Pakistan's Supreme Court on Thursday ordered Prime Minister Imran Khan's sister Aleema Khanum to pay a hefty Rs 29.4 billion in taxes and fine within a week in the foreign assets case.
A three-judge bench, while hearing a case against 44 politically exposed individuals who possess properties in the UAE, remarked that failure on Khanum's part to honour the court orders will result in confiscation of her properties.
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) told the court that a fine and tax worth Rs 29.4 billion has been imposed on Khanum, who has been identified as ostensible owner (benamidar) of a property.
Khanum, who was present with her lawyer in the court, said that she had bought the property in 2008 against $370,000 and that she had sold it in 2017.
The FBR in previous hearings submitted properties and? tax details of Khanum.
Khanum told the court that she had raised 50 per cent of the amount required by taking a loan.
According to Khanum's written testimony submitted to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), she owned properties in East UAE. The properties were created through the earnings of businesses owned abroad.
"I sold my properties and the FBR was notified about this development in advance," Khanum said in her written testimony.
During the hearing, the FIA submitted a summary regarding foreign properties in court.
According to the summary, 96 more Pakistanis have been identified for having properties abroad. The total number of Pakistanis with properties abroad is now 2,154.
Out of these, 1,208 people own properties in the UAE.
Taking suo motu notice of the matter, the apex court had observed that it appeared the money siphoned off abroad without payment of taxes through illegal channels represented either ill-gotten gains or kickbacks from public contracts.
"Such money creates gross disproportion, inequality and disparity in society, which warps economic activity and growth, and constitutes plunder and theft of national wealth," it had said.
In an earlier order, the court had also observed that it was common knowledge for years that a large number of Pakistani citizens were maintaining their bank accounts in other countries without disclosing these to the authorities competent under the laws of Pakistan or paying taxes on the same in accordance with the law.