ISLAMABAD     -   The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday reserved its verdict in a petition challenging the appointment of Syed Shabbar Zaidi as Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition and reserved the decision after hearing of the arguments of both the sides.

During the hearing, Justice Athar remarked that the country was facing economic crunch and it had to be seen that whether court could control the financial crisis.

He added that if the appointment was set aside, then the court would be declared as responsible. He continued that the executive must took this decision after consideration. The IHC Chief Justice said that the matter should be raised in Parliament through lawmakers as both the executive and the Parliament were answerable to public.

Petitioner Ali Muhammad, a grade-19 officer of Inland Revenue, had moved the petition through his counsel Saeed Ahmad Zaidi Advocate under Article 199 of Constitution. In his petition, Ali adopted that the respondents have wilfully committed contempt of this Court (IHC) by violating its judgment dated 05-06-2013. He prayed to the Court to declare Shabbar Zaidi’s appointment illegal, without any lawful authority and of no legal effect and void ab-initio. He requested the court to set aside the impugned notification No.34/1/2018-E-1 dated 09-05-2019 appointing Zaidi as FBR chief.

The petitioner said that according to the law declared by this Court under the FBR Act, 2007, a person from private sector may be appointed chairman FBR in exceptional and extraordinary circumstances through a duly advertised competitive process.

Supreme Court in Tariq Azizuddin, Anita Turab, Muhammad Yasin and Hajj corruption cases laid down guidelines for selection and appointments against top level posts in the government and the public sector organizations.

Ali contended that the federal government in 2012, in similar manner, had appointed Arshad Ali Hakim on two years contract, from private sector, as chairman FBR. However, his appointed was set aside by this Court vide judgment 2013 PLC (CS) 1463.

The petitioner maintained that the Shabbir’s appointment was made in a non-transparent manner based on likes and dislikes and without any advertisement and mandatory competitive selection process and in disregard of merit.