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July 14, 2020
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Shabbar Zaidi made FBR chairman, PML-N questions appointment

ISLAMABAD: Noted tax expert and senior partner at international accountancy firm, A F Ferguson & Co, Shabbar Zaidi, was appointed as chairperson of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

The announcement to appoint Zaidi as top taxman was made by Prime Minister Imran Khan himself during a meeting with senior journalists at Prime Minister’s House in Islamabad.

However, the announcement to appoint Zaidi was immediately rejected by the largest opposition party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Former Interior Minister and Secretary General PML-N Ahsan Iqbal took to Twitter within an hour of the announcement, declaring the appointment as illegal.

Ahsan Iqbal questioned the very basis of the appointment. He tweeted: “Can anyone from outside be appointed Chairman FBR? Government has made an illegal appointment. Chairman FBR can only be a grade 22 officer.”

Senior journalist and anchor Hamid Mir says that Zaidi’s appointment came after a series of his meetings with the Prime Minister. He said that initially, Zaidi refused the Prime Minister’s offer to take over the top tax body. However, after a series of meetings, Zaidi was given assurances and persuaded to accept the offer.

Mir said that Zaidi’s consent to accept the offer came after he secured some assurances from the Prime Minister for his initiatives he would be launching as the top taxman.

The former FBR chairman Jahanzeb Khan was removed from his position last week.

Earlier, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh had picked Ahmed Mujtaba Memon as the new FBR chairman.

However, the government had withheld the notification.

Zaidi, a professional chartered accountant, is known for his extensive contribution towards the development of taxation and fiscal laws of the country.

He is a senior partner of accountancy firm A F Ferguson & Co, a trustee of Sindh Institute of Urology & Transplantation and member Board of Governors of Liaquat National Hospital, Karachi.

Zaidi has also been the president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan and chairman of the South Asian Federation of Accountants.

He has also authored many books, including ‘Panama Leaks – A Blessing in Disguise’ and ‘A Journey for Clarity and Pakistan: Not a Failed State’.