The Supreme Court of Pakistan said on Wednesday that Prime Minister cannot be the owner of state land as the country is not ruled by a monarchy.
Justice Gulzar Ahmed headed the three-member bench in the Civic Centre building wealth tax case.
The lawyer representing Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) apprised the court that two buildings worth Rs198 million were sold to Civic Centre on orders from former premier Benazir Bhutto in 1995.
“Civics Centre cleared income tax but did not pay wealth tax. Prime Minister sold state property to another government-run institution; property wasn’t sold to any private partner” the lawyer said.
SC Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked under what law could the country’s prime minister transfer public properties. Premier, he added, isn’t the owner of state property, there is no monarchy in the country.
“Does the PM hold powers to sell Supreme Court as well? If premier sells Supreme Court what then”? he catechized. Justice Sajjad Ali Shah observed that not even a single penny was paid after the property deal.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa remarked that no agreement pertaining to sale of property was on record.
Earlier, FBR consulted the tribunal for collection of wealth tax from Civic Centre. The tribunal had pronounced verdict in favour of Civic Centre. The FBR then launched a plea against the tribunal’s decision with the Islamabad High Court, which ruled in favour of FBR and directed the centre to pay the wealth tax.