Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is neither a dependent of her father nor that of her husband Captain Mohammad Safdar (retd), as per the statement of assets and liabilities of the prime Minister and his son in law published in the Gazette of Pakistan March 2016, issued by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
After a review of the tax directory by Business Recorder uploaded by the Federal Board of Revenue since 2013 and onwards, there was one Maryam Safdar in 2015 and 2014 directory (same CNIC), who paid Rs 97,324 and Rs 125,913 in tax year 2015 and tax year 2014, respectively.
But, the Marriyam Safdar listed in 2013 tax directory (with National Tax Number and not CNIC) having address as mentioned in the FBR’s taxpayers’ online verification system, c/o Chaudhry Sugar Mills Ltd-146, Abu Bakar Block, Garden Town, Lahore, paid Rs 22,604 in tax year 2013.
This sugar mill with the same address was noted in the statement of assets and liabilities of March 2016 filed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with Election Commission of Pakistan leading the Business Recorder team to conclude that this Marriyam Safar is the Prime Minister’s daughter.
However, we cannot verify that Marriyam Safdar with same CNICs in tax directory 2015 and 2014 is the same Marriyam Safdar, whose NTN has been mentioned in the list of tax directory for tax year 2013 because the same year’s tax directory does not mention CNICs.
There were also four Maryam Nawaz listed in the 2015 directory (with different computerised national identity card numbers); however there was no Maryam Nawaz listed in the directory in 2013 and only one Maryam Nawaz in 2014 who paid nil tax and the same Maryam Nawaz (with the same CNIC number) who also paid nil tax in 2015.
A tax consultant told Business Recorder that if the dependent is major (above 18 years) then filing of income tax return and wealth statement is mandatory in the light of section 114 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, even assets have been financed /gifted by parents.
In case of dependent wife, filing /declaration of assets and income tax return is also mandatory, irrespective of the fact that all assets have been financed by the spouse (husband), he added.
In 2013, the Prime Minister declared his eldest, Maryam Nawaz, as a dependent, but questions of irregularities were raised subsequent to the Panama papers which showed her as the trustee of offshore companies.
Maryam Nawaz’s name was missing in the statement of assets and liabilities filed with the ECP by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as well her husband Captain Safdar (retd), which, according to experts, may lead to disqualification of a member of parliament.
Kanwar Mohammad Dilshad, former secretary ECP told Business Recorder that a member of parliament is bound by the constitution to mention names of all his/her dependents.
“Under Section 42-A of the Representation of People Act, 1976, it is mandatory that if someone tries to conceal his/her assets, it will be deemed as corrupt practice and he/she may be disqualified,” he added.
He said that if a member submits the statement of assets and liabilities which is found to be false in material particulars, the member may be proceeded against under section 82 for committing the offence of corrupt practice, adding all the references sent to the Speaker National Assembly by opposition parties have been filed on these grounds.
When contacted Talal Chaudhry, a senior PML-N leader, refused to comment on the issue, saying he could not comment on the financial matters involving the Sharif family and only a Sharif family member can comment on the subject.
A senior official of ECP who wished not to be named stated that it is mandatory to mention names of all dependents, adding if anybody opts to exclude the name of a dependent it implies that he/she is no longer a dependent or the member is misleading the commission.
“The ECP can take action under Section 42-A of the Representation of People Act, 1976. It is crystal clear what action can be taken against a member who is intentionally misleading the top electoral body,” he added. -Business Recorder