ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned hearing of a case regarding offshore companies of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) General Secretary Jehangir Tareen till Wednesday.
A three-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Faisal Arab heard the case filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi seeking disqualification of Jehangir Tareen for concealing assets before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), ownership of his offshore company.
During the course of proceedings, Sikandar Mohmand, counsel for Jahangir Tareen, informed the court that his client, who had been an agriculturist since1978, could not submit the lease record of 18,500 acres of land due to shortage of time. The land was acquired by his client on lease in 2010.
Tareen grew sugar-cane, mangoes, and cotton on his farms and then set up a sugar mill in 2002. He told the court he had established 86 farms on the 18,500 acre land within the radius of 150 kilometer in Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur and Sadiqabad districts.
The chief justice observed that the court wanted to see the land record of the revenue department first as the lease agreement presented in the court had not importance at the time. He remarked, "You (lawyer) are relying on cross-cheques and not presenting the actual record".
He (Sikandar) could face problems if the court made an observation on the cross-cheques, he added. Sikandar told the court that only the name of the landowner appeared in the revenue records and not the name of the person farming the land.
The counsel pleaded the court that his client could not be disqualified in relation to the matter pertaining to the payment of agricultural tax as no system of checking agricultural income exited in Punjab. Jahangir Tareen could not be held accountable for flaws in the system, he added.
The chief justice remarked that everyone knew that in Punjab, tax had to be paid on agricultural income. Justice Umar Ata Bandial asked the lawyer why Tareen had sold a 200-acre piece of land when it was generating profit. The court summoned the relevant record from the land revenue authority.
PTI chairman's counsel, Naeem Bokhari, admitted before the court that £99,000 that were left in the bank account of Niazi Services Ltd - Imran's off-shore company - after repayment of loans to Jemima Khan did not belong to his client.
"We could not get the entire record of Niazi Services Ltd," the lawyer told the bench as he submitted additional documents before the court. The court issued a notice to Akram Sheikh, the lawyer representing the petitioner, to respond to the additional documents presented by Bokhari.