We are Muslims first then Pakistani: CJP

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has said we are Muslims first and then Pakistani and we have no interest of our own.

The CJP gave these remarks while presiding over a 3-member bench of Supreme Court (SC) during the course of hearing of pilferage of ISAF containers here Wednesday.

Chairman FBR Suleman Siddique and counsel for FBR, Raja Muhammad Irshad appeared in the court and presented the report worked out by Federal Tax Ombdusman Shoaib Saddal on containers scam.

According to report loss amounting to Rs 37 billion was caused to national exchequer in the name of Afghan transit trade and under the head of smuggling and custom duty evasion. However it constituted small chunk of the loss being inflicted to national kitty every year through customs department. Prima facie action be taken against the persons found responsible. However they will be given opportunity to explain their position.

“ Former finance minister Shaukat Tareen had given statement in this respect which was not exaggerated. He is responsible person. FBR officers who are being paid million of rupees are doing what and how much tax they collect. People from top to toe are involved in this scam. Credit goes to Federal Tax Ombudsman. All have shut their eyes. If the tax is not collected then how the economy will recover. How the country will run if economy is not recovered. Arms and drugs were brought in the country in the name of Afghan transit trade”, CJP observed.

CJP directed chairman FBR to take immediate steps and arrest the responsible persons within a week. “Don’t take the matter easy. We are very serious in this matter. If you do nothing then the court will take the matter in its own hands. We will monitor the investigation, he said.

“If some one thinks he will shelve the investigation by appointing investigation offices of his own choice then he should not remain under any delusion. We will watch the investigation”, Justice Ramday observed.

“This is public money. We eat our bread through this hard earned money of people. We are answerable to people and country”, CJP remarked.

“When people are handcuffed then the reforms in taxation system will come automatically. Currency notes worth Rs 2 billion are being printed daily. From where will we eat the bread in the coming time ”, Justice Ramday said.

CJP directed Suleman Siddique to proceed to Quetta along with Raja Irshad this week and visit border areas of Balochistan. Forces are every where there and even then smuggling is continuing, he remarked.

CJP admired Suleman Siddique and Federal tax ombudsman for evolving comprehensive report.

“If country has to be run then the tax system will have to be made transparent. Otherwise money will come from where to meet defence expenses and other expenditures”, CJP remarked.

The hearing has been adjourned till January, 27.

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