ISLAMABAD: An overseas Pakistani barrister of Lincoln’s Inn, UK has requested the chief justice of Pakistan to order an investigation into the matter of appointment of judicial members (BS-21) in the Appellate Tribunal Inland Revenue (Lahore, Karachi, and Peshawar).
In this connection, the Barrister has written a detailed letter to the chief justice of Pakistan on the allegations against the appointment of the said three judicial members (BS-21) in the Appellate Tribunal Inland Revenue (ATIR).
The barrister has highlighted certain issues in the appointment of the three judicial members (BS 21) in the ATIR (Lahore, Karachi, and Peshawar) vide notification dated 09-08-2023 issued by the Ministry of Law, and referred the matter to the chief justice of Pakistan on November 18, 2023.
UK-based Pakistani Barrister stated the applicant is a patriotic Pakistani and takes this opportunity to approach the chief justice of Pakistan. ATIR is a “Judicial Forum” presently working under the administrative control of the Ministry of Law. Appointments of Judicial Members of Tribunal being regulated in accordance with law read with Article 193 (subjective criterion for appointment of judicial member is same as applicable for appointment of judges in high courts of Pakistan).
In two appointments made on 17 July 2023, the Government of Pakistan had made a consultation with the chief justice. Subsequently, on 09 August 2023, the Government of Pakistan made three further appointments of judicial members, however, these appointments have been made without any such consultation. This is even though, on the face of the notification; it does say that the appointments have been made after such a consultation with the honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan. Nevertheless, practically, no such consultation has been made and no correspondence has been exchanged between the Government of Pakistan and the Supreme Court of Pakistan in this regard, the barrister claims.
The applicant can say so because it had been impossible to agree with the appointment of one of the appointees as a judicial member, who had retired as an officer of Inland Revenue just in 2019. He did not even meet the basic qualification of being a judicial member, in as much as he was not qualified to become a judge of the high court, claims the barrister.
Hence, the applicant has a strong reason to believe that the matter needs to be investigated, the barrister adds.
The barrister stated that Pakistan is undergoing a very difficult phase and economic crisis in which each organ of the state is to play its role. This is quite concerning for many expatriate Pakistanis. The ATIR is the final fact-finding authority in matters relating to income tax, sales tax, and excise duty. It has a very crucial role to play and the appointments in this tribunal can play a pivotal role in the recovery of Pakistan from the economic crisis. If the appointments in such an institution are made in the name of Chief Justice, then this raises concern for us Pakistanis who are sending their hard-earned incomes back to Pakistan so that it can improve its foreign exchange reserves and deal with the economic crisis, the UK-based Barrister added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023