Lahore - Justice Atir Mahmood of the Lahore High Court on Monday suspended operation of a demand notice issued to Idara Minhajul Quran by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for payment of more than Rs330 million income tax.

The judge placed this order on three applications filed by Minhajul Quran challenging FBR action and claiming that it was a charitable organisation. Justice Atir also restrained the authorities from taking coercive measures against the said institute.

Barrister Ali Zafar, representing Idara Minhajul Quran, said since 1982, the income tax of the parent organisation and all its subsidiaries had been duly checked and assessed by Inland Revenue. The counsel said that the organisation was doing charitable works like running schools, organising blood donations etc.

He argued the impugned demand notice issued by the FBR was illegal and was issued after recent political rivalry between ruling PML-N and Pakistan Awami Tehreek of Dr Tahirul Qadri, who is heading Minhajul Quran as its patron-in-chief / chairman.

The counsel further argued that the demand notice was illegal not only because it had been passed without giving an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner but an amended assessment had also been made by the deputy commissioner, though the law specifically states that any such orders could only be passed by the commissioner.

Barrister Zafar pointed out that no independent body made reassessment and an entire bogus case had been made out by the tax department, therefore the tax demand was mala fide.

After hearing the arguments, Justice Atir Mahmood issued a stay order against the demand notice and stopped the department from taking any measure against the petitioner till the final decision of the case.