Millennium Post

Imran Khan free of Panama-like suspicion: SC judge

Islamabad: Justice Faisal Arab, a member of a Supreme Court bench that exonerated the PTI Chairman, has said that Imran Khan did not incorporate offshore company Niazi Services Limited to park assets acquired through embezzlement, bribery or tax evasion to keep them hidden from the public eye.
Comparing the case of Khan with the so-called Panama Papers case in which Nawaz Sharif was disqualified as Prime Minister, Justice Arab said that Khan's case was that of acquisition of an asset from legitimate tax-paid income earned abroad and that too at a time when he was a non-resident Pakistani holding no public office, Dawn online reported.
"Therefore, Khan cannot be perceived with the same suspicion," Justice Arab said in a note.
Referring to the reliance by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi's counsel Muhammad Akram Sheikh on the Panama Papers case, Justice Arab said that in that case serious allegations of money laundering, corruption and possession of assets beyond known sources of income were made against Sharif.
But the sources of acquiring several assets were not satisfactorily explained by Sharif and his family members, the note said.
It said that non-disclosure of unspent salary income from Capital FZE, which had been accumulating for a period of time, was treated as concealment of asset in the Panama Papers case, whereas in the present case, the ownership of London flat was disclosed by Khan in his nomination form filed in 2002 general elections.
The apex court had rejected a petition seeking the disqualification of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's chief from Parliament in a foreign-funding case but ruled against his close aide and party's Secretary General Jahangir Khan Tareen on Friday.
The cricketer-turned-politician was facing allegations of hiding his assets, owning offshore company and running the party with the help of foreign funding.
Khan's aide Tareen was disqualified for life by the court in the same case. The case was launched last year on PML-N leader Abbasi's request against Khan and Tareen.
Reacting to the decision, PML-N leader and federal Minister Daniyal Aziz said that Tareen was made a scapegoat to save Khan.
"If the decision had been fair, Imran Khan and the PTI would not be around anymore," said Aziz.
In a tweet, Maryam Nawaz said the Friday's verdict by the top court proved that the verdict in the case of Nawaz Sharif was unjust.

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