ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the Ministry of Law & Justice to promulgate an ordinance after consulting the Federal Board of Revenue to make appropriate amendments in different laws — including the Income Tax Ordinance — to ensure that donations/contributions made to the ‘Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams Fund’ are not subjected to any taxes or deductions.
A four-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, also passed a comprehensive order regarding the collection of funds.
The order says that the contributions made to the fund shall be treated as contributions towards charitable purposes and shall not be liable to any tax or duty.
The ordinance shall also cater for the exemption to any income of, “Supreme Court of Pakistan – Diamer-and Mohmand Dams – Fund, exemption to the Fund from minimum tax on turn over under Section 113 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, exemption from withholding tax on payment received by the fund, all provincial governments and their respective Revenue authorities shall provide appropriate exemptions under their respective Laws and if necessary issue appropriate Ordinances, any person making donations/contributions to the Fund shall not be subjected to any inquiry or probe as to the sources of the funds utilised for making contributions/ donations by any Department, authority or person; and the Auditor General of Pakistan as well as all Accountant Generals of the Provinces shall assist the Registrar of this Court in maintaining, operating and conducting audits of the Fund from time to time.
The order noted that the court on July 4 emphasised the urgent need for construction of Dams and appealed to the Nation to make its contribution in a fund being established for this purpose by way of donations for this National cause.
“The State Bank of Pakistan has accordingly set up an account titled, “Supreme Court of Pakistan – Diamer Bhasha & Mohmand Dams – Fund”.
The order says that donations can be made at all branches of the State Bank of Pakistan, all treasury offices and branches of National Bank of Pakistan as well as other banks — including Micro Finance Banks.
The order says that the State Bank of Pakistan has set up a toll-free helpline: 021-111-723-273, for answering queries as well as receiving complaints from anyone interested in making a donation.
Other banks shall also set up their separate helplines which will be notified through their advertisements in the Print and Electronic Media.
“An IBAN number has also been allocated to facilitate receipt of online donations/contributions in the Fund through internet banking and ATMs. This IBAN Number shall be displayed on the websites of the State Bank of Pakistan and the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is directed to issue appropriate directions to the Pakistani missions abroad in consultation with the State Bank of Pakistan for receiving donations and transmission of the amounts received by them to the designated account of the Fund with the State Bank of Pakistan.
Subscribers of cellular mobile phone companies wishing to make donations may dial the shortcode 8000 which will result in an automatic deduction of Rs10.
The amount so received shall be transferred on a daily basis to the fund with the State Bank of Pakistan.
The court further said that Jazz and Telenor shall also facilitate receipt of donations through Jazz Cash and Easy Paisa.
The order says that the court has not authorised any individual or group, etc., to collect donations.
During the hearing, the State Bank governor told the bench that Pakistan is facing Rs24.4 trillion public debt.
The chief justice observed that after the establishment of the fund for the construction of dams, they will focus how public debt will be cleared. The hearing of the case was adjourned till July 30.