Foreign assets case: SC orders Aleema to deposit Rs29.5m

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar while hearing a suo motu case on foreign properties owned by Pakistani nationals ordered Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khan to deposit Rs29.5 million in taxes and fine.

Aleema Khan and her lawyer Salman Akram Raja appeared before the court as a three-judge bench headed by the chief justice heard the suo motu case on foreign bank accounts and assets owned by Pakistani citizens.

As the hearing went under way, the chief justice asked the premier’s sister, “How much did you buy the property for?” To this, Aleema responded, “I bought it for $370,000.”

When asked by the chef justice when she bought the property, the premier’s sister said, “I bought it in 2008 and sold it last year.”

Responding to Justice Nisar’s question whether she purchased the property from her own money, Aleema said, “I took loan from the bank and for 50% of the total amount of the property and the other 50% was my own money.”

Aleema’s counsel Salman Akram Raja then said, “We have submitted details of bank transactions and accounts in court.” The chief justice remarked, “Then deposit Rs18 million within a week.”

At this, the commissioner inland who probed Aleema Khan’s tax details informed the court, “As per our estimate in keeping with the documents, Aleema has to file tax returns worth Rs29.5 million.”

Further, the bench remarked, “Aleema Khan will have right of appeal, however, before that she will have to file income tax returns.”

Justice Nisar added, “If the deposit is not made then her property will be seized.”

Suo motu notice

Chief of Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took suo motu notice of Aleema’s property in Dubai on November 28.

The chief justice, who was in London to raise funds for building dams in Pakistan, was informally speaking to journalists when they drew his attention to the matter of Aleema Khan’s properties abroad.

This month, Aleema deposited half the total cost of her previously undeclared Dubai property with tax authorities as penalty.

Aleema paid 25 per cent of the total estimated amount of her luxurious flat, “The Lofts East-1406”, in taxes and 25 per cent fine charges, officials had said. The prime minister’s sister was slapped with a double penalty (taxes and fine) because she did not disclose the said property worth around Rs74 million.

The said luxurious flat was located in the heart of Dubai, adjacent to Burj Khalifa, the most expensive area in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), added the officials.

Aleema, in her affidavit submitted with FIA team, stated: “The Lofts East:1460 was paid for from funds generated from my business dealings overseas. Further, I have already disposed of my property and have also informed the FBR about the purchase and sale of the said property.”

On October 27, FIA had submitted in the Supreme Court the details of 44 close relatives of prominent political personalities who owned properties in the UAE.