Islamabad: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that 35 politicians and their associates own properties in Dubai.
The FIA submitted its initial report on foreign properties owned by Pakistanis as a bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard a Suo Motu notice of assets owned by Pakistani nationals in foreign countries.
As the hearing went underway, the bench questioned the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman, who was present in court, regarding “gray communication” and the chief justice asked him, “What steps are you taking to curb the smuggling of Indian DTH?”
The FBR chairman that responded that Customs members were to appear before court and brief regarding the measures being taken. Meanwhile, the attorney general, “Some progress has been made but more time is needed.”
Justice Nisar then remarked, “DG FIA Bashir Memon has informed us that foreign properties worth Rs1 billion have been identified. Whose responsibility is to bring the money back?”
“Of those identified, present 100 people before the court,” he directed.
“Who are those 20 people who we should summon to question how they bought these properties? We want information about assets in London, Dubai and other countries,” Justice Nisar remarked.
At this, the DG FIA told the bench, “150 people have admitted that they own foreign properties.”
The attorney general added, “There are 894 people who own foreign properties.” Justice Nisar then turned to the attorney general and said, “If there is a flaw in the system, amend it.”
Further, DG FIA Bashir Memon told the bench that 374 people have said that they have declared their foreign properties.
“150 people recorded their statements before FIA’s investigation officer. Out of them, 69 said they mentioned the properties in their tax returns while 82 said the properties did not belong to the,” he added.
The chief justice then asked Memon, “When will you conduct investigations?”
Justice Nisar further asked the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Tariq Bajwa, who was also present for the hearing, “You tell us what can be done regarding this matter. We can wrap up the case and then the government can look into it.”
Turning to the attorney general, the chief justice asked, “What is the government waiting for? We identified the people for you and bring ten prominent ones from among them before the court.”
However, the attorney general informed the bench, “They cannot be arrested as per the law.”
The SBP governor added, “150 people have admitted that they own foreign properties but have not declared them.”
“We can call 10 people from these 150,” the chief justice remarked.