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Tax department faux pas

LAHORE, 30 April, 2015: Officials of the Excise & Taxation Department, Punjab accompanied by dozens of goons in police uniform sealed the Gaddafi Stadium here early this morning (April 30), claiming to be acting in accordance with the orders of the Honourable Lahore High Court pertaining to application of property tax.

Regretting the situation, PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said it was very embarrassing.

“An awkward situation was created when the stadium was sealed. I was with chief secretary at the time all this happened and I asked him see, Zimbabwe team is arriving and what message is being delivered.”

“It would be your responsibility if anything happens or things changes or Zimbabwe did not come. He then at the very moment apologised about the embarrassment and called taxation department officials, who also said that it was a bureaucratic blip, so they understood the situation.”

He further stated that Pakistan cricket is the only sport in the country which did not take a single penny from the government, rather pays in various ways likes taxes etc.

“I made it clear to them that can’t you see what PCB is doing and how much foreign delegates are being called in Lahore and what activity is going to happen here and you come up with locks on the stadium,” he added. 

Following the unseemly haste, the main gate of the Stadium was however unsealed by the Excise and Taxation Department officials after about three hours and the Board officials filtered into their offices to resume their daily routine after nearly an hour’s uncertainty and delay.

Since on PCB’s appeal the court had only allowed property tax from 2002 to 2004, instead of 1996-2004 which was the Excise & Taxation Department’s original plea, fresh notices calculated in terms of the judgement of the Lahore High Court were yet to be issued.

Also the judgement of the Honourable Justice Ibad-ur-Rehman Lodhi had not been signed till after the GSL was sealed by the Excise Department.

“We shall abide by the verdict of the court after our legal department has gone through the detailed judgement”, said the PCB Chairman, Shaharyar Mohammad Khan.

“The PCB is a law abiding organization which duly pays all its taxes; we are perhaps the most taxed sports organization in the entire country. To the Punjab government, the PCB pays tens of millions as commercialization fee annually at the rate of 20 per cent of revenue.

“It would also be pertinent to mention here: The PCB is a non-profit organization which ploughs any and all revenue generated towards development and promotion of cricket.”

“Also PCB is the only sports organisation in the country that does not seek any assistance from either federal or provincial governments.”

“At the moment PCB is engaged with Cricket Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe is about to become the first team in six years to visit this country. The revival of international cricket in Pakistan is the desire of every Pakistani. At such an auspicious occasion, sending such a negative signal to the international cricketing community is not in consonance with promoting the national cause”, said a PCB spokesman.