LAHORE -

Excise and Taxation Department has abolished the duties of Assistant Excise & Taxation Officer (AETO) in hotels leaving Excise and Taxation Officer (ETO) to monitor sales of liquor in all five and three stars hotels in the city. Sources in the E&T department said that AETO were involved in corruption regarding illegal sale of liquor in hotels and once they were appointed as AETO they were not ready to leave the posting even after promotion.

An Excise and Taxation official seeking anonymity said that in all hotels liquor was being sold even beyond the limits of permits issued to the minorities’. He said that there were 10000 permits issued to the minorities’ members and against each permit six bottles of liquor were supposed to be issued. Sources said that Rs225 excise duty was supposed to be imposed on every bottle of liquor and if we calculate all Excise duty collected on total sale of liquor during throughout the year it will not be more than Rs350 millions. But duty being collected by all points of the Punjab was even more than 800 millions.

Sources said the Punjab government itself encouraged earning revenue beyond the target set in accordance with permits issued to the minorities and other pharmacists and factory owners who use alcohol for different purpose. In the city the management of all three and five stars hotels is in illegal sale of liquor in presence of AETOs and ETOs. AETO Naseerud Din and Sohail Butt were removed from Hotels duty a couple of days back due to increasing complaints of corruption.

Another E&T officer said minority members who have issued permits of liquor also sale liquor after getting it issued from hotel. They all do this business with the connivance of excise and taxation staff, local police and hotel management.

On the other hand certain minority groups flay the issuance of liquor permits saying that they believed alcohol was not allowed in Christianity. When this scribe tried to contact ETO Khalid Bajwa in his office he was not available to comment and his cell phone remained unattended despite repeated attempts.