The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) continued trading allegations against each other’s leaders on Tuesday, with the former accusing Nawaz Sharif of tax evasion and the latter questioning Imran Khan’s purchase of his house in Islamabad.
PTI spokesman Shafqat Mehmood said that Sharif had paid no taxes while in exile, as borne out by the nomination papers he filed in May 2008 for NA-123 Lahore VI.
“Answering question no 10 relating to the taxes paid by the applicant during the last three years, the answer given by Nawaz Sharif was ‘nil’. This was the period when Sharif had assets in Pakistan that were not shut down but were generating income,” he said in a press release. “The fact is that Sharif was in exile, not his assets,” he said.
Mehmood said that Sharif paid Rs2 million in 2009-10 and Rs2.5 million in 2010-11 as tax on income accrued from his shares in Chaudhry Sugar Mills. “The same mill was also giving him dividends in the years he was in exile, but no tax was paid,” he said.
He said that the Sharifs had been convicted of tax evasion by the Lahore High Court in 1999, for failing to pay tax, among other things, on a helicopter worth a million dollars at the time.
PML-N Senator Pervez Rashid said that Imran Khan was unable to explain how he had bought a massive tract of land in Bani Gala before his ex-wife Jemima Khan “came to his rescue” and said that she had gifted him the property. “Everyone know Imran runs a business of benami properties,” said Rashid.
He said that Shafqat Mahmood had been a director at Punjab Bank and he knew well that the Sharifs did not indulge in financial malpractices. “When the Sharifs were in exile their companies were paying regular taxes. Since Sharif was not a director in any of the companies his family owned, the question of paying income tax does not arise,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2012.