The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday suspended the operation of a demand notice issued to Minhajul Quran by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for the payment of over Rs330 million in income tax.
Barrister Ali Zafar – who argued on behalf of Minhajul Quran – confirmed the petitioner was a charitable organisation headed by Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri. He added that since 1982 the income tax of the organisation had been assessed by Inland Revenue on the basis that they were performing charitable works and contributing to philanthropic ventures.
The counsel added that the demand notice was issued in the wake of the recent political rivalry between the PML-N and the PAT chief. He said the demand notice was illegal, because it did not provide an opportunity for a hearing to the petitioner.
Interestingly, the assessment had been made by the deputy commissioner rather than the commissioner. As a result, the notice was invalid under the law.
Barrister Zafar said that no independent body had made any reassessments. On the contrary, an entirely false case had been made out by the tax department. The counsel insisted that the demand for tax payment was mala fide and ought to be revoked.
Justice Atir Mahmood suspended the operation of the demand notice and restrained the department from coercive measures against the petitioner until the court takes a decision on the matter.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2014.
Correction: An earlier version of the story mistakenly referred to PAT Chief Tahirul Qadri as the PTI chief. The error is regretted.