Political parties legally bound to disclose funding sources, observes SC
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the hearing of a petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) seeking disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan from the membership of the National Assembly, ARY News reported.
Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, who headed the three-judge bench, observed that political parties are legally bound to disclose the sources of their funding. He added parties are further required to explain whether the funding was received from legal sources and can be subjected to accountability and scrutiny by the ECP.
However, Anwar Mansoor Khan, the counsel for PTI chairman, contended that the Election Commission of Pakistan had no powers to conduct scrutiny of political parties’ funds after the amendment in the Political Parties Act 2002 which stripped the commission of its powers to look into funding of political parties.
Advocate Akram Shaikh, who is representing the PML-N, will forward his arguments in the case on next hearing.
Abbasi moved the court seeking disqualification of Imran Khan and PTI secretary general Jahangir Tareen for not disclosing assets, existence of their offshore companies and receiving funds from prohibited sources.
During previous hearing, PTI counsel Naeem Bukhari put forward his augments on whether non-disclosure of foreign assets by his client constituted any offence making a case for his disqualification under the Article 62 of the Constitution.
Bukhari contended that non-declaration of foreign assets by his client did not constitute any clear breach of any law, thus he could not be disqualified on that ground. Khan’s Draycott Avenue flat in London was acquired in 1984 and he disclosed its ownership in 2000 to benefit from a tax amnesty scheme, he added.
The judges observed that as the beneficial owner of the flat, he was supposed to declare it in his tax returns and nomination papers submitted with ECP. By not disclosing the ownership of the flat to the ECP, Khan had rendered him self dishonest, which fell under the scope of Article 62, observed the chief justice.
Earlier, Bukhari had submitted banking transaction showing how London flat was acquired with the money earned while he played professional cricket in London and Australia.
He admitted that some record of his earnings from cricket couldn’t be produced since county cricket clubs do not keep the record older than 20 years.
Khan said he played county cricket from 1971 to 1988 for New South Wales, Worcestershire and Sussex and used the earned money to buy the flat.
He said he initially paid 61,000 pounds as first installment in 1984 and paid the rest sum of 117,500 pounds later in 1989. He said that he earned $75,000 by playing for Kerry Packer Series and $50,000 by playing for New South Wales.