ISLAMABAD/LONDON: Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s wife, Zarina Carrera Khoso, recorded her statement on Thursday before the Supreme Court on how the judge’s family was able to purchase properties in the British capital.
A day earlier, Justice Isa had told the court that his spouse wished to explain about her properties and its sources via a video link as her father is a cancer patient and she should be given an opportunity to speak on the matter.
A 10-member full-court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial resumed hearing on a set of petitions challenging a presidential reference filed against the SC judge for allegedly not disclosing his foreign properties in his wealth returns.
Giving details about the sources of funds, she said: “Properties in Karachi were sold out and two bank accounts — one in British pounds and the other in US dollars — were opened in a private bank to transfer the money.
“From 2003-2013, a total of £700,000 was transferred through these two foreign accounts in the Standard Chartered Bank’s Karachi branch,” she added.
Change in name and solicitor’s advice
Khoso clarified that she was a Spanish citizen and that she had used her passport to purchase the properties in London. She added that when her husband was a lawyer, she would get a five-year visa.
However, the Pakistani authorities had issued a one-year visa after 2018 only to create hurdles.
Justice Isa’s wife explained that since she was born in Spain and her father’s and mother’s names, respectively, were Khoso and Carrera, her name on her birth certificate and passport is Zarina Carrera Khoso.
After she got married to Justice Isa back in 1983, however, the Pakistani government registered her name on her CNIC as Zarina Isa.
In her statement, the judge’s wife said her tax returns were filed after advice from Rehan Naqvi, her solicitor, and that she owned a house in Clifton, as well as a plot in Shah Latif Town. She has also received agricultural land from her father, which is now in her name.
Khoso said she was advised that according to the law, tax returns were not filed on agricultural land. All of her taxes were filed after consultations with Naqvi, she added, noting that the last tax return she had filed was over Rs7.6 million.
Justice Isa opposes sending matter to FBR
In a rare appearance before the bench, Justice Isa had opposed the court’s suggestion the other day to the federal government to refer the matter of his family members’s foreign assets to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), providing an opportunity to the spouse of the judge to explain about the sources for purchasing the London properties.
Justice Isa, while opposing the proposal of the apex court, had prayed for deciding the case on merit.
Justice Bandial had directed Munir A Malik — who was on video link from the Karachi registry — to ask the judge’s spouse to submit her explanation, with all documentary evidence, in writing.
Malik had said he took the instant case not because it pertained to an apex court judge but to protect the integrity and independence of the judiciary. He submitted that it would be in the interest of justice that the instant case be decided on merit.
Justice Isa, however, had said the government had consented to the court’s proposal and he had to give his reply. He submitted that the counsel for the federation was repeatedly asking for the money trail. The judge said the council did not summon him for hearing him while the government submitted the replies very late.
He had prayed before the bench that his wife be given an opportunity to share details.
Justice Isa had contended that his spouse was not a lawyer and not in a position to submit a written response and, therefore, should be heard. She could reply to all the questions.
“Justice not only be done but seems to be done,” Justice Isa had submitted.