The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) clarified on Saturday that it had not issued any Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) for the import of duty and tax-free bulletproof cars.
"The news that has appeared in various sections of the media is not based on correct facts. The federal cabinet approved a decision in 2019 to allow such [a] facility but no notification to this effect has been issued so far," it stated in a press release.
Dawn earlier cited an official source as saying that retired three- and four-star officers of the armed forces would be able to import duty-free bulletproof vehicles of up to 6,000cc under a policy green-lighted by the federal cabinet, but is subject to approval from the premier.
The facility would also be available to all three services chiefs and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee soon after their retirement, the official said but added that a notification had yet to be released.
Whether the facility would be subject to any condition or apply to only retired offers remains to be seen, according to the report. “We cannot share details right now,” the source said, adding that things would be clear once the notification was issued.
The Dawn report said FBR had delayed releasing the notification after growing criticism on social media over the government’s decision. The notification would now be issued after approval from Prime Minister Secretariat and the finance minister, the source said.
Some other media publications, however, reported that the FBR’s member of customs (Policy) signed an official notification but it was not yet posted on the website.
They stated that all formal permissions had been granted prior to the signing of the notification.
The Dawn report stated that as per the federal cabinet’s in-principle decision, four-star armed forces officers could import two bulletproof vehicles with engine capacity of up to 6,000cc duty-free. Three-star officers would be able to import one duty-free bulletproof vehicle after retirement.
They would not be able to sell these vehicles in the market for five years and without FBR’s approval. But if they wanted to sell a vehicle before that period, they would need to pay all duties and taxes. Moreover, the import of these vehicles would be linked with the defence ministry’s recommendation.
A well-placed source in the FBR told Dawn the decision was taken with approval from the federal cabinet, which had the authority to waive duty and taxes on anything.
Another source claimed that the decision to allow duty-free bulletproof vehicles was earlier taken by the cabinet in 2019. However, he did not elaborate on why the decision was not implemented even after three years.
The decision was originally taken to allow the facility only to those officers who served in major operations and had security issues after their retirement, the source said, adding the facility was not open to all three-star officers of the armed forces.