Excise and Tax Dept strikes | Pakistan Today

Excise and Tax Dept strikes

LAHORE – Joining enemies of the Valentines Day, the Punjab Excise and Taxation Department on Monday rolled over its sleeves to check all Valentine parties, musical shows, dance functions and other entertainment events, which were being held without obtaining the valid No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the department.
The Pearl Continental Hotel, Royal Palm Golf and Country Club and the Park Plaza received NOCs to avoid any unpleasant situation during the Valentines Day. But around 50 to 60 hotels, rest houses and private premises could not get the NOC for Valentine parties. Dozen of raids were conducted and some functions stopped in posh areas including Gulberg, Faisal Town, Garden Town, Shadman, Model Town and Johar Town.
But the department could not raid localities of DHA and Cantt, as they did not come under control of the Punjab government, an Excise and Taxation Officer (ETO) Sheikh Naeem Qadir said. The excise & taxation department took action under Section 10 of the Entertainment Act 158. Under the entrainment tax, an organiser, who holds Valentine parties either on public or private platform, was liable to pay security, which varied from Rs 20,000 to Rs 0.15 million depending upon the size and items of the shows.
The ETO said that the department had slapped 65 percent on total rate of admission at Valentine functions where entry tickets were charged. But where tickets were not charged, no entrainment tax was levied and the security deposited with the E & T department would be refunded, he added. He said that the department formed two raiding teams. “One team consisted of four inspectors headed by Assistant Excise and Taxation Officer Chaudhry Aziz and the second team consisted of four inspectors led by Excise and Taxation Officer Sheikh Naeem Qadir,” he said.
He said that the teams swoop down all public and private sites holding Valentines Day parties and issued fine tickets to violators. “Those who will not pay will be served a notice to seal the property concerned,” the ETO maintained. Another official said that the levy was not only for Valentines Day. If anyone organises a musical and dance party any time in the year is required to submit the security, pay 65 percent tax and secure the NOC.
About immediate discontinuation of Valentine shows, the department seeks police help. An official said that he raided a Valentine party whose organiser did not have a NOC at Faisal Town but organizer Wajid Khokhar said that he was well-connected and cousin of a local member of the provincial assembly (MPA). “I asked the SHO and SP of the Faisal Town Police Station but they remained unmoved.
On Monday, department issued a letter to the CCPO to look into the matter,’ he added. He said that if any Valentine party was vulgar or participants were found using drugs and involved in objectionable activities, the DCO and law and enforcement agencies were authorised to take adequate action.

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