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December 2, 2018

Dubai flat: Aleema didn’t benefit from amnesty scheme, FBR tells SC

Top Story

December 2, 2018

LAHORE: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Saturday informed the Supreme Court (SC) that Aleema Khanum, Prime Minister Imran Khan's sister, did not benefit from a tax amnesty scheme on a flat in Dubai.

During a hearing of the suo motu case regarding Pakistani citizens maintaining foreign accounts without disclosing them or paying taxes, FBR Inland Revenue Commissioner Chaudhry Ishtiaq Khan presented a report in a sealed envelope regarding the Dubai property of Ms Khanum and told the court that a notice served on her was fixed for Dec 5.

He rejected media reports and maintained that Ms Khanum never benefited from the amnesty scheme, introduced by the previous government before the general election.

The Supreme Court, on Friday, had asked the FBR to provide the court with Khanum's tax details.

The tax commissioner furnished before the court its sealed report and apprised the court that Khanum was served a notice in February 2018 for not declaring the flat. He, however, pointed out that Khanum had declared all of her other properties.

The commissioner said that whether or not Khanum incurred a loss on the sale was not their concern as she was bound under the law to declare said flat.

Upon being questioned by the court, the land revenue board commissioner added, “Aleema Khan was issued a notice on Feb 8, 2018, for not declaring the property. However, she was not in the country at the time and thus could not comply with the order.”

The commissioner further told the bench, “She took loans from a bank to purchase the property, which was repaid through the rent earned on it. After loan repayment, Aleema Khan sold the apartment.”

Ordering that the investigation be made part of the record, the top court adjourned the hearing of the case till Dec 6.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar directed the commissioner to submit complete record of the FBR proceedings on the matter and also issued a notice to Aleema Khan for the purpose of seeking information about creation of the asset in question and its source and its non-disclosure before the tax authority.

The CJ ordered for action taken against Khanum to be made part of the record, adding that the case would next be heard on Dec 6 in Islamabad.

The court has taken up a case against 44 politically exposed individuals or their benamidars who possessed properties in the United Arab Emirates.

Khanum is identified as benamidar of a property.

Earlier, a notice was issued to her through email as well as delivered at her home address, but her domestic staff said she was abroad.

Water treatment plants

The Punjab government was directed by the Supreme Court on Saturday to submit a complete plan about water treatment plants by Dec 5.

A two-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, resumed hearing of the case at the Lahore Registry.

Advocate General Punjab Ahmad Awais told the bench that the government had constituted a committee to oversee funds issues for the construction of four water treatment plants at Shahdara, Shadbagh, Babu Sabu and Mehmood Booti.

The minister stated that the government had to see the feasibility of the projects as billions of rupees were required for their completion.

“It means that you want to start everything from very beginning,” Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked the minister.

Chief Justice Nisar observed that the matter of adulterated water pertained to public importance and the court would not allow the government to scrap it.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and Punjab Minister for Housing Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed appeared before the bench and informed that “we have formed a committee to install water treatment plants and have summoned a meeting on Tuesday again”.

“You have only six-month experience of administrative matters, and we have been sitting here for the past 21 years. The purpose of creating committees is to cause delays. Mr Minister inform us when implementation will be done,” CJ Nisar observed.

“The whole Lahore is drinking unclean water and River Ravi is being polluted,” he further remarked.

“We haven’t been in office for long,” Rasheed responded.

“Whether you have been in office for 10 days or 20, we want implementation,” the CJ remarked.

“We are working day and night to implement the court orders,” the PTI leader answered.

The Supreme Court directed the Punjab Minister for Housing & Urban Development Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed to submit progress report about a meeting of a committee formed to decide release of funds for four water treatment plants in the city.

“If need be, we will summon the provincial chief minister. Bring the plan and come to Islamabad on Wednesday, we will hear the case over there,” the top judge remarked.

PKLI case

The Supreme Court on Saturday expressed its serious concern after it came to know that Pakistan Kidney-Liver Transplantation Institute (PKLI), a highly acclaimed project of previous government, lacked even basic facilities to carry out paediatric liver transplant.

The institute did not have prerequisites of operation theatre, human resource and equipment for the liver transplant, said Prof Dr Huma Arshad Cheema of Children Hospital, also chairperson of Pakistan Paediatric Association Gastroenterology Hepatology.

A two-judge special bench was hearing a matter regarding possibility of first paediatric liver transplant of Pakistan at the PKLI.

The chief justice observed that billions of rupees had been spent on the institute and now it was being stated that it had no facilities. Justice Ijazul Ahsan, other member of the bench, said the institute should have been a state-of-the-art project, but it appears to be a godown.

The judges lamented that no effort had been made for the children of the country suffering from liver diseases. They said our children were forced to go to India for liver transplant after undergoing an embarrassing process of getting visa for the neighbouring country. Even liver transplant facilities available for adults were also not up to the mark, the chief justice regretted.

Chief Justice Nisar pointed out that there was a campaign on social media against the court when it grilled Dr Saeed Akhtar, president of PKLI, for poor performance of the institute.

Prof Cheema told the bench that the staff of Dr Akhtar had told her, when she went to see him, that he was not interested in meeting doctors living in Pakistan.

The chief justice observed that it was a wish of the Supreme Court to have a first-ever paediatric liver transplant surgery of Pakistan in before the last week of December.

Prof Cheema stated that no civilian health facility was capable to do the paediatric liver transplant; however, a hospital in Rawalpindi run by military had been carrying out such surgeries.

At this, the chief justice said the court would establish contact with the Surgeon General of Pakistan Army for this purpose and adjourned hearing till Sunday (today).

The chief justice also directed the NAB to hold inquiry against an administration officer of the PKLI, Dr Amir, and also put his name on ECL. The officer earlier told the court that he was getting Rs1.2 million as monthly salary.

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