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Tariq Mahmood Pasha appointed new FBR Chairman

ISLAMABAD, JUL 04 (DNA) – The federal government appointed Tariq Mahmood Pasha – a close confidant of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar – as the new chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), further consolidating the control of Q Block over the tax department.

His immediate challenge will be to win support of the top FBR hierarchy. Pasha is from the 12th Common batch of the Civil Service.

Tariq Pasha – a grade 22 officer belonging to Inland Revenue Service – will also be the Secretary Revenue Division. Before his appointment as FBR chairman, Pasha was serving as Special Assistant to Finance Minister, Secretary Economic Affairs Division and Secretary Statistics Division.

The Establishment Division has issued the notification for the appointment of the new FBR chairman. However, the government has not yet appointed the new secretary of EAD. The post of Secretary Privatisation also remains vacant after appointment of Shahid Mehmood as Secretary Finance before Eid.

Pasha will be the fourth FBR chairman appointed during the tenure of the present PML-N government. His appointment has been made at a time when the FBR is already in the eye of a storm due to the ongoing Panama leaks probe.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan and its constituted Joint Investigation Team have expressed reservations over the cooperation extended by the FBR in the matter.

Pasha’s appointment was highly anticipated due to his close proximity with Dar. After serving in Punjab, Pasha joined the finance ministry in December 2014. Pasha is the younger brother of a former senior FBR officer.

Sources said that the federal government was reluctant to appoint a person from the existing top FBR management, as it wanted to appoint someone who is really close to Q Block – the seat of finance ministry.

Dar preferred Pasha over Rehmatullah Wazir and Khawaja Tanveer.

Pasha has replaced Dr Mohammad Irshad who retired in April this year but served till June 30 after the government gave him an extension in service due to the budget exercise.

After Irshad’s appointment, the FBR headquarters had started working on reforms being proposed by the Tax Reforms Commission. However, it is yet to be seen whether Pasha will continue this process or not.

Another challenge for Pasha will be to deliver on the tax collection target of Rs4.013 trillion for the new fiscal year 2017-18, which the FBR had reluctantly accepted.

Making transfers and postings also remained a matter of concern in the FBR. In the past, people have usually been posted in lucrative positions on personal liking and disliking.

The transfer and postings in Large Taxpayer Units Karachi and Regional Tax Offices of Karachi will be closely watched in the days to come.

In another related development, the FBR on Monday cancelled the transfer posting orders of about two dozen officers.

These include nine officers of grade 20, five grade 19 officers and eight grade 18 officers. Former FBR chairman Irshad had made these changes during his last day in the office. The FBR cancelled these orders before the appointment of Tariq Pasha.=DNA

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