194 identical petitions challenging Infra Structure Development Cess part heard of years challenging imposition of Sindh Infrastructure & Development Cess.
As the hearing commenced, the leading counsel explained the history of litigation and said since 1994, Sindh government is attempting to levy the tax which was in fact a “custom duty”. The case is more than a decade old and has been went upto Supreme Court of Pakistan twice.
Fakhruddin G Ebrahim appeared in one of the leading petitioners as Advocate for State (Sindh Government) while former Law Minister Khalid Anwar and former Attorney General Pakistan Makhdoom Ali Khan represented petitioners at different times in different petitions.
The counsel for petitioners referred to Article 142 of the Constitution of Pakistan and Entries number 43,49 and 53 of the Federal Legislative List and argued that some time it was named as fee, some time as cess but in essence it is a custom duty levied on goods that land onto soil of Pakistan.
To a query by the court, Ms Soofia Saeed Karachiwala appearing for a number of petitioners said that this was recently levied in Balochistan and has been challenged. A similar tax was imposed by Punjab province also but it is not confirmed as yet, a counsel for petitioners told the bench.
The bench later for paucity of time adjourned the further hearing till Sept 05 treating the petitions as part heard.