Pakistan News

Appointment of FBR chief challenged

ISLAMABAD: An officer of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Friday challenged the appointment of Shabbar Zaidi as FBR chairman in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

Petitioner Ali Mohammad, a grade 19 officer of the FBR’s Inland Revenue Service, cited Mr Zaidi, the FBR and the secretary of establishment division as respondents in the petition.

The petitioner contended that he “is a senior officer of Inland Revenue Service and has legitimate expectation for promotion in due course to the post of chairman FBR which is the top slot in the hierarchy of his service”.

Petitioner, a grade 19 officer, claims he has legitimate expectation of promotion to post of FBR chairman

Referring to the notification issued by the establishment division regarding appointment of Mr Zaidi as FBR chairman on “honorary basis / pro bono basis”, the petitioner claimed that the appointment was made in sharp contrast to the mandatory competitive process.

The petition states that Mr Zaidi has been working in the private sector as a partner of a firm of professional chartered accountants and by virtue of his profession, he “has been regularly representing taxpayers in tax matters before the FBR and its subordinate tax authorities”.

According to the petition, the FBR is an important organisation of the government entrusted with tax policy formulation, tax administration and tax collection functions. It is also an organisation of national importance and sensitivity on which the state depends for its revenue.

Citing an earlier judgement in which the IHC had set aside the appointment of Ali Arshad Hakeem as FBR chairman, the petition said that Mr Hakeem was also appointed from the private sector but the court had struck down his appointment.

The petition claimed that the establishment division “has once again, almost in the same fashion, arbitrarily picked up for appointment the respondent no. 3 [Shabbar Zaidi] in an illegal manner, in excess of its jurisdiction and in violation of express provisions of law, constitution and judgements of the Supreme Court as well as this court [IHC]”. It added that “the appointment has been 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”.

The petition requested the court to set aside the notification for the appointment of Mr Zaidi as the FBR chairman.

Meanwhile, a petition seeking disqualification of federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri has also been filed in the IHC.

The petition has been filed by Hazrat Hussain and Shah Nawaz Khan, residents of Jamrud tehsil of Khyber Agency. They cited the Election Commission of Pakistan, Tribal Electric Supply Company, Sub Divisional Officer Tesco and Mr Qadri as respondents.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2019

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