ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has said that the prime minister cannot be the owner of a state land as the country is not ruled by a monarchy.
Justice Gulzar Ahmed headed a three-member bench in the Civic Centre building wealth tax case. The lawyer representing the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) apprised the court that two buildings worth Rs198 million were sold to the Civic Centre on orders from a former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 1995.
“Civics Centre cleared income tax but did not pay wealth tax. The prime minister sold the state property to another government-run institution; property wasn’t sold to any private partner,” the lawyer said. Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked under what law the prime minister could transfer the public properties.
He said that the prime minister wasn’t the owner of the state property and there was no monarchy in the country. “Does the prime minister hold powers to sell Supreme Court as well? If premier sells Supreme Court then what,” he questioned. 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 the property was on record. Earlier, FBR consulted the tribunal for the collection of wealth tax from the Civic Centre. The tribunal had pronounced verdict in favour of the 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.