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Daniyal Aziz disputes law definitions used in Panama verdict

Updated October 22, 2017
Federal Minister for Privatisation Daniyal Aziz gives a presentation to reporters at the Press Information Department on Saturday.—APP
Federal Minister for Privatisation Daniyal Aziz gives a presentation to reporters at the Press Information Department on Saturday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Privatisation Daniyal Aziz has claimed that terminologies used in the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Panama Papers case which disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif do not exist in law dictionaries and that a few references used in the verdict have been taken from an online dictionary which, according to him, is not used by the bench and the bar.

He was talking to reporters at the Press Information Department here on Saturday.

The minister disputed some of the law definitions used in the apex court’s verdict. He said the Para 13 of the July 28 verdict defined the word ‘asset’ with reference to its meaning from Black’s Law Dictionary, one of the most widely used law dictionaries of the world. But, he added, no edition of the Black’s Law Dictionary in known history contained the definition of ‘asset’ as recorded in the Panama Papers case judgement.

Mr Aziz claimed that the verdict had “jumbled up the definitions of terms — accounts receivable and receivable”.

Daniyal Aziz says SC judgement will impact country’s taxation system

According to him, ‘acco­unts receivable’ is an accounting term used for a firm and it loses its meaning if read separately. The word ‘receivable’ has been used for a person instead of a firm.

“This definition of receivable has been taken from Business Dictionary which is an internet-based dictionary,” Mr Aziz said.

The minister gave further references from the apex court’s verdict, claiming that they were in contradiction to law definitions. He said: “We say that if a mistake has been committed by them (the apex court judges), then they should correct it rather than placing the whole taxation system at the risk of overhaul.”

He objected over the use of Business Dictionary’s definitions in the judgement, claiming that it was not used by both the bench and the bar. Even definitions of this dictionary had been distorted in the judgement, he said, adding the whole nation would have to bear the impact of this judgement because it would set a precedent in which all receivables were made parts of assets.

The minister was of the opinion that the whole taxation system of the country would have to be changed because of the judgement. He said explanations in the verdict were also contrary to the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 and other relevant laws of the country. “It is a headache for accountants, tax lawyers and experts,” he added.

He claimed that the Supreme Court had given a verdict without considering its consequences on the country’s taxation system.

Answering a question, Mr Aziz rejected reports of differences in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2017