ISLAMABAD: The government is looking for a new chairman for the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), an official told Dawn on Saturday.

The incumbent, Dr Mohammad Irshad, is going to retire on June 30. Dr Irshad reached the pension age in April, but was given an extension until June 30 to finalise the budget for 2017-18.

Informed sources told Dawn that several senior officials are vying for the lucrative post and are getting in touch with PML-N bigwigs to get it.

The position has gained more importance as a joint investigation team is currently looking into the assets of the prime minister’s family. “This post has now become very sensitive,” an official of the FBR said.

“Only a trusted officer will be posed as the FBR chairman,” the official said, adding that the government will not take any decision in haste.

The FBR is currently facing the daunting task of achieving the revenue collection target of Rs4 trillion for the next fiscal year.

Sources said a BS-21 officer of the Pakistan Customs, Shaukat Ali, was one of the top contenders for the slot. He is currently posted as director general at the Directorate of Intell­igence and Investigation. The top officer of the Inland Revenue Service (IRS), Khawaja Tanveer, is another candidate.

IRS Member (Operations) Rehmatullah Wazir is also vying for the top post.

Tariq Pasha, who is currently posted as secretary at the Economic Affairs Division, is a strong candidate for FBR chairman as well as finance secretary.

“Mr Pasha will be considered for the FBR position in case the government posts someone else as finance secretary,” the source said.

Mr Pasha enjoys a good working relationship with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

There are many BPS-22 officers in the customs and IRS, but they have already been sidelined. “You need the right connection for a posting to the top slot,” the source said.

There are some officers belonging to the Pakistan Administrative Services (PAS) who are also approaching high-ups in this regard. It is expected that more names will come up next week.

“Selecting the FBR chairman is the sole discretion of the finance minister,” the source said, adding that two senior government officers are approaching the high-ups for the FBR posting.

Many federal secretaries who hail from Lahore are in the running, the source said.

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2017

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