ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel will take up the issue related to the Income Tax assessed and paid by the Bahria Town Administration (BTA) during the last three years.

Senate Chairman Farooq H Naek referred the matter to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance on Tuesday, asking its members to prepare a detailed report as soon as possible.

The ruling comes following the finance ministry’s refusal to disclose information related to powerful property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain, who is the chief executive of Bahria Town.

“Section 216 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 debars disclosure in relation to any matter in respect of which there is a constitutional or stator obligation not to disclose information,” said Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh in his written reply to the Senate.
Awami National Party (ANP) Senator Zahid Khan had sought details of Income Tax related to the BTA last month.

Senators across the party lines demanded the government to declare the annexure pertaining to the property of Malik Riaz.

On Tuesday, Senator Zahid revealed that the Bahria Town Administration had to pay Rs2 billion on account of Income Tax to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). Only an amount of Rs280 million was paid to the department, he added.

“An illegal deal has been made between the FBR officials and Bahria Town Administration as Rs1.72 billion were waived off by the government,” Zahid told The Express Tribune.

When lawmakers are bound to declare their assets why should information related to businessmen not be made public, he said on the floor of the house.

State Minister for Production Khawaja Sheraz Mehmood informed the House that the law bars disclosure of such information. However, Senator Haji Adil countered Mehmood’s arguments, saying he could not interpret the laws properly.