ISLAMABAD .: The Supreme Court judge Justice Umar Ata Bandial has observed that a public officeholder will be in ‘trouble’ if he fails to give an account of his asset and liability.
“It is very important that public officeholder should be transparent regarding the details about his assets and liability. If you don’t explain asset and liability then you will be in trouble,” Justice Bandial said on Monday.
He was heading a three-judge bench, hearing a petition filed by former foreign minister Khawaja Asif against the Islamabad High Court (IHC) judgment on his disqualification. The other members of the bench were Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah.
Earlier Asif’s counsel, Muneer A Malik, presented his argument and said neither there is an allegation of corruption against Asif nor he has an offshore company. The counsel said the respondent [the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Usman Dar] did not challenge his occupation in election petition.
Malik contended that Asif’s employment in UAE was not concealed in his nomination papers. It was disclosed as income from the business and not as employment. In the Wealth Reconciliation Statement Khawaja Asif disclosed the receipt of the salary 9000 Dirham per month, he added.
The counsel said his client had not treated that amount as asset in the UAE and that amount was remitted to Pakistan and here it was treated as ‘Assets and Liabilities’ in statement in 2012 and it was part of the foreign amount Rs6.2 million.
Malik argued that the column in the nomination paper is about ‘Assets and Liabilities’, adding that income received is assets. He further said the asset is something you possess or something is due to you. However, he clarified that accrued salary is not an asset
The bench, however, told him that according to the IHC’s verdict, he had renewed his employment’s contract after becoming a federal minister, which is also conflict of interest. It also questioned whether accrued salary was also not his asset.
Malik requested the bench that a stay be granted on the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader’s disqualification verdict until the SC delivers its final verdict. However, the bench declined his plea and issued a notice to the respondents on the stay application.
Malik also requested the court to hear the case at it earliest. Instead of adjourning the matter for a month, the court postponed the hearing for two weeks. Interestingly, the bench did not grant leave to appeal in this matter.