ISLAMABAD: Justice Faisal Arab, who was a member of the three-judge Supreme Court bench that exonerated the PTI chairman on Friday, compared the case of Imran Khan with that of the Panama Papers case in which Nawaz Sharif was disqualified as prime minister, observing in his additional note that Imran Khan did not incorporate offshore company Niazi Services Limited (NSL) to park assets acquired through embezzlement, bribery or tax evasion to keep them hidden from the public eye.
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, he remarked.
“Therefore, [Imran] Khan cannot be perceived with the same suspicion,” the note said, adding that usually, those who came to power with the intention of indulging in financial corruption would always want offshore companies to remain operational in order to secretively park their ill-gotten wealth, reported a local English daily.
Justice Arab, while referring to the reliance by PMN-N leader Hanif Abbasi’s counsel Muhammad Akram Sheikh on the Panama Papers case, recalled that in that case, serious allegations of money laundering, corruption, and possession of assets beyond known sources of income were made against Nawaz Sharif.
But Sharif and his family failed to satisfy the court regarding the sources of acquiring several assets, the note added.
Justice Arab observed that honesty of a person prior to his becoming a lawmaker could only be called in question if he had accumulated wealth through fraud, embezzlement, bribery or tax evasion and had been so declared by a competent court of law.
Further comparing the two cases, Justice Arab observed that “this is the difference in attributing dishonesty with regard to an omission to disclose an asset acquired before and after becoming a member of the national or a provincial assembly.”