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Buyer could not afford to buy jewel watch for Rs50m from Imran Khan: data

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  • Net income of buyer’s shop is Rs12 million for year 2018 to 2022.
  • Tax returns show shop kept highest stock of Rs1.8m in 5 years.
  • Buyer sold watch shop at start of this year and fled to Dubai: sources.

ISLAMABAD: The wealth statement and tax returns of Muhammad Shafiq and his watch shop Art of Time show no indication that he could afford to buy the famous jewel watch set from ex-prime minister Imran Khan for Rs50 million, reveals official data available with The News.

The net income of the shop ‘Art of Time’, according to the tax returns filed by Shafiq for the year 2018 to 2022, is approximately Rs12 million, reflecting the income tax returns of Shafiq’s watch shop business. 

Interestingly, the wealth statement of Shafiq during these five years shows his total assets to have grown from Rs2.8 million in 2018 to Rs10.6 million in 2022. Further, details of Shafiq’s bank account show that from 2019 till now, he had the highest balance of up to Rs4.5 million in his bank accounts and had withdrawn a maximum of Rs1 million during this period.

The income tax returns of the watch shop ‘Art of Time’ further reveal that the shop had kept the highest stock of Rs1.8 million in these five years. Whereas net purchases by Art of Time from 2018 to 2020 stood at around Rs20 million. This means that the total stock of watches purchased by the Art of Time in all these years was worth Rs20 million only.

It is pertinent to mention here that Imran Khan had deposited sale receipts of the watch for Rs50 million to this same shop and to this same man, Shafiq. The former premier along with his party members are repeatedly claiming that the famous jewel class gifted watch by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was sold to this man — Shafiq — for Rs50 million in January 2019.

A well-placed government official on condition of anonymity approved the authenticity of these documents related to Shafiq and revealed that an inquiry was also being done on the matter by the authorities.

Explaining further, the source said that the authorities are perplexed how can a man sell a watch worth Rs100 million for just Rs50 million. This Rs100 million value of this watch was too assessed by Imran Khan’s own government. 

“We are also intrigued that why would someone leave a private receipt in official records?” said the official. It is important to mention here that these receipts were not found in the Toshakhana record but from Prime Minister’s House, in the office of the military secretary to the prime minister.

When questioned about Shafiq, the source replied that the authorities are investigating his whereabouts and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is also looking for him in the Toshakhana case. According to sources, Shafiq has now sold this watch shop at the start of this current year and has fled to Dubai.

Fawad Chaudhary and Shahbaz Gill were approached for their comments but neither responded. The question sent to them was, “The wealth statement and tax returns of Muhammad Shafiq and his shop ‘Art of Time’ show no proof of his affordability to buy a watch for 50 million rupees. His acc details along with his business tax returns and wealth statement show that his total business capital was 2 million rupees. His total assets grew from 2m to 10m from 2018 to 2022. Q) How is it possible that such a man could buy such an expensive watch? Please comment. Your immediate response will be highly appreciated.”

Whereas, Umar Farooq Zahoor who possesses the same watch right now, when contacted by The News, insisted that he had bought the watch from Farah Khan in 2019 for Rs280 million. Umar said that Khan had sent a notice to him in which he also mentioned of selling the watch to Art of Time for Rs50 million. In his view, all claims by PTI and Khan regarding the gifted watch were lies.

Zahoor previously displayed this Special Edition Graff watch – one of its kind made by the finest craftsmen in the world – before the camera and claimed of buying it from Farah in Dubai back in 2019 in April for $2 million, which stood at around Rs280 million at that time.

On the other hand, the receipt of the sale of this same special edition watch to Art of Time was deposited by the former premier himself before the Cabinet Division. The receipt dated January 22, 2019, present with The News, specifically mentions of purchasing a set containing a Graff gents watch, a ring, pair of cufflinks and a pen from Khan.

On the same day on January 22, official documents of the State Bank of Pakistan show that Imran Khan deposited Rs20.1 million in the government treasury (20% of Rs100 million assessed value by Toshakhana). It is not clear whether the watch was sold before depositing Rs20.1 million in the government treasury or it was deposited after Khan sold the watch.

Whereas, Zahoor said on Geo News that he received a call from the then accountability minister Shahzad Akbar and was informed about the gifted watch and was asked if he was interested in buying it. He claimed that he bought this watch through Farah, who came to Dubai and took $2 million in cash (7.5-million-dirham approx.).

If Zahoor’s story is to be believed, Khan made a whooping profit of Rs250 million. Whereas if the ex-premier deposited sale receipts and his view is to be believed, he got a profit of Rs30 million.

The income tax returns of Shafiq’s business for the year 2018 show that the business’s total income stood at around Rs2 million during this whole year. The net purchases for the year by Art of Time stood at a little over Rs8 million. The cost of sales by the business for the year 2018 was around 8.1 million.

In 2019, the documents available with this correspondent show that this watch shop generated a total income of Rs3.38 million with an opening stock of Rs0.85 million and a closing stock of Rs0.93 million.

In 2020, the total income declared by Art of Time was approximately Rs1.7 million with an opening stock of Rs0.93 million and a closing stock of Rs1.8 million. In 2021 and 2022, the watch shop showed a total income of nearly Rs5 million during both these years.

In addition to this, Shafiq’s wealth statement shows that his total assets increased from Rs2.8 million to Rs10.6 million from 2018 to 2022. In 2020, Shafiq also disclosed a 19 tola gold set belonging to his wife but nowhere did he mention the so-called watch bought from Khan, the former prime minister.

Further, the details of Shafiq’s bank account show the highest balance of up to Rs4.5 million from 2019 to 2022. The transaction details also reflect that a maximum of Rs1 million have been withdrawn by Shafiq in these all years.

The jewel-class watch box gifted to Khan by Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman had over 2,000 diamonds weighing almost 41.54 carats in total and was valued at around Rs100 million by the Cabinet Division during Khan’s tenure. Now, the same set is valued at over Rs1.7 billion by TimeZone Watch Ltd, Dubai.

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government contests Imran Khan and Qureshi’s exoneration in the cipher case

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On Thursday, the federal government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court contesting the exoneration of former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the well-known cipher case.

Citing procedural and jurisdictional issues, the Ministry of Interior has appealed the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) ruling.

In hearing the cipher case, the High Court allegedly overreached its power, arguing that judges cannot change laws where Parliament has not expressly passed legislation.

Despite receiving government-funded legal representation, the petition emphasized Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s lack of cooperation during the trial, submitting 65 separate motions and neglecting to cross-examine witnesses.

The petition contended that in order for a retrial to satisfy legal standards, the High Court should have ignored important evidence that was given during the trial. It requests that the appeals contesting the IHC’s June 3 acquittal be given a hearing date by the Supreme Court.

Case history

The cipher issue concerns a supposed diplomatic document that disappeared from Imran Khan’s custody. The cipher allegedly contained threats from the US to remove Khan from office, according to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. Shah Mehmood Qureshi and several aides, including Asad Umar, are named in the First Information Report (FIR) submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in accordance with Section 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Sections 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act.

The then-foreign secretary received a diplomatic cipher from Washington on March 7, 2022, according to the FIR. The lawsuit claims that by manipulating the data for their own benefit, Khan and Qureshi put the safety of the country at risk. It alleges that on March 28, 2022, Khan secretly met at his Bani Gala home and gave his Principal Secretary, Muhammad Azam Khan, instructions to change the content of the cipher to his advantage, jeopardizing national security.

The document asserts that Khan still has custody of the cipher, jeopardizing Pakistan’s encrypted messaging systems and possibly helping foreign forces, which would be detrimental to the nation. A complaint has been filed by the FIA’s Anti-Terrorism Wing against Khan, Qureshi, and other individuals for improper use of state secrets and unapproved possession of the cipher.

Acquittal by the Islamabad High Court

In the cipher case, on June 3, the IHC cleared Khan and Qureshi when Justice Aamir Farooq issued a succinct ruling in their favor. Their sentences were appealed in the case, which has since been a source of political and legal controversy, leading to their acquittal.

This acquittal and the ongoing legal and political struggles surrounding the cipher case are highlighted by the government’s subsequent move to contest it.

With potentially huge ramifications for the parties involved and the larger political scene, the Supreme Court’s decision over whether to hear the appeal will be keenly scrutinized.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urges political stability in order to accelerate economic expansion.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the former prime minister, emphasized on Thursday how important political stability is to Pakistan’s economic development and how the nation cannot prosper without it.

His concern was that export growth had not progressed, and he emphasized that stability in the current climate is vital to draw investments and carry out the necessary reforms.

In his criticism of the tax system, Abbasi brought up the erratic nature of tax laws and the transient nature of the most recent tax slab implementation. Insisting that difficult choices are unavoidable for economic recovery, he emphasized the necessity of designing a tax system that is equitable and does not burden the people.

Furthermore, arguing that the effectiveness of organizations like the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is essential for economic governance and transparency, Abbasi urged for changes within these and other organizations.

Abbasi, in his discussion of more comprehensive fiscal plans, suggested that the National Finance Commission (NFC) award be reviewed again and that power distribution companies (DISCOs) be decentralized to the provinces.

In order to reduce inefficiencies and corruption at the provincial level, he recommended looking into ways to share the cost of defense spending and decentralize the management of energy resources.

In closing, Abbasi emphasized that Pakistan’s economic trajectory will stay stagnant unless comprehensive changes are implemented immediately. To move the nation towards sustainable progress, he urged policymakers to give stability and structural reforms first priority.

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Through in-app QR payments, Zindigi and SBP streamline transactions involving sacrificial animals.

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With its in-app QR code payment system based on Raast, Zindigi—powered by JS Bank—has elevated the convenience of cashless payments for the procurement of sacrificial animals to a whole new level for Eid ul Adha.

This program uses QR code payments to streamline transactions for sacrificed animals for the general public and traders. It is a component of the State Bank of Pakistan’s Raast quick payment service.

This feature enables users of Zindigi and users of any digital banking apps or wallets to safely and easily make payments at certain cattle markets throughout Pakistan using Zindigi QR. The consumer must scan the QR code of the livestock merchant and pay the transaction amount in order to complete the payment.

In order to further financial inclusion and digital innovation in Pakistan’s developing economy, Zindigi and the State Bank of Pakistan have partnered. Both organizations are committed to improving the efficiency and accessibility of financial services, especially on holidays such as Eid ul Adha, by utilizing the most recent developments in fintech.

One of the most important steps toward promoting financial inclusion and economic empowerment at the local level is the integration of livestock markets into the digital economy. Farmers and retailers may take charge of their financial operations and help realize the larger goal of an inclusive digital Pakistan by adopting digital payments.

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