IHC to decide on petition against FBR chief tomorrow

Updated May 19, 2019

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Ali Mohammad, an officer of Grade 19 of FBR’s Inland Service, has filed the petition against Zaidi’s appointment. — DawnNewsTV/File
Ali Mohammad, an officer of Grade 19 of FBR’s Inland Service, has filed the petition against Zaidi’s appointment. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will decide on Monday maintainability of a petition filed by a senior officer of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) against the appointment of the board chairman Syed Shabbar Zaidi.

IHC single member bench comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb will hear the petition.

IHC registrar office on Saturday issued a cause list in this regard.

Ali Mohammad, an officer of Grade 19 of FBR’s Inland Service, has filed the petition against Zaidi’s appointment.

He said the appointment was made in contravention to the criteria laid down by the superior courts for filling such positions.

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 judgment 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 judgments 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.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2019