GUJRAT: Police on Wednesday booked a furniture manufacturer, management and workers of different furniture-making companies for snatching and setting the confiscated record ablaze along GT Road on Tuesday.

The case was registered under sections 6/7 ATA, 395, 436, 186, 353, 147, 149 and 342 of Pakistan Penal Code on the report of intelligence wing of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

On the other hand, scores of people from furniture, electric fans and pottery sectors staged a protest demonstration at the Gujrat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GTCCI) office on Wednesday against what they termed an act of harassment by the FBR.

On Tuesday, an FBR intelligence wing team headed by an assistant director from Lahore had raided the NM Furnishers located along GT Road on information of tax evasion.

The team confiscated at least 50 computers, 70 files of sales tax, 30 bundles of miscellaneous record of the company. As soon as the officials boarded their vehicles, a number of workers of different factories gathered at the site, snatched the record, set it ablaze and smashed the windscreen of an official vehicle.

The FBR team was allegedly held hostage; however area police rescued them.

As per the case lodged by FBR Assistant Director Umar Mahmood Butt with Rehmania police, it was Amjad Farooq, the recently elected chief of the Gujrat Citizen Police Liaison Committee (CPLC), who instigated the workers to attack the taxmen.

Abid Farooq, the chief executive of the company which was raided, is the youngest brother of Amjad Farooq who also owns another furniture showroom adjacent to the raided firm.

The case has been registered against former GTCCI president Ansar Mahmood Ghuman, his scion Ali Ansar Ghuman, the chairman of All Pakistan Furniture Manufacturers Association, Rizwan Amjad, Usman Arshad, Salman Arshad and 15 other nominated men besides some 400 unidentified workers of five furniture factories located near Juliani. Gujrat CPLC chief Amjad Farooq is a known political figure of Gujrat having personal ties with MNA Hamza Shahbaz Sharif and efforts are on to pressurise the FBR and Gujrat police to either withdraw the case or rescind ATA section. According to sources, Farooq has approached the law minister to help him resolve the issue.

Earlier in the day, the local business community staged a strong protest at GTCCI with its President Mian Muhammad Ijaz in the chair against the raid. PML-N Gujrat district general secretary ex-MPA Haji Nasir Mahmood, who is also the head of the ruling Shaheen Group of chamber, expressed solidarity with GTCCI by attending the protest meeting.

Later on, a chamber delegation called on Gujrat DPO Rai Zameerul Haq and apprised him of the business community’s concerns over the criminal case.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2016

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