Justice Isa’s wife accuses FBR officers of acting on ‘instructions’

Updated 31 Jul 2020

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Sarina says she is still waiting for answers to her earlier questions to FBR. — APP/File
Sarina says she is still waiting for answers to her earlier questions to FBR. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The wife of Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court on Thursday accused the officers of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) of losing their credibility and ability to act independently.

“Clearly, they are acting on instructions,” Sarina Isa alleged in a one-page statement issued to the media, highlighting how she personally delivered again her July 21 letter to FBR Commissioner Zulfiqar Ahmed that she wrote in reply to his “rejoinder”.

In the letter, she reproduced the 12 queries she had raised in her first letter written on July 9. “I am still waiting for the answers,” she said in the statement, adding that she had also requested for copies of her tax declarations which she did not have as the gentleman who used to file her tax declarations through Rehan Hasan Naqvi, had passed away.

Not providing copies of her own returns was troubling because the FBR was referring to the returns which they said she had filed when she stopped working and had no taxable income, Ms Isa feared, adding that this was alarming and suggested “manufacturing”.

She said she had also informed the FBR about the filing of a review petition in the Supreme Court on July 20 in which she made serious allegations against certain officers of the FBR and members of the present government like Law Minister Dr Farogh Nasim, Commissioner (IR) Zulfikar Ahmad, Dr Mohammad Ashfaq Ahmed and Manzoor Ahmed Kayani.

Sarina says she is still waiting for answers to her earlier questions

These allegations comprised 18 paragraphs in the statement she submitted to the FBR on July 9, Ms Isa said, adding that these paragraphs were supported with the FBR’s and government’s own documents. But there has been no response, she added.

She said she had also pointed out the obvious disparity in language between the earlier notice and the FBR’s rejoinder, both under Zulfiqar Ahmed’s signature which, she feared, were not written by the same person. Again no explanation was offered, the statement said.

Ms Isa said she had also pointed out how allegedly mockery of the word “confidential” was made when an open envelope and its “confidential” contents on full display were pasted on the gate of her husband’s official residence.

“I had in writing informed Zulfiqar Ahmed that I will have no option but to release my letter of July 21 so that the people could judge for themselves; but I still waited expecting to be given copies of the returns I am said to have filed and some reasonable explanation about my concerns but none has come after a week’s passage,” she added.

In her July 21 letter, Ms Isa had regretted that rather than appreciating people voluntarily coming forward to declare their income and paying taxes, they were attacked. “Or is it because I am a woman and the misogynist coterie does not respect women’s independent financial status?”

She asked as to how many non-salaried women in Pakistan paid taxes. “I did not want to drag anyone into this but I have had enough of being spied on, abused and harassed for the last year and made to feel like a common criminal,” she regretted.

“Please do not blame me if all that I ask FBR is to provide me copies of the income tax records of the prime minister, Abdul Wah­eed Dogar, Mirza Shahzad Akbar, Farogh Naseem, Anwar Mansoor, Dr Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed, and whether they show the properties of their wives and children in their tax papers,” she said in her July 21 letter.

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2020