Foreign assets case: Supreme Court seeks report on inquiry against Aleema Khan

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The Supreme Court on Thursday, while hearing a suo motu case on foreign properties owned by Pakistani nationals, sought a report on the inquiry against Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sister, Aleema Khan, by December 13 and issued contempt of court notices to chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and a representative of the income tax department.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the suo motu case on foreign bank accounts and assets owned by Pakistani citizens.

As the hearing went under way today, the chief justice remarked, “We had ordered to look into 20 individuals who own properties in Dubai, but is an inquiry being conducted against others who brought foreign properties?”

The FBR chairman told the court, “We are forming special zones to look into Pakistanis who own properties in Dubai and special zones have been formed to deal with offshore accounts.” At this, the chief justice inquired, “Where is the special committee report?”

“What is the report regarding the 20 individuals who appeared before FBR and the board of revenue should inform us about its performance till now,” the top judge added.

The FBR member informed the court, “We have recommend further investigation into 14 of the 20 people.” Justice Nisar then asked, “Why has further inquiry been recommended against Waqar Ahmed?” However, the counsel said, “Waqar Ahmed appeared before FBR and was not summoned again.”

When the FBR member said that tracing assets is the job of field officers, the chief justice said, “It seems that FBR did not understand the court order. The court had formed a joint investigation team (JIT) which had to trace assets of 20 individuals.”

At this, the FBR member informed, “Naushad Ahmad declared seven properties and six before the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). An audit of his foreign assets is under way.” At this, the chief justice said, “The court did not ask you to conduct an audit.”

The court issued contempt of court notices to chairman and a member of FBR for non-compliance with court orders and ordered them to submit a reply within three days.

Justice Nisar further remarked, “You people want to prolong the case. FBR is prolonging the matter and also creating confusion.”

The top judge further questioned, “What happened in the Aleema Khan case?” At this, the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) sought time till Tuesday. “We will make a committee within three days and submit details in court,” the DG FIA said.

However, the chief justice said, “Why don’t we suspend the member operation. If FBR does not want to be respected then we won’t respect it. Does FBR want to save those who send money abroad?

Justice Nisar further questioned, “What inquiry has been conducted against Aleema Khan so far?” At this FBR operations member said, “We have asked the Lahore office to conduct an inquiry against her.”

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan then remarked, “We asked FBR to conduct an inquiry here not in Lahore. “

Turning to the operations member, Justice Nisar said, “What kind of a public officer are you? You people want to confuse the court. It seems that FBR is also involved.”

Expressing dissatisfaction over the performance of FBR and FIA’s special committee the bench observed, “Court orders were not implemented.”

Stating that “delay tactics are being used in the case”, Justice Nisar said, “FBR has even placed Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) efforts in a cold storage.”

The bench then directed that a report on the investigation against Aleema Khan be presented by December 13. Further, the court issued contempt of court notices against chairman and member of FBR and ordered them to submit a reply within three days.