ISLAMABAD   -  In order to make the public aware of fraudulent attempts, for looting the money in the name of dams through fictitious and fake accounts, the Supreme Court on Wednesday alerted the donors, saying it did not authorise any individual or group to collect donations.

The top court asked the general public to remain vigilant from traps in the name of fund for construction of dams when Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Jawed Khan affirmatively responded to a four-judge bench that fraudulent had been active for looting the money from public in the name of dams.

The AGP’s response showed agreement with the bench after Justice Faisal Arab, a member of the four-judge bench, pointed out that people had been receiving messages from private numbers for donation of money.  The four-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing the matter of advertisement by UBL and HBL regarding raising of fund for dams by ‘Government of Pakistan’.

The top court also ruled that the contributions made to the fund shall be treated as contributions towards charitable purposes and shall not be liable to any tax/duty whatsoever.

During the course of hearing, the AGP informed the bench that a meeting was convened for ensuring the effective immediate implementation of top court’s order regarding systematic channel for collecting donation for dams.

He submitted the recommendations before the top court after which the bench made the same as part of its order.

According to the written order of the top court, donations can be made at all branches of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), all Treasury Offices and Branches of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) as well as other Banks including Micro Finance Banks.  “Such donations can be made in the form of cash, cheques, pay orders, demand drafts, prize bonds deposited either at the counters or through online transfers. The banks receiving such donations shall provide duly stamped/signed receipts acknowledging receipt of the donations,” the written order stated.

Branches of all banks (15,000 approximately) across the country receiving such deposits shall prominently display banners on their entry points stating that donations / contributions are being received in these branches for the construction of Diamer Bhasha & Mohmand Dams as ordered by the ‘Supreme Court of Pakistan’.

The SBP has set up a Toll Free Helpline No.021-111-723-273 for answering queries as well as receiving complaints from anyone interested in making a donation. Other Banks shall also set up their separate Helplines which will be notified through their advertisements in the Print and Electronic Media, he informed.

An IBAN Number has also been allocated to facilitate receipt of online donations/contributions in the Fund through internet banking and ATMs. This IBAN Number shall be displayed on the websites of the SBP and top court.

Persons wishing to make donations through Credit/Debit Cards may do so without any extra charge on payments made through such Cards if these are issued domestically. However, payments made through credit/debit Cards issued outside Pakistan will be subject to charges (if any) applicable in the respective countries.

“Branchless Banking i.e. Omni/Easy Paisa, etc operated by their approximately 4,00,000 Agents across the country shall be made functional within 48 hours from today. All donations/ contributions received in any form and in any Bank shall within a maximum time of 30 minutes of the transactions be transmitted to the Fund account with the State Bank of Pakistan.” Donations/contributions received by Banks through Debit/Credit Cards transactions and Branchless Banking Agents shall be settled with the SBP within 48 hours.

The SBP shall communicate the amounts received in its account to the Registrar of top court on hourly basis through its data acquisition portal.

“The Pakistani Missions as well as all Branches of Pakistani Banks abroad shall receive donations/contributions. The routing instructions for remittances from abroad shall be displayed on the websites of this Court as well as the State Bank of Pakistan.”

The top court in its written order also directed Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue appropriate directions to the Pakistani Missions abroad in consultation with the SBP for receiving donations / contributions and transmission of the amounts received by them to the designated account of the Fund with the SBP.

“Subscribers of cellular mobile phone companies namely Mobilink (Jazz), Telenor, Zong and Ufone wishing to make donations / contributions may dial short code i.e. 8000 which will result in an automatic deduction of Rs.10/-. The amount so received by the said Companies shall be transferred on daily basis to the Fund with the State Bank of Pakistan. All four cellular mobile phone companies shall display on their websites, the amounts received by them which shall be transferred to the Fund account on daily basis.”

“Aforesaid cellular mobile phone companies have voluntarily undertaken to run a media campaign of 5-8 seconds on the Print and Electronic Media publicizing this initiative.”

“Mobilink (Jazz) and Telenor shall also facilitate receipt of contributions / donations through Jazz Cash and Easy Paisa modes. These companies shall advertise the mode and manner through which contributions/donations through Jazz Cash and Easy Paisa can be made. All amounts received in this regard shall be transferred to the Fund with the State Bank of Pakistan on daily basis.”

“All four cellular mobile phone companies through their respective Banks shall provide details of collections to the Registrar of this Court and shall also display details thereof on their respective websites on daily basis which shall be accessible to the public.”

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has in consultation with the SBP, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and PEMRA prepared an advertisement campaign for the media to increase public awareness which shall be run by all Print and Electronic Media houses/channels/FM Radio Station free of cost as public service messages.

The top court also ruled that PEMRA and the Ministry of Information shall ensure that the media campaign for the Fund run effectively and efficiently and is allocated sufficient time during prime hours for raising public awareness about the “Supreme Court of Pakistan – Diamer Bhasha & Mohmand Dams – Fund”.

The top court also directed Ministry of Law & Justice in consultation with Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to promulgate an Ordinance for making appropriate amendments in different laws including the Income Tax Ordinance to ensure that donations/contributions made to the Fund are not subjected to any taxes or deductions.

The top court directed the ministry of law and justice to introduce such an ordinance which would cater the issues including exemption to any income of “Supreme Court of Pakistan – Diamer Bhasha & Mohmand Dams – Fund, exemption to the Fund from minimum tax on turn over under Section 113 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, exemption from withholding tax on payment received by the Fund. The top court further ruled that all Provincial Governments and their respective Revenue authorities shall provide appropriate exemptions under their respective Laws and if necessary issue appropriate Ordinances.

It also ruled that any person making donations /contributions to the Fund shall not be subjected to any inquiry or probe as to the sources of the funds utilized for making contributions/ donations by any Department, authority or person and the Auditor General of Pakistan as well as all Accountant Generals of the Provinces shall assist the Registrar of top court in maintaining, operating and conducting audits of the Fund from time to time.

The top court observed: “We are confident that the systems being put in place on the recommendation of the Governor, State Bank of Pakistan, various Government Departments as well as representatives of the Cellular Mobile Phone Companies and other experts shall operate smoothly and seamlessly towards achieving the objective of this national cause.”

The matter will again be taken up on July 30”.

Earlier in the day, the employees of top court also announced that all the officers (BS-16 & above) will donate their 2 days’ salary, and the staff (BS-2 to 15), 1 days’ salary of July, 2018, to the Supreme Court of Pakistan Diamer Basha and Mohmand Dam Fund.

 

 

SYED SABEEHUL HUSSNAIN