegedly laundered out of the country, but in the former’s case, it was money earned through legal means that was brought back to the country.

But, Sharif’s actions were the opposite. He allegedly committed a punishable crime which if proven could result in ten-years in jail. Despite the fact Sharif was disqualified on technical glitches, after failing to prove his innocence in front of JIT due to lack of evidence, Imran was apparently able to provide a plethora of evidence proving his innocence.

Read more: Why exactly does Imran Khan want early polls?

Jahangir Tareen is accused of concealing the facts submitted in the general elections of 2013 and the by-elections of 2015. Primary emphasis has been on his 12-acre Hyde House bought for a staggering 2.1 million pounds. Tareen however, argued that the funds to purchase this property were a gift to his children and were lawfully transferred from the country.

Moreover, Tareen is accused of non-disclosure of agricultural land on lease. The difference is observed between the details submitted by the lawmaker in the election nomination papers and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). The defense lawyer was successful in making a point that there was no compulsion to show it in the nomination papers since the leased land was not his property.

The court of the Chief Justice had announced on November 14th that the verdict would be announced on October 18th. The case against Imran and Tareen was heard by the three-member bench

Despite earning the revenue on it, he declared the income from this leased land and paid taxes as per law. According to Sikander Bashir Mohmand, the issue of misdeclaration in nomination papers has no grounds and does not prove Tareen dishonest. PTI’s general secretary is also facing the charge of insider trading and deliberately inflicting the loss on others through his actions.

Despite the assurances of Tareen, gossipmongers believe he is more likely to get disqualified, as he was unable to convince the court.

Read more: Why is Imran Khan challenging the ECP?

Imran Khan has spoken on multiple occasions recently that he cannot be disqualified since there is no case of money laundering or corruption against him. On many occasions, post the reservation of judgment, he argued to quit politics, if disqualified.  Because, without moral authority, politics will become meaningless. 

Will Imran take a U-turn this time, if disqualified and he gets the opportunity to do so. We will find out today.