LAHORE, July 11: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday ordered the Ministry of Religious Affairs to submit a report about defaulter Haj tour operators in the light of reports of the Income Tax Department, the State Bank of Pakistan and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

The CJ also directed the ministry to submit an action plan about allocating Hajj quota to the newly-registered tour operators after cancelling quota of defaulters. Earlier, a secretary for Federal Board of Revenue Basit Ali Shah and legal adviser to income tax department, Ilyas Khan appeared before the court. Mr Ilyas said he had gathered information about 160 companies out of 729 which had submitted income tax returns.

He said tax of Rs70.20 million had been collected from these companies. He said details about other companies were being gathered and would be given to court.

The chief justice observed that allocation of Hajj quota to defaulter tour operators tainted the whole process of awarding quota. He directed the court ministry to explain as to how quota was awarded to the defaulter companies.

The CJ was hearing contempt of court petitions against the alleged discrimination on part of the ministry in award of quota. These petitions were filed by new tour operators. The chief justice adjourned further hearing till July 18. — Staff Reporter

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