Justice Isa questions Shehzad Akbar’s eligibility, appointment as ARU head

Justice Qazi Faez Isa has raised questions on the eligibility of Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar for public office and his appointment as the head of Asset Recovery Unit (ARU).

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A 10-member judge bench, led by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, will resume hearing the judicial reference against Justice Isa on June 2, which was earlier scheduled to be taken up on March 30. The apex court had postponed the hearing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On the last hearing on February 24, the federal government had sought three weeks’ adjournment.

The Supreme Court judge has raised 15 questions in a rejoinder submitted to the Supreme Court on Friday in a case pertaining to the offshore properties owned by his family members which were not declared in his tax returns.

Justice Isa has challenged the presidential reference filed against him in the Supreme Judicial Council and filed a petition in the SC saying the case was based on mala fide intent.

The judge questioned Akbar’s eligibility to be appointed as ARU chief and the procedure adopted for his appointment.

“Who appointed Shahzad Akbar?” he asked.

“Did the government announce the vacancy in newspapers or were applications sought for the appointment of the chairman of the Asset recovery Unit?”

Justica Isa, in his rejoinder, also sought to know whether the appointment was made through Federal Public Service Commission and if answers to these four questions are in negative, then how Akbar was posted as ARU head.

He also asked the authorities to share the terms and conditions of his job.

“Is Shahzad Akbar a Pakistani or does he hold dual nationality?” asked Justice Isa.

Seeking information about SAPM’s tax details, the SC judge asked why he has not made anything public about his family members and the nationality they hold.

“What’s his income tax and wealth status and from when he started submitting his tax returns?”

In another question, Justice Isa asked about the bank details, properties and assets owned by the prime minister’s assistant.

Justice Isa also demanded the information about the assets owned by SAPM Akbar’s family and whether he has declared these in his returns or not.

The SC judge said that ARU is an illegal entity and the money spent on it is a ‘theft’ of public money and the the unit collected the information about him through unlawful means.

He also contended that former attorney general Anwar Mansoor Khan, Law Minister Farogh Naseem and SAPM Akbar were in contempt of court.

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