Pakistan News

PCB-excise department row: Gaddafi Stadium sealed for three hours

PCB-excise department row: Gaddafi Stadium sealed for three hours

LAHORE: Excise and Taxation Department of Punjab officials accompanied by dozens of police officers sealed the Gaddafi Stadium here on Thursday morning, claiming to be acting in accordance with the orders of the Lahore High Court pertaining to application of property tax.

“Following the unseemly haste, the main gate of the Stadium was however unsealed by the Excise and Taxation Department officials after about three hours and the Board officials filtered into their offices to resume their daily routine after nearly an hour’s uncertainty and delay,” a press release issued by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) stated on Thursday.

“Since on PCB’s appeal the court had only allowed property tax from 2002 to 2004, instead of 1996-2004 which was the Excise & Taxation Department’s original plea, fresh notices calculated in terms of the judgment of the Lahore High Court were yet to be issued,” the statement said.

“Also the judgment of the Honourable Justice Ibad-ur-Rehman Lodhi had not been signed till after the GSL was sealed by the Excise Department,” the PCB noted with regret.

“We shall abide by the verdict of the court after our legal department has gone through the detailed judgment,” the PCB chairman said in the statement.

“The PCB is a law abiding organisation which duly pays all its taxes; we are perhaps the most taxed sports organisation in the entire country. To the Punjab government, the PCB pays tens of millions as commercialization fee annually at the rate of 20 per cent of revenue,” he further said.

“Also, the PCB is the only sports organisation in the country that does not seek any assistance from either federal or provincial governments.

“At the moment the PCB is engaged with Cricket Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe is about to become the first team in six years to visit Pakistan. The revival of international cricket in Pakistan is the desire of every Pakistani. At such an auspicious occasion, sending such a negative signal to the international cricketing community is not in consonance with promoting the national cause,” said the statement.

Interestingly, the Lahore High Court issued the orders on Wednesday and Excise Department Punjab without giving proper time to the PCB to deposit the taxes sealed PCB’s offices the very next day.

Certainly, the act on part of the excise department has earned nothing positive for the image of Pakistan which is going to host Zimbabwe this month to revive international cricket.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2015

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