In a significant development within Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), several high-ranking officers have been recalled from their deputation assignments and will now be reassigned to the Administration Pool. This move comes amidst swirling rumors that an intelligence agency had been involved in categorizing these officers. However, it has been clarified that the categorization was not the work of any intelligence agency but was instead conducted by the Chairman of the FBR.

The list of repatriated officers includes notable names from both the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) and the Pakistan Customs Service (PCS). Among those from the IRS are Ch. Muhammad Tarique, Mr. Shaban Bhatti, Dr. Aftab Imam, and Mr. Nasir Iqbal, who have served in various capacities including Accountant Member roles in the Appellate Tribunal Inland Revenue (ATIR) and executive positions in state-owned enterprises. Similarly, from the PCS, Dr. Ahmad Mujtaba Memon, Syed Muhammad Tariq Huda, Mr. Abdul Basit Chaudhry, and Mr. Muhammad Aamer are being repatriated from significant positions in government ministries and tribunals.

Sources close to the matter have revealed that the Chairman of the FBR, Amjed Zubair Tiwana, is facing accusations of shifting blame for his alleged ineffective leadership and management failures onto senior board members and Chief Collectors. The FBR has reportedly struggled to meet its objectives, and the Chairman is accused of misleading the Prime Minister with false assurances regarding the board’s performance.

Particularly contentious is the Track & Trace system for the illicit cigarette industry, which is reportedly rife with corruption. Despite substantial monthly payments made to the FBR’s monitoring teams, the Chairman is accused of turning a blind eye and failing to take corrective action. The Prime Minister’s recent order for an inquiry into the matter has raised questions about the Chairman’s influence over the investigation, especially given his relationship with the investigator, Mr. Tariq Bajwa, who is a former superior of Mr. Tiwana.

Furthermore, the Point of Sale (POS) systems at retail outlets are allegedly fraught with fraud, a situation that has persisted since the Chairman took over operations in 2022. The failure to broaden the tax base, a key promise to the Prime Minister, has also come under scrutiny, with little evidence of new taxpayers being enforced or additional revenue being realized.

In the backdrop of these allegations, there is talk of a potential restructuring of the FBR, with the upcoming budget expected to announce the creation of the Federal Board of Customs (FBC). This has led to speculation that Chairman Tiwana is attempting to create controversy around the FBC to distract from the issues at hand.

Amidst these developments, a group of PCS officers, including Mukarram Jah Ansasi, Muhammad Saleem, Wajid Ali, and Imran Mehmand, have reportedly submitted a restructuring plan for the FBR to the Prime Minister’s Office. As the situation unfolds, there are concerns that Chairman Tiwana may be attempting to target honest and competent officers, a strategy that some believe could backfire.

The unfolding events at the FBR have caught the attention of both the government and the public, as the organization grapples with allegations of mismanagement and corruption at the highest levels.