LAHORE - An LHC judge Wednesday came down hard on Federal Board of Revenue for its officials dillydallying.

“Prima facie, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is being run  on the pattern  of rowdyism as there is no policy to run the institution,” Justice Shahid Jamil Khan remarked while hearing petitions challenging FBR sales tax recovery through electricity bills.

“As there is no policy to run the institution therefore pending cases are delayed. The biggest issue of the country is that continuity is not maintained in policies and these change just with change of the institution chief. The FBR is the backbone of country’s economy and instead of making new taxpayers part of the system, their neck is being clutched,” the judge added.

“Court cannot tolerate the attitude of throwing files in dustbin,” court further remarked. FBR Chairman Tariq Pasha appeared before the court and tendered unconditional apology for ignoring court orders. The judge said: “Country was derailed by offering apologies. Now someone will be made a fearful example for others to save the future of our next generation.” The court asked as to why the law of giving status of NTN number to National ID cards has not been implemented.

The FBR chairman said an implementation plan was evolved with Nadra but the work would start in two months.

The court ordered the FBR chief to make policy for disposing of all appeals within three months and sought implementation report upon law of changing national identity cards of Pakistanis into national tax number.

Reserved

The Lahore High Court on Wednesday reserved judgment on a petition filed against appointment of senior journalist Absar Alam as chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).  Justice Shahid Karim was hearing the petition moved by Amina Malik, a local citizen.

During the proceedings, PEMRA’s lawyer Ali Shah Gillani concluded his arguments and defended appointment of Mr. Alam as Chairman of the authority.

He pleaded the court to give him more time to submit record regarding his appointment as he was due to submit these documents on Wednesday.  However, Justice Karim rejected his plea and observed that if there was any such record it should have been submitted earlier.  Azhar Siddique, the counsel of the petitioner, however, opposed the stance of the authority’s counsel and said that the petition had been pending for last two years. He said the record was sought earlier but the counsel had failed to submit the same.

Justice Karim observed that, at this stage, the hearing could not be adjourned. However, the judge allowed the Pemra’s lawyer to submit reply within a day or two.

The petitioner had questioned the appointment of Absar Alam saying that it was against the merit. She said the post of the authority is very important but Absar Alam does not meet the criteria required for the post. She said that the chairman, under question, had been drawing Rs 1.5 million as per month salary besides many other perks and privileges. She said post of Pemra’s chairman was equal to MP-I (Management Position) Scale while maximum salary for such scale was Rs 450,000.

The petitioner said that Absar Alam was simple B.A and lacked the required qualification for the said post. Thus, she said, his appointment reflects violation of merit and nepotism. The post is permanent but the government filled it with temporary appointment, the petitioner said.

She further submitted that the government also relaxed education criteria for the post to accommodate the respondent. She prayed the court to set aside appointment of Absar Alam as Pemra Chairman.

Ends/ Nov 29-2017- FIDA