Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Tuesday ordered controversial ‘IT company’ Axact to submit its tax records for the last 10 years.
Justice Nisar passed the order while hearing an appeal filed by Axact against a Supreme Court (SC) verdict in a suo motu case concerning the fake degree scandal that emerged in 2015 and has engulfed the company ever since.
In January, the chief justice had claimed that the nation’s “heads were bowed in shame” because of the scandal and had ordered Axact Chief Executive Officer Shoaib Shaikh to submit a written response on the matter.
The company, along with its response, filed an appeal against the suo motu as well. Shaikh, meanwhile, remains in the custody of the Federal Investigation Agency in relation to a money laundering case.
During proceedings, Justice Nisar also questioned the source of funds for Bol Network — which is owned by Axact — asking how the channel was able to sustain itself when it did not have any monetary reserves and was not even taking advertisements.
He subsequently suggested that an audit of the company be conducted by the Federal Bureau of Revenue and said that a representative of the body should be summoned to court.
“We should know where the company is getting the money from,” Justice Nisar said. “They [the owners] should not be worried if they haven’t done anything wrong.”
The CJP’s questions about the company’s finances were prompted by a group of Bol Network employees who claimed that they had not been paid by the channel.
When Justice Nisar ordered Bol Network to clear all of its employees’ dues, he was told that the channel did not have the resources to do so.
The CJP, however, dismissed the argument made by Bol Network’s counsel, who claimed the channel did not have resources to pay its employees.
The CJP contended that the company could pay its staff from the money that is being spent to run the channel.
A representative of the employees told the SC that a total of 300 members of staff were not being paid.
However, they could not mention the exact sum that had been withheld by the channel, which irked the chief justice, who said that the court could not provide relief unless it had exact figures.
Assuring the employees’ counsel that a date for the Bol Network’s employees’ case would be fixed, the CJP told the petitioners to come prepared once a date was decided.
The hearing was adjourned indefinitely.