As the Supreme Court on Monday took up Imran Khan’s revised statement ─ which seeks amendments to his earlier pleadings ─ the counsel representing PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi once again objected to the submission of the statement, arguing that the court had closed the hearings of the case.
“Once the case has been closed, further documents cannot be submitted before the court,” advocate Akram Sheikh argued.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court ─ headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Atta Bandial and Justice Faisal Arab ─ has been hearing a petition filed by Abbasi which seeks the disqualification of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief and the party’s Secretary General Jahangir Tareen for not disclosing their assets and owning offshore companies. In a previous hearing of the case, the bench had closed the hearings without reserving the verdict.
Last week, Imran, through his counsel, Naeem Bokhari, had submitted a revised concise statement before the apex court. In a rejoinder to the statement submitted to the court on Friday, Sheikh had argued that the PTI chief was “abusing the court process through his statement”.
The prosecution said that in the statement, the PTI chief was adopting “shifting stances”. The rejoinder went on to highlight contradictions in the PTI chief’s statements.
In another rejoinder submitted on Saturday, the prosecution had said that Imran believed that matters of veracity and integrity were like a cricket ball that could be swung in any direction of his choice, including a U-turn.
Whether Imran had changed his stance in the statement or provided clarification sought by the court on different aspects of the case became the focal point of Monday’s hearing.
Bokhari argued that his client had provided answers to questions raised by the court, dismissing allegations of a “U-turn” by his client in his revised statement.
Advocate Sheikh said that he had requested the court to reserve the verdict earlier as the hearing had ended for the parties involved. He added that the court could ask questions if they arose but objected to the filing of additional documents.
“Imran Khan has submitted seven written responses to the court; this [the revised statement] in which he has sought a change in his position is the eighth,” advocate Sheikh said.
The chief justice told the lawyer that the court had left the case open for itself and had asked advocate Bokhari for additional documents.
“Imran Khan’s request to change his stance amounts to contempt,” Sheikh maintained. “Imran Khan’s statements do not match.”
The chief justice told the lawyer to present the inconsistencies before the court. The lawyer responded that he would submit a written reply and was allowed one week to do so.
The hearing was adjourned until tomorrow when the apex court will take up the petition against Tareen.