LAHORE, April 12: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) informed a full bench of the Lahore High Court on Friday that no commercial bank, except one, had shared accounts detail of their customers with it.

FBR Intelligence and Investigation Inland Revenue Director Muhammad Tanvir Akhtar stated before the bench hearing several petitions seeking implementation of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution in the election process that the FBR had no access to information of the account holders as individual but the banks provided the board consolidated statements about them.

The Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited is the only bank that has given the FBR access of its accounts. He said only the State Bank had the access to these accounts.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan heads the bench along with Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi.

Mr Akhtar said that the FBR provided the record of 24,266 candidates to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The record contained NTN (national tax number), income of three years, and tax return. He said that 10,794 candidates did not possess NTN as per their nomination papers. He said the FBR could not find record of any person without an NTN.

The bench directed the FBR to provide the ECP, within three weeks, complete record of tax default of all candidates and also publish the same on website. The bench directed the board to provide record of those candidates by April 17 about who appeals were being heard by election tribunals.

The bench also directed the ECP to get the record from departments concerned about the candidates defaulted on utility bills and submit the same before the court on Monday (April 15). On the request of ECP’s representative, the bench issued notices to SNGPL, Wapda, power distribution companies, PTCL, NTC and Wasa directing them to submit record of their defaulters.

Earlier, senior joint director of State Bank Ali Jafar told the bench that names of all candidates, whose names appeared on the list of defaulters maintained by the Credit Information Bureau, had also been provided to the ECP and was available on its website. Such information also included information relating to written off loans, he said, and added that over 500 cases of candidates/members of their families had been found to be defaulters.

Syed Faisal Raza Bokhari, NAB counsel, said that information regarding 23,599 candidates had been provided to the ECP. The bench noted that there appeared to be a difference in the total number of cases sent by the ECP (24,094) and the number mentioned by NAB. The bench asked the counsel to clarify the differential as to why information regarding the rest of the candidates had not been furnished.

During the hearing, Justice Ahsan remarked that the judiciary fully supported the democratic process and efforts of the ECP. He said the election process would not be stopped or interrupted under any circumstances. Justice Ahsan said the ECP was trying to hold fair, free and transparent elections on time despite time constraints and logistical issues.

The judge dispelled an impression and remarked that there was no question of stopping the election process by the court for any reason.

The bench directed the SBP, FBR, NAB and other agencies of the government to support the ECP.

Lahore High Court Bar Association’s President Abid Saqi, additional attorney general Syed Abdul Hayee Gilani and deputy attorney general Nasim Kashmiri, assistant advocate general Shan Gul also made their submissions on the matter. The hearing was adjourned till April 15.


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