LAHORE: Justice Atir Mahmood of the Lahore High Court on Monday suspendedoperation of a demand notice issued to Minhajul Quran International by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for payment of income tax of more than Rs 330 million.The judge ruled that no coercive measures be taken against the organisation for recovery of demanded taxes during the pendency of the petition.
Barrister Syed Ali Zafar, counsel for Minhajul Quran International and its subsidiary organisations, challenged the validity of demand notice for payment of income tax of more than Rs 330 million.
He submitted that Minhajul Quran International was a charitable organisation headed by its patron-in-chief and chairman Prof Dr Tahirul Qadri. Since 1982 till to-date, he said, the income tax of all these organisations have been duly assessed by the Inland Revenue on the basis that these organisations were doing charitable works like running schools, organising blood donation camps etc.
He submitted that political rivalry had recently been developed between the PML-N and Dr Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and, as retaliation, the government machinery was being used to pressurise, threaten and coerce Dr Qadri to give up his political struggle.
As a result of this, he said, the FBR had issued demand notice for recovery of taxes for the past years in an attempt to freeze and confiscate all of the accounts of the petitioner organisations.
He submitted that this demand notice was illegal not only because it had been issued without giving an opportunity of hearing to the petitioners but also because the amended assessment had been made by a deputy commissioner instead of a commissioner as prescribed under the law.
He also submitted that no independent body had till to-date made the re-assessment and that the entire false case had been made out by the tax department; hence the demand for payment of tax was malafide.
Opposing the petition, the counsel for the Inland Revenue said that according to rules, the Minhajul Quran International was not a charity but was a profitable institution instead. He said it had got no exemption from tax and show-cause notice was issued to it was not because of any pressure from the government. After hearing arguments from both sides, Justice Atir suspended the operation of impugned notice.
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