Saleem Mandviwala says law ministry, AGP challenged constitution


ISLAMABAD: The parliamentary panel has shown displeasure over the Ministry of Law and attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) for not providing the tax record of Sharif family to the committee. Committee Chairman Senator Saleem Mandviwala said that MoL and AGP have challenged the constitution.

The meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Division was held under the chair of Mandviwla at Parliament House on Thursday.

Chairman informed that departments are not providing information to the committee. “Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had informed in the last meeting that law barred us to provide taxpayer information to anyone, whereas law minsitry and AGP are supporting the tax department statement that Parliamentary forum cannot obtain data under article 216,” he said.

“If law ministry officials can give the reference of Article 216 then why it is escaping from Article 66,” he added. “We can get data under Article 66. Is Article 66 not part of the constitution,” he asked the officials.

It is worth mentioning here that Parliamentary panel instructed FBR to provide Sharif family’s tax record to the committee, which the department had submitted to the joint investigation team (JIT) in Panamagate investigation. FBR, MoL and AGP have a point of view that panel cannot get taxpayers’ data.

The Standing Committee also discussed the agenda of issuances of 550 million dollars of Euro bonds in 2015.

The committee also discussed the matter of imposition of a regulatory duty on imported items, with particular reference to Pakistan Textile Mills Association, Pakistan Tyre Importers and Dealers Association (PTIDA) and Thal Engineering.

PTIDA, while briefing to the committee, said that Pakistan is importing tyres worth Rs9 billion. “If tax department would stop the smuggling, there would be no need for RD, as currently, there is no manufacturer of tyres in the country. RD has reached to 35pc on the import of truck and bus tyres. Since the RD was to be imposed on luxury items, we firmly state that tyres do not fall under the non-essential items,” it said.

Ministry of Commerce joint secretary informed the committee that local industry will get a boost after the imposition of RD.

Committee member Kamil Ali Agha said that imposition of RD on tyres will directly affect the consumers as prices of cars and buses will rise.

Member of committee Saud Majeed said that imposing RD just to control import bill was not a wise decision. FBR chairman said that the business will not be affected after imposition of RD, he said, adding “we imposed this on the request of the domestic market.”

Committee chairman said that RD on tyres should be ended.