ISLAMABAD - Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Tuesday observed that the country is in dire need of money and the progress in the foreign assets case would benefit the country.

He linked the pace of progress in the case with country’s financial position, observing the sooner the money is returned to Pakistan the better it will be for the country’s economy.

Heading a three-judge bench, which was hearing the case pertaining to individuals’ foreign assets without disclosing the same in the country, the Chief Justice further observed that the money was transmitted abroad from this country.

The Chief justice entrusted the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) with the task to bring wealth back to Pakistan.

During the hearing, FBR’s Member Inland Revenue and other high-ups and Director General (DG) Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Bashir Memon appeared before the bench.

To a query, FBR informed the bench that Aleema Khanum, sister of Prime Minister Imran Khan, will have to pay liabilities of Rs29.4 million for which January 13 is the deadline.

During the course of hearing, the CJP lamented that the bench was informed that Rs3,000 billion could be recovered through the instant proceedings. He asked regarding the progress in the matter.

The FBR informed the bench that the officials are working with complete dedication but certain procedures in recovery have to be followed.

The bench was informed by the FBR that Rs167 million has been recovered from eight people, whose names were included in the list of 21 persons. The list comprising cases of 20 individuals was compiled initially to consider and investigate as model cases.

It is further informed that liabilities of Rs140 million have been fixed on different individuals and the officers serving in FBR’s Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad are dedicated to the issue.

It is further stated by FBR that FIA has statements of 775 individuals and the same are also being examined.

The FBR further informed the bench that 60 cases involved excessive properties and these cases are priority in the progress.

During the course of proceedings, the Chief Justice also commended the efforts of Director General FIA Bashir Memon in tracing the individuals who have foreign assets abroad.

Member Inland Revenue of FBR informed the bench that the Board will submit its complete report till second week of January.

FIA in its report stated that FIA Zonal Offices of Sindh, Punjab and Islamabad in collaboration with FBR’s Field Offices have taken up 60 cases and hearings in these cases are scheduled for January 2019.

APP adds: The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned the government about the funds spent on the development and reconstruction work in the 2005 earthquake-hit areas of the country.

The court also sought 11-year performance of the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) and directed its chairman, Lieutenant General Omar Mahmood Hayat, to appear in person on next date of hearing.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar passed the directions while hearing a suo motu notice of alleged embezzlement in the grants and donations meant for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the earthquake survivors.

The CJP asked the authorities that as to why the funds reserved for earthquake-hit areas were transferred to the Benazir Income Support Programme and Multan Metro.

“Neither hospitals or schools were built nor the new Balakot city. The survivors are still living in tents and camps in the worst conditions,” he lamented.

The chief justice observed that the development funds were spent on other projects and directed the authorities to submit a comprehensive report on the matter within three days.