The counsel for Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Thursday sought to respond to the questions asked by the Supreme Court regarding the transfer of funds for the purchase of his Bani Gala property.
The three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, resumed hearing PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi’s petition in which disqualification of Khan and PTI secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen had been sought over non-disclosure of assets, existence of offshore companies owned by Khan and Tareen as well as PTI being a foreign-aided party.
Khan's lawyer Naeem Bokhari told the court that PTI chief's former wife Jemima had gifted Rs6.5m to her then husband and the money was returned. The court asked that documents of bank transactions be provided to prove the same.
Bokhari presented a letter sent by Jemima via email before the bench, verifying that Khan had returned 562,000 pounds.
"You have not presented the arguments you are making today in any previous hearing," Chief Justice Nisar responded, adding that Bokhari had not disclosed before that Khan's ex-wife Jemima had given Rs6.5 million as a gift to him.
At this, the counsel said that monetary exchange between wife and husband does not qualify as a loan and "financial issues between the two are personal matters".
The chief justice then observed that the allegation against Khan is that he acquired the Bani Gala property through money laundering, which the PTI chief has denied.
"Where are the details regarding the transfer of the sum from Jemima’s account and the return of that sum from Imran Khan’s account?" Justice Nisar asked.
Bokhari said Jemima had received 562,000 pounds, to which Justice Umar Atta Bandial asked for documents proving the same.
The chief justice observed that Khan has so far provided money trail of only three payments, including those of $33,000, $270,000 and 20,000 pounds.
Documents showing money had travelled from the account of Niazi Services Limited (NSL), Khan's offshore company, to Jemima's account could fill the gaps in the money trail, Justice Nisar observed.
FBR, not ECP, can inquire about assets
Bokhari recalled that the court had also sought answers to two other questions in the last hearing: why Imran Khan had not declared before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) the presence of 75,000 British pounds in Barclays Private Bank and Trust Ltd; and if the funds had been transferred from one account to the other, why the bank statement of 2003 was not presented.
Bokhari argued that it was the job of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) — and not the ECP — to inquire about the income, assets and liabilities.
Chief Justice Nisar asked the counsel whether the 75,000 pounds did not constitute Khan's assets. Bokhari replied in negative.
"We reject the allegation that the money was remitted as a gift to evade tax," he said.
The ECP does not have the right to determine income, assets and expenditures, the counsel maintained. He regretted that Khan did not submit a clause-by-clause reply.
The hearing was adjourned until October 3 after Bokhari completed his arguments.