SC dismisses Hanif Abbasi’s review petition for Imran Khan’s disqualification

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a review petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi seeking Prime Minister Imran Khan’s disqualification.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the PML-N leader’s review petition against the court’s decision.

The bench maintained that “no lawful point has been raised in the petition” that it be reviewed.

However, Advocate Akram Sheikh, the petitioner’s lawyer, said, “The court disregarded rights.”

The court then said, “As per Akram Sheikh, the court made mistakes in its last decision, however, we feel Abbasi’s petition does not carry weight and on this basis the petition is dismissed.”

As the hearing began, the petitioner’s lawyer stated, “Imran provided documents in pieces which were not verified and not acceptable.”

At this, the chief justice remarked, “The court decides whether it is satisfied with the documents that are submitted and we are satisfied with the ones we received.”

Advocate Sheikh, however, said, “If the court was advised then it would have clarified the law.” In response, Justice Nisar said, “We have clarified the law in our decision.”

Abbasi’s lawyer then said, “The court has the authority to review its decisions and the ambit is not limited in review petitions.”

Citing an example, Advocate Sheikh said, “A five-judge bench adopted a strict rule for former premier Nawaz Sharif and he was disqualified for hiding that he holds an Iqama.”

Justice Nisar then said, “The five-judge bench did not disqualify him for holding an Iqama, a three-judge bench did.”

“You want to search for the truth,” he added. To this, Advocate Sheikh said, “The court can review its previous decisions and even declared them null and void.”

After Abbasi’s lawyer concluded his arguments, the bench stated that the petition “did not raise any lawful point which should be reviewed”. The petition was then dismissed.

Review petition

Last month, the apex court had refused to form a full bench to hear Abbasi’s review petition against the Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss the disqualification case against PM Imran.

Abbasi, in his 13-page review petition, had demanded the disqualification of Imran over non-disclosure of his assets and ownership of offshore companies. The petition stated that now, since Imran has become the prime minister, the matter is more pertinent for the public.

Disqualification petition

The original petition, filed by Abbasi in November 2016, had sought Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen and Imran’s disqualification over non-disclosure of their assets and ownership of offshore companies. It accused the PTI leaders of not declaring their assets to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and violations of the lncome Tax Ordinance, 1979, and Peoples Act, 1974. It also claimed that the PTI is a ‘foreign-funded’ party.

In its December 15, 2017 ruling, the apex court had disqualified Tareen but ruled in favour of Imran.

The chief justice had cleared Imran in the case as the petitioner was not directly affected in the foreign funding case. The judgment stated that Imran wasn’t bound to declare his offshore company, declare his London flat in an amnesty scheme and that his former wife Jemima gave Imran the funds for buying the Bani Gala estate.

However, Tareen was disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) because of his blatant misstatement regarding the ownership of the Hyde House property and failure to declare it in his nomination papers.

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