Lahore High Court orders FBR to make default history of candidates public

AsiaLahore High Court orders FBR to make default history of candidates public

LAHORE: Lahore High Court ordered FBR to make information regarding defaulter candidates public on Friday. The FBR has been ordered to publish the list of defaulters on its website by April 17.

A full bench hearing a petition against loopholes in the scrutiny of candidates also directed the FBR to inform the ECP about defaulters. The FBR has been directed to complete these tasks within three weeks and to inform the ECP about the status of 1,010 candidates whose candidature is pending before the tribunals of the Lahore High Court by April 17.

The order was passed after the FBR’s intelligence director Tanveer Akhtar said that they had not informed the ECP about defaulter candidates as they hadn’t asked about it. He said the ECP only asked about the National Tax Number (NTN) of the candidates and their tax returns from the previous three years.

Responding to a question by the bench, Akhtar said that the FBR doesn’t have access to bank account holders’ data as banks are not willing to share it with them. He said that only the SBP has access to these accounts. Akhtar added that the ECP sent them cases of 24,266 candidates, of which 10,794 were lacking a NTN. He said the FBR scrutinised these cases within one week.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, a member on the bench, remarked that presently there is no system but it would take time to be streamlined. He also said the FBR should have informed the ECP about defaulter candidates earlier.

The bench issued notice to Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited, PTCL, electricity distribution companies, and the Water and Sanitation Agency, asking their representatives to appear before the court at the next hearing to inform them about their defaulters.The bench also directed the ECP to inform the court on next date of hearing about defaulters of cooperative societies or cooperative bodies.

State Bank of Pakistan Senior Joint Director Ali Jafar told the court that they have provided a list of defaulter candidates to the ECP which is available on its website. He said over 500 candidates or their family members were defaulters of the banks. The legal adviser for the National Accountability Bureau informed the court that the ECP had referred cases of 23,599 candidates for scrutiny. In response, Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked why there was a discrepancy in the figure of candidates referred to the FBR and ECP. The judge asked him to explain the discrepancy during the next hearing.

Asad Haroon
Asad Haroon
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