LHC ruling: Sharifs win income tax case after 19 years

Published: August 4, 2015
Appeal filed in 1996 against assessment of Rs650 million income tax during PPP government. PHOTO: FILE

Appeal filed in 1996 against assessment of Rs650 million income tax during PPP government. PHOTO: FILE


After a 19-year long legal battle, the Sharif family finally got its appeal accepted against “wrongful assessment” of income tax.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has suspended the 1989 verdict by Income Tax Appellant Tribunal against the Sharif family and the directors of Ittefaq Foundries. The court also accepted all appeals filed by the Sharif family in this regard.

A division bench of LHC has allowed an appeal filed by the Sharif family in 1996 against assessment by the Income Tax Department and subsequent decisions taken by a tax appellate tribunal upholding assessment for the year 1988-89.

Read: 150 mega scams: Sharif brothers, Zardari feature in NAB report

The assessment and subsequent appeals remained subject of political interference during the governments of PPP and PML-N.

The appellants are Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Farooq Barkat, Iqbal Barkat, Hassan Barkat, Hussain Barkat, Zahid Shafi, Javed Shafi, Tariq Shafi, Pervez Shafi, Idrees Bashir, Aslam Bashir and Ittefaq Textile Mills.

The appellants said that the Income Tax Department had assessed the liability of the Ittefaq Group and its directors at Rs20 million, but the tax was raised to Rs400 million during late Benazir Bhutto’s first government in 1988. They said, on appeal before the department, during Nawaz Sharif’s first government in 1990, the amount was slashed to Rs20 million.

However, they said, during Benazir’s second tenure as premier in 1993, the Income Tax Department moved a second appeal and raised the tax amount to Rs650 million.

The appellants said the objection on assessment was raised after over 40 months instead of the 60-day stipulated period and was therefore illegal and asked the court to declare the assessment illegal.

Condoning the delay

The reference application by the Sharif family was admitted for regular hearing on June 9, 1996 and continued over the years till today.

On Monday, a bench comprising Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh and Justice Shahid Karim heard arguments on whether the income tax tribunal was justified in condoning the delay in filing the appeals.

Counsel for the Income Tax Department appealed that the appellants exercised political influence and had successfully manoeuvred their way out of the liability.

Read: Sharif family paid Rs5.2 billion debt, never asked banks to write-off loans

However, the bench observed that the department had failed to establish that action had been taken against any of the department’s functionaries for recalcitrance and negligence. It further observed that the counsel for the department had not been able to produce evidence showing that the appellants had exercised political influence before the tribunal.

The bench allowed the appeal and set aside the impugned decisions of the Income Tax Tribunal passed on July 16, 1995 and December 2, 1995.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2015. 

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Aug 4, 2015 - 9:06AM

    It is always easy for OUR RULERS to have CLEAN CHITS in their REIGNS ONLY.

  • Sam
    Aug 4, 2015 - 9:11AM

    Yep… Rich and corrupt always go unpunished. Might as well make it official. Why we even have courts. Recommend

  • Muhammad
    Aug 4, 2015 - 9:14AM

    LHC is well known for letting off the Sharifs. Remember Justice Qayyum!Recommend

  • raider
    Aug 4, 2015 - 9:14AM

    this is how powerful are being freed by courts due to lack of evidences and poor prosecution on the parts of institutions under direct control of ruling elite, after 19 years what would have happened to evidences files and witness need not to make understand any sane. they loot and plunder in one term and get themselves clean in 2nd term.Recommend

  • raider
    Aug 4, 2015 - 9:28AM

    their real asylum is cellRecommend

  • Aug 4, 2015 - 10:07AM

    nawaz and shahbaz shareef great leader love you nawaz sirRecommend

  • Aug 4, 2015 - 10:09AM

    nawaz shareef and shahbaz shareef great leaders I love you sir Recommend

  • A Peshawary
    Aug 4, 2015 - 10:58AM

    This how the legal system generally works in Pakistan and Particularly in Lahore. The best example of Bench and Bar cooperation under the shadow of corporate and government umbrella.

    The Shrif’s and Zardari’s always clinch the civilian governments one way or an other to clear their cases when in power.

    A PeshawaryRecommend

  • Pakistan
    Aug 4, 2015 - 11:29AM

    And the Judges are not even ashamed? This is the worst sign for a degenerated society and ruling elite, if you call them one.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Aug 4, 2015 - 1:04PM

    His government….his bureaucracy…..his courts……his ruling…….nothing new.Recommend

  • Shafiullah Shirazi
    Aug 4, 2015 - 1:15PM

    nothing new….nothing surprising…… every one around the globe knows except our courts….They need prooooooof man…..Long live Pakistan…..Recommend

  • Shakil
    Aug 4, 2015 - 1:32PM

    Sharifs will be innocent in all cases while they are in government! Thats what they do, loot and plunder, next government clear all the cases and cycle goes on!
    They dont get disqualified! Court always provide them cover they need.Recommend

  • well wisher
    Aug 4, 2015 - 1:47PM

    people destroy every year in salab make dam to servive our people Recommend

  • z
    Aug 4, 2015 - 4:18PM

    Every true Pakistani knows that these all were politically motivated cases against Sharif brothers. There was no substance in it at all. Even Gen(r) Musharraf could not prove these. However, for those who still don’t believe that justice was not done, they can still request to re-open the cases. But don’t rely on mere allegations and please come up with some concrete evidences. Please do not create further confusions. Pakistan Zindabad, PM Paindabad.Recommend

  • Justice for all
    Aug 4, 2015 - 9:45PM

    Nothing new to be discussed as it is traditional.
    These leaders always win their pending cases during the term of their rule.
    BRAVO to the prosecutars lawyers and the lower staff of the judiciary who prolong the cases with intention that these cases are heard and finalized during the term of their rule. Recommend

  • Lord of the Ring
    Aug 5, 2015 - 1:04PM

    Of course he won

    Courts are very sharif

    Sharifs always win in courts

    and innocent commoners toil for years in jails and courtsRecommend

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