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Supreme Court focus remains on Maryam Nawaz’s expenditures

Focus remained on Maryam Nawaz’s finances and expenditures in the Supreme Court on Wednesday as the hearing of the Panamagate case resumed.

Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali was presiding over a five-member bench of the apex court hearing the case when Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed asked, “How are Maryam Nawaz’s expenditures covered?”

Justice Saeed said that according to tax return records, Maryam Nawaz’s taxable income is zero. He added that the prime minister’s daughter has no job or source of income.

“The sources of her finance are gifts that she received from her brothers and her father and agriculture,” Justice Azmat added.

“In her tax returns, Maryam has stated her income as Rs21million while her travel costs are Rs35million,” Justice Azmat said.

During the hearing, Justice Azmat told Salman Aslam Butt, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s counsel, that his arguments so far had not helped resolve whether or not Maryam Nawaz was a dependent of the premier.

Justice Azmat inquired after the 43-kanal agricultural land in Mansehra district, which is worth Rs243 million and was declared under the name of Maryam Nawaz by the prime minister in his 2011-12 income tax returns.

“When did Maryam Nawaz give the prime minister money for the land?” Justice Azmat asked.

Salman Butt told the apex court that the land was bought on April 19, 2011. He said that the prime minister had given the money for the land as a gift to his daughter, who later returned the amount to him in the form of the land.

During yesterday’s hearing, Salman Butt, referring to the 2011-12 income tax returns of the prime minister, said his client had to declare the purchase of the agricultural land in the name of his daughter because there was no separate column in the tax returns for independent children.

But mentioning her name in column 12 of the tax returns, Butt had argued, did not mean that she was her father’s dependant. The system would have not accepted the returns had the prime minister concealed the property because it was electronic filing, he explained.

The apex court then asked the counsel to consult with their clients whether they would prefer a commission to be formed to probe the case further or to have the court make decisions.

The hearing was subsequently adjourned to Dec 9.

Courtesy : Dawn News

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