Appointment of FBR Chairman and Secretary Revenue Division declared illegal

Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared the appointment of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman illegal on Wednesday. Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of IHC had reserved the judgment on May 13. He was hearing the writ petition of a grade-19 FBR officer Ashfaq Ahmed.

Former FBR chairman Ali Arshad Hakeem was also holding the post of Secretary Revenue Division which, too, was declared illegal. IHC bench also passed directions to the federal government to appoint a suitable person by the end of this month.

Earlier, Justice Siddiqui provisionally suspended Hakeem on April 8 while an FBR official, Ansar Javed, assumed charge as acting FBR chairman. Hakeem has previously worked as National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) chairman. He was appointed as FBR Chairman on July 10, 2012 and was also given the additional charge of Secretary Revenue Division.

Barrister Zafarullah Khan, counsel for the petitioner, informed the court that the then government had overlooked at least 10 essential requirements while appointing Hakeem as FBR Chairman. He said that the post was never advertised.

In Hakeem’s defence, Ashtar Ausaf advocate, inquired the jurisdiction of the IHC in hearing this matter. Ausaf insisted that the authority lies with Federal Services Tribunal for hearing such petition. He also maintained that there was no prescribed criterion for the appointment of FBR chairman.

The judge noted: “I totally fail to understand how the qualification, experience, eminence, and performance of an individual can be gauged without inviting others to compete.”

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