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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court accepted the stance of Sarina Isa, the wife of Justice Qazi Faez Isa, about the purchase of London properties from the money which she transferred from Pakistan.

A 10-member larger bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed, and Justice Aminud Din Khan, on Monday, heard the review petitions of Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and the provincial bar councils and associations and the petition of Sarina Isa against the apex court's judgment on Presidential Reference.

Justice Muneeb noted that the money Sarina Isa remitted was for children's education and it was not to purchase properties in the UK.

However, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said when there was substantial evidence that Sarina Isa sent money from Pakistan from which properties were purchased in the UK then the purpose becomes irrelevant.

Justice Yahya Afridi said no one can stop the petitioner (Sarina Isa) what to do with her money.

The money went to the UK from her bank account.

"You took it to the United Kingdom for education of your children, but used it also for purchasing properties," he said.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial said: "Money was not transferred through "hundi hawala" but through bank transactions and that all the funds belonged to her, so it's ok."

Sarina Isa, the wife of Justice Qazi Faez Isa, informed the court that she and her children were not dependent when the properties were purchased, adding that Section 116 of Income Tax Ordinance does not require her husband to declare her income and assets in his tax returns.

Sarina Isa, while arguing her case, referred to the statements she had submitted before the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

Justice Muneeb questioned whether her children were adult when the properties were purchased.

He said that according to one statement, the money used for purchasing all three properties was hers but another statement says for first property the entire funding was hers, and for the second and third properties 50 percent money was contributed by children.

"Which one of your statement is true, you have been changing stance," he said.

Sarina Isa replied that there was no change of stance.

Upon that Justice Faez Isa stood up and told something to his wife.

Justice Muneeb asked the judge to sit down and not to interrupt.

"Please sit down, thank you," again, he asked the judge.

She said under the Foreign Currency Ordinance and the Economic Reforms Act and even the Supreme Court order 2018, the foreign currency account holders, whether residents or non-residents have protection and freedom to maintain and transfer the foreign currency. However, Zulfiqar Ahmed, Inland Commissioner, disregarded these facts.

She told that Zulfiqar Ahmed "illegally" obtained information of her foreign currency record despite the fact that she had voluntarily disclosed the same to the FBR. "Zulfiqar Ahmed violated the law by illegally accessing my banks record," she said.

Sarina Isa, earlier told the court that she purchased the UK properties with her own money, and the properties are in her and her children's names.

"The properties are from my own earning, finances and remittances, which are confirmed from the record of the State Bank of Pakistan, the United Bank, the FBR, the Standard Chartered Bank in Pakistan, while in London through the solicitor and the Inland Revenue record," she said.

She also said that seven judges passed an order on Presidential Reference against her husband, directing the FBR to investigate her tax record.

She said the order was passed against her and her children without hearing them.

Justice Bandial said the FBR can examine her tax returns, but if she wanted then the Court or the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) can examine the record, but her husband was not willing to go to the SJC.

Upon that, Justice Faez Isa said he had filed a petition when the Supreme Judicial Council did not proceed with the reference.

"I filed the reply of show cause notices, while the matter was pending one member of the Council went to Russia to attend a conference, and thereafter Justice Azmat, who was also member SJC, retired," he said.

Sarina Isa said her statement is on record through which she had explained about her properties and the sources of income. She said the court had expressed satisfaction.

Sarina Isa complained that the SC Registrar did not provide her the recording despite court's orders.

Justice Bandial said "It is on record, you have made a good statement. We said that you have good material and present it to the FBR."

Sarina Isa claimed that Zulfiqar Ahmed did not consider the documents related to her employment in the American School in Karachi, agriculture income, rent income, and the sale proceeds of a house in Karachi.

She said Jehanzeb Khan was removed after eight months as chairman FBR because "he did not authorise and approve any probe of my tax record."

The case was adjourned until today (Tuesday).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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