Shabbar Zaidi officially notified as FBR chairman


The federal government on Thursday formally notified the appointment of Syed Shabbar Zaidi as the new chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

According to the notification, Zaidi has been appointed as FBR chairman on an “honorary and pro bono basis for a period of two years with immediate effect”.

It is not clear yet if Zaidi will also be given the additional charge of secretary revenue — a portfolio traditionally and jointly held by the FBR chairman.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement on Monday regarding Zaidi’s appointment had not gone down well at the FBR where the Inland Revenue Officers Association issued a harsh statement almost immediately following the announcement in which they threatened court action against it.

“The association believes that the issue of appointing any person from private sector has already been resolved through the judgement of Islambad High Court,” said the statement, referring to the case of Arshad Ali Hakeem, threatening to bring a similar case against Zaidi’s appointment.

“The then government did not challenge the high court order which has already issued details for appointment from the private sector,” the statement had said, adding that “after issuance of the notification, the association will file a contempt of court petition” this time.

“It is their right to file this case,” Zaidi had said when approached for comment on the matter by Dawn. He laid out his priorities, saying he considers “building trust between the state and the taxpayer” as the topmost challenge. “This is done through automation, minimising contact between tax man and taxpayer, and by promoting a voluntary compliance” — acts that he said will automatically lead to base broadening.