Rule of law: Lawyers ransack income tax commissioner’s office

The building was later shut down over security concerns

Shamsul Islam July 13, 2015
The building was later shut down over security concerns. PHOTO: EXPRESS


Scores of lawyers on Monday ransacked the income tax commissioner’s office, broke windowpanes and manhandled staff.

A lawyer and three Income Tax Department workers were injured in the scuffle.

Witnesses said a group of income tax lawyers argued with Income Tax Commissioner Nasir Khan, saying he was delaying their cases and raising unnecessary objections to their clients’ appeals.

They said the lawyers became violent and attacked the commissioner, who was moved out from his office and taken to another room. They said the lawyers damaged furniture and broke windows. They also manhandled staff at the office, witnesses said.

Several members of the District Bar Association later gathered at the Income Tax Complex to protest against the commissioner.

Security guards shut gates of the complex and did not allow anyone to enter the building.

The lawyers stood outside and chanted slogans against the commissioner. They said income tax officials had misbehaved with their colleagues and should apologise.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Assistant Commissioner Sajjad Amjad said the lawyers had created a law and order situation and should be taken to task.

He said the commissioner had recovered Rs850 million on account of tax evasion, of which Rs350 million had been recovered from the textile sector. He said appeals in many of these cases had been dismissed by Lahore High Court.

He said the FBR Headquarters had been informed about the incident and a complaint had been moved against the lawyers at Civil Lines police.He said the Punjab Bar Council would also be asked to take disciplinary action against those who had vandalised the office, damaged furniture and intimidated the staff.

Talking to The Express Tribune, District Bar Association president Muhammad Ayub Sialvi said the Income Tax Bar Association had its office at the Income Tax Complex.

He said the income tax authorities had illegally confined a dozen lawyers for an hour and a half.

“When we reached the building, the commissioner refused to resolve the issue amicably,” he said.

He said the Income Tax Bar Association had gotten a stay order against evacuation of lawyers from their office. He said staff of the income tax office had been rude to the lawyers and had told them to vacate the premises. He said when the lawyers protested, they had damaged their desks.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2015. 

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