PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has issued a stay order against the recovery of different taxes by the Tribal Areas Electric Supply Company (Tesco) from a marble factory in Bajaur tribal district and asked the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to respond to a petition on the matter within a fortnight.

A bench consisting of Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Syed Arshad Ali also ordered the clubbing of the petition of the Imtiaz Khan Marble Factory with similar ones for a joint hearing.

The hearing schedule will be issued afterward.

The marble factory had insisted that it was not liable to pay variety of taxes imposed in the electricity bills for being located in the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

It requested the court to declare that the imposition of sales, income, further, extra and other taxes in the electricity bills is illegal and against the commitments made by the government at the time of the passage of the Constitution (Twenty Fifth Amendment) Act, 2018, and a notification issued on Oct 5, 2018.

The petitioner prayed the court to direct the respondents, including FBR and Tesco, to send power bills to it without including those taxes.

It also sought an interim relief from the court in the form of a stay order against the recovery of the taxes until the final disposal of the petition.

Manzoor Bashir Tanghi, lawyer for the petitioner, said his client was a consumer of Tesco and regularly paid bills but was surprised to receive electricity bill for Nov 2020 showing heavy amount under the heads of income tax, sales tax, fuel surcharge, extra tax and further tax without any legal justification.

The lawyer said his client was a manufacturing unit, which did its business in the erstwhile Fata.

He said the petitioner had explained to the relevant Tesco officials that for being an industrial unit in the former Fata, the consumption of electricity by it was not amenable to the levy of any income tax or sales tax, as the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, and Sales Tax Act, 1990, weren’t extended to the region.

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2021

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