SC to hear petition on foreign assets of politicians, military officers

Published: October 19, 2011

Supreme Court refers the case back to Lahore High Court.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would hear the petition regarding foreign assets of civil and military officers and has formed a larger bench to conduct the hearing on October 31.

The petition was filed in the apex court by former Information Minister Mohammad Ali Durrani. The petition states that certain Pakistani civilian and military officials, politicians and businessmen have made money through illegal means and subsequently laundered it to Switzerland and other countries.

Mr Durrani claims that the foreign assets are worth a staggering $5billion.

He also said that according to the UN convention, this money belongs to Pakistan and the court should direct the government to bring it back.

Earlier this year, 30 members of Parliament admitted to having assets outside the country.

Among the parliamentarians who admitted to having assets abroad are National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Babar Khan Ghauri from the MQM, Senator Ishaq Dar from the PML-N, Senator Tariq Azeem from PML-Q and former minister Azam Khan Sawati from JUI-F.

Last week, the Lahore High Court chief justice issued notices to some of the country’s most prominent politicians, including Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, following a writ petition alleging they were misappropriating public funds.

Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry directed President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, among others, to file their replies, along with their affidavits, regarding the details of their worldwide assets by the first week of December.

Reader Comments (25)

  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Oct 19, 2011 - 3:29PM

    So far the politicians ( PPP) have not respected the verdicts of SC. I sincerely hope and pray something good comes out of this hearing and all including the Army officer also accept and respect the verdict of the SC.

    Recommend

  • Husein Ali Khan
    Oct 19, 2011 - 3:32PM

    This is a very good step forward.

    Recommend

  • Pundit
    Oct 19, 2011 - 5:00PM

    Of course Pres Zardari enjoys immunity:)

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Oct 19, 2011 - 5:38PM

    Really these big Fishes wouldn’t be caught ever other than Judiciary…….. If they bring their money In that would be better for the national assets.

    Recommend

  • Imran
    Oct 19, 2011 - 5:41PM

    How can SC admit this petition, when there is no law barring Pakistanis from foreign assets? Another cheap popularity stunt! Instead they should take up the cases where some politicians illegally channeled their money out of the country in the backdrop of nuclear tests, while the assets of their countrymen were being frozen on their orders. But, the judiciary won’t go there. Yesterday, LHC barred an accountability court from hearing cases against one of those politicians.

    Recommend

  • A.Khan
    Oct 19, 2011 - 5:59PM

    Pakistan has recources to implement it so why not do it as soon as possible. In fact biometric check should be for people entering from other side as well.

    Recommend

  • IncaHoots
    Oct 19, 2011 - 6:03PM

    Anyone checked on the rental power fraud?Recommend

  • Noor Nabi
    Oct 19, 2011 - 6:34PM

    Some members of the higher judiciary – both serving and retired – have transferred assets abroad. They, too, should be asked to explain the amassing of their wealth.

    Recommend

  • bashir
    Oct 19, 2011 - 7:54PM

    @IncaHoots: SC should investigate rental power fraud and bring the culprits to task

    Recommend

  • gp65
    Oct 19, 2011 - 8:13PM

    @Imran:
    “How can SC admit this petition, when there is no law barring Pakistanis from foreign assets?”
    There is no law barring US citizens from transferring money outside US also. But if they find that you have overseas accounts withmoney that you have not paid tax on – you are going to be in trouble.

    Issue isn’t whether you have wealth overseas or not. But whether it was obtained through legitimate sources and whether tax was paid on it.

    Recommend

  • Billoo Bhaya
    Oct 19, 2011 - 8:23PM

    A cheap stunt at best. SC has gained a reputation of wasting time and money, theirs and everyone else’s. They should deal with matters closer to home, issues where individuals are seeking justice on personal and private conflicts. These have been languishing for years. The judiciary is incapable of dealing with constitutional matters. If they cannot even give a verdict on NICL and Haj scams, where sufficient evidence exists to convict, then what can they do on weightier matters?? The CJ will do us an immense favor if he went home and gave his eyes some rest.

    Recommend

  • Shahid Gondal
    Oct 19, 2011 - 8:34PM

    Let’s also look at the assets of lawyers involved in the movement to restore the judiciary. I’m sure you’ll find their local and overseas assets have sudenly increases over the past two years. Recommend

  • Billoo Bhaya
    Oct 19, 2011 - 8:45PM

    @Iftikhar-ur-Rehman:
    @Shahid Gondal:
    @Noor Nabi:
    You have made excellent points. I agree completely.

    Recommend

  • starboy
    Oct 19, 2011 - 8:53PM

    Just a month ago the swiss bank director officially announced that pakistan have 97 billion dollars in swiss banks. Totall foregin debt of pakistan is 45 to 47 billion dollars. Both PPP & PML(N) leaders have major stakes in this money. That,s why the Accountability bill is pending in the parliament since 2008. If SC can recover only half of this money, pakistan would be free of all foreign debt and would be able to make an independent foreign policy based on principles.

    Recommend

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Oct 19, 2011 - 8:55PM

    Strictly speaking there is no bar on having assets abroad. The economy is open and such capital account transactions are, to the best of my knowledge, permitted.

    However, as stated above this is subject to two pre-conditions: first that the money/assets are consistent with KNOWN sources of income; and second, that they have been declared and taxes have been paid, where due.

    I would imagine that in the majority of cases, neither is true.

    In my case where the reverse is true (live abroad but have assets in Pakistan) I declare it on my US 1040 each year and am taxed accordingly. I am even taxed on my Pakistani pension from government.

    Recommend

  • Fawad Azam
    Oct 19, 2011 - 10:51PM

    And who will investigate into and reign in the unparalleled corruption in country courts! If anyone has doubt on the statement, he has never been to courts!

    Recommend

  • Raja Islam
    Oct 19, 2011 - 11:04PM

    There should be no restriction on owning assets abroad. The problem arises if these assets are purchased through money amassed via corruption and theft. Most corrupt politicians and bureaucrats have always transferred their money abroad and few if any have been caught. Let us see if something different happens this time.

    Recommend

  • Tauseef
    Oct 19, 2011 - 11:31PM

    There is nothing wrong with assets in foreign countries. The problem is if the source of the income is illegal!

    Recommend

  • Truth Seeker
    Oct 20, 2011 - 1:14AM

    @Meekal Ahmed:
    You are good example of how a citizen should be. Your ‘known sources of income’, reminded me of Donald Rumsfeld who talked about four categories of knowns and unknowns. In Pakistani context :
    1. ‘Known Knowns’ are like Pakistan is going through hard times since its creation.
    2. ‘Known Unknowns’ are like is it an individual or a group which manipulates the establishment who in turn controls the government.
    3. ‘Unknowns Unknowns’ are like the five year presence of OBL with three wives, nine children and one cow close to PMA Kakul.
    4. ‘Unknown Knowns’ are like how much money corrupt Pakistanis hold in Foreign Bank accounts.

    MAD (Mohammad Ali Durrani) is attempting to sneak back into the political arena riding on the rhetorical issues of provincialism and corruption, after forced to exit the scene in 2008.

    Recommend

  • Kobra
    Oct 20, 2011 - 2:22AM

    SC is making itself a political force at the behest of the opposition. If the parliamentarians have assets abroad, they should be bought to book for being illegal only after their term. This would derail democracy in principle.

    Recommend

  • AK
    Oct 20, 2011 - 7:27AM

    I doubt it. I assure all you that SC will not make any move if it points to Sharifs. SC can go to any extent, but will not tocuh the untouchable Sharifs.

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Oct 20, 2011 - 8:11AM

    @starboy:
    The High Courts in Paksitan are giving a figure of 5 Billions and you are 97 Billions. Can you please give your source of this info? I have read an email just like this spreading hate but without any reference. Perhaps you have a better source?
    Thanks and regards,
    Mirza

    Recommend

  • Imran
    Oct 20, 2011 - 9:09AM

    “Lahore High Court chief justice issued notices to some of the country’s most prominent politicians, including Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, following a writ petition alleging they were misappropriating public funds.”

    Notice to BBZ for misappropriating funds? Stupidity at its best. I have yet to see a single reasonable justice produced by Punjab.

    Recommend

  • Aftb Kenneth Wilson
    Oct 20, 2011 - 9:20AM

    LHC has already stopped NAB action against Sharifs. By the way what about Judiciary itself ? In fact our whole system is in the grip of this greed. Though this is a very encouraging step but it should not be selective. Judges, both retired and in service should also declare their assets right from the time they were either Magistrates, Session Court Judges or from Superior courts.

    Recommend

  • Muhammad Ali Qadir
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:26PM

    There is no harm in keeping the assets abroad. At least it is safe out there. cant we see what is the worth of our own rupee and one more thing ‘LEGALITY’ , There is no such word in Pakistan Edition of WEBSTER DICTIONARY.

    Recommend

More in Pakistan