Pakistan court rejects bid to disqualify Imran Khan

Imran Khan can continue as Pakistan’s opposition leader as he did not conceal his overseas assets, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday dismissing a petition seeking his disqualification.

But one of Khan’s closest aides, Jahangir Tareen, was disqualified as lawmaker for not disclosing his off-shore company and for giving false statements to the court about his house in the UK.

The three-judge bench rejected a petition by PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi to disqualify Khan from office for failing to disclose his assets to election authorities.

The petitioner alleged that Khan created an offshore company in London to illegally transfer money to Pakistan from the proceeds related to the cricket he played in the 1980s in Britain and Australia. Khan used the money to build a palatial villa atop a mountain in Islamabad, the petitioner said.

Khan denied any wrongdoing and said the funds were a gift from his former British wife Jamima Khan.

The top court accepted his argument and dismissed Abbasi’s petition.

Khan is eyeing the prime minister’s post in elections scheduled for next year after the Supreme Court disqualified former premier Nawaz Sharif (of PML-N) in July.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has millions of supporters. But it fared badly in all elections it contested except the one in 2013.

Khan established his political party in 1996, four years after Pakistan cricket team won the world cup under his captaincy.

Critics allege Khan is hand in glove with the country’s powerful military and is covertly trying to undermine the civilian leaders. Khan denies these allegations.