The Supreme Court on Thursday told the counsel representing Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Secretary General Jahangir Tareen that he had failed to convince the court that his client was exempted from paying tax on 18,566 acres of leased land.
A three-member apex bench ─ headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Atta Bandial and Justice Faisal Arab ─ was hearing a petition filed by PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi which seeks the disqualification of Tareen and PTI Chief Imran Khan over the alleged non-disclosure of assets, existence of offshore companies, as well as receiving foreign funding for PTI.
In a previous hearing of the case, Tareen’s lawyer, Advocate Sikander Mohmand, had told the court that 18,566 acres of land had been leased by his client in 2010. Tareen had earned around Rs1.6 billion agricultural income from the said land.
During Thursday’s hearing, Advocate Mohmand sought, once again, to argue before the court that there are ambiguities in Punjab’s agriculture tax laws and that, as a contractor of leased land, Tareen was not liable to pay income tax on revenue generated from the land.
The lawyer maintained that, while tax is payable by the owner of a piece of land, the contractor is not required to do the same.
However, the chief justice told the lawyer that income from agricultural land comes in the form of rent [to the person who owns it] and in the form of harvest revenue.
“We are trying to understand the law. We are not giving our final opinion on the matter,” the chief justice clarified. “Whoever earns income from agricultural land has to pay tax.”