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January 30, 2020

Foreign assets of Justice Isa’s spouse: SC directs federal govt to collect information from FBR

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January 30, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday directed the federal government to collect information from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) regarding foreign properties of spouse of Justice Qazi Faez Isa and submit it before the court on Monday.

The court directed Aamir Rehman, Additional Attorney General, to collect the information from the FBR regarding foreign assets of the spouse of Justice Qazi Faez Isa. A ten-member full court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial resumed hearing into the identical petitions challenging presidential reference filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa for allegedly not disclosing his foreign properties in his wealth returns.

Other members of the bench include Justice Maqbool Baqir, Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik, Justice Faisal Arab, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice

Yahya Afridi and Justice Qazi Amin Ahmed.

The case took a new turn when Salman Akram Raja, counsel for Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), while continuing his arguments quoted media reports and pointed out to the court that wife of the petitioner Justice Qazi Faez Isa the other day visited the office of FBR and asked the authorities concerned as to why she was not issued notice for her foreign assets, but had asked her spouse. He submitted that the wife of Justice Faez Isa visited the FBR office seeking information regarding transfer of her tax record from Karachi to Islamabad besides inquiring as to why she was not issued notice on for her foreign assets.

“The FBR authorities did not cooperate with the lady,” Salman Raja informed the court. At this, Justice Umar Ata Bandial asked Additional Attorney General Aamir Rehman who told the court that the whole reference is based upon foreign property.

Munir A Malik, counsel for Justice Qazi Faez Isa, submitted that he was not representing the spouse of the petitioner, but only the petitioner (Justice Faez Isa). He further submitted that Justice Faez Isa is not answerable to his spouse.

Munir A Malik informed the court that he came to know that wife of Justice Faez Isa visited the FBR office seeking guidance for shifting her tax record from Karachi to Islamabad as he said that the last date for filing tax returns is January 31 that’s why she wanted to know the procedure for it as no such information was available on the portal of FBR. Munir A Malik further submitted that last year, she had filed her tax returns in Karachi. He said the FBR authorities told Justice Faez Isa’s spouse that they will inform her after seeking instructions from the higher authorities.

Meanwhile, the court in its order noted that since the wife of a judge of this court had approached the tax authorities then why a reference against a judge should proceed.

The court asked Aamir Rehman that if the lady is willing to disclose information about her foreign properties, the same should be collected and submit before it.

Earlier, Bilal Hassan Manto, another petitioner, while commencing his arguments submitted that the 18th Constitutional Amendment had taken away the power of taking action itself but retained it the with the president.

“Why it happened because there has to be something which is to be functioned by the president,” Manto contended.

Elaborating his point, Manto submitted that the president is expected to be an independent and neutral buffer between the executive and the judiciary.

“Whether any political culture may involve, but he (president) has to be an independent person to form an opinion,” Manto submitted, adding that if the government sends something to the president he has to form an independent opinion and decide whether the stuff he has received from the government is worthy or not.

He contended that the complainant Dogar should not have sent the complaint to the President but to Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).

He said an ordinary citizen can approach the SJC, but not to the government. “The president has to decide independently regarding sending a reference on the received information but how and from where the president himself will collect information, it is not understandable,” Manto submitted. Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed that Manto has raised very interesting points.