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FBR Case: Sarina Isa Asked To Pay Rs35m Over ‘Tax Liability’

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The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has asked Sarina Isa, wife of Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa, to pay Rs35 million for having tax liability on account of her foreign assets.

In a 164-page order issued by the FBR after holding a Supreme Court-mandated inquiry into the oversea assets held the judge’s family, the tax watchdog said that Sarina was liable to pay the huge sum as a penalty.

According to media reports, Commissioner Inland Revenue and International Taxes Zone Zulfiqar Ahmed issued the order.

In response to the FBR order, Sarina Isa said the FBR created an ‘artificial tax liability’ and that she would take this issue to a higher forum. The wife of the SC judge was she ‘condemned unheard’.

Speaking about Zulfiqar Ahmad, she said: “I don’t even know if he wrote the order himself.” In her response, she alleged that the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan fabricated a false case against her as it’s desperate to remove her husband from the top court.

Speaking about SAPM on Accountability Shahzad Akbar, she said: “Akbar set up and chaired a private organisation, the Assets Recovery Unit (ARU), and appointed a government servant, Ashfaq Ahmed, as its member. These gentlemen directed FBR’s Zulfiqar Ahmed to prepare a report, which he did, against my husband and me in a day.”

Sarina said the FBR chairperson,Nousheen Amjad, was repaced with a temporary chairman — an unprecedented move — for the duration of her. This was done on July 4, 2020, or immediately after the Supreme Court had issued its order on June 19.

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Sarina Isa further said the new chairperson selected Zulfiqar Ahmad to probe her case — an official who had already ‘given his opinion against my husband and me on May 10, 2019’. Moreso, Zulfiqar was assigned the case even though he had no jurisdiction in her case because her returns had always been filed in Karachi. Only a Karachi-based official could look into her tax affairs, said the judge’s wife.

“Mr Zulfiqar Ahmed has now come up with a 164-page order dated September 14, 2020 and created an artificial tax liability of over Rs35 million. I don’t even know if he wrote the order himself,” her statement said.

Citing the FBR order, she said the officer even mentioned that “I refused the delivery of notice on June 25, 2020, the day my father died, and in order to humiliate my husband he also addressed the notice to Justice Isa’s official residence”.

She said that attempts were even made to intimidate the tax consultant whom she had contacted. She also claimed that death threats were hurled at her husband that were “unlikely to be a mere coincidence”.

In June, the Supreme Court (SC) had dismissed the presidential reference against Justice Isa after declaring it ‘invalid’ while accepting the petitioner’s pleas. Moreover, SC gave three months to FBR for the completion of a report pertaining to Sarina Isa’s offshore properties and submit its final report with the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP).

Subsequently, Sarina Isa appeared before the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to submit a detailed reply on her money trail and the foreign properties she bought in London.

 

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Naya Daur