Shabbar Zaidi’s appointment as FBR chairman challenged in IHC

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ISLAMABAD: A petition challenging the appointment of Syed Shabbar Zaidi as chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) was filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday.

Ali Muhammad, a grade-19 officer of Inland Revenue, moved the petition, making the federal government and the new FBR chairman as respondents.

He stated in his petition that the government appointed Zaidi as FBR chairman on May 9 on an “honorary basis/pro bono basis.” adding that Zaidi has been working as a partner of a private chartered accountancy firm.

“According to the law laid down by the IHC, under the FBR Act, a person from the private sector may be appointed chairman of the FBR in the exceptional and extraordinary circumstances through a duly advertised process,” the petitioner argued, adding the court had previously set aside the appointment of Arshad Ali Hakim, a person from the private sector, who was appointed on a two-year contract in a similar manner by the government.

He contended: “There is no law which permits that the post of the FBR chairman be filled on an honorary basis.”

Besides, Ali said Zaidi has “neither requisite experience nor qualification in tax administration nor of even working in any significant magisterial or administrative position in any private organization comparable to FBR.”

Hence, the petitioner pleaded with the court to declare his appointment as illegal, without any lawful authority and of no legal effect.