Under-fire govt beats retreat on GIDC amnesty – Newspaper

ISLAMABAD: Advisor to Prime Minister of Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh (second left) along with Abdul Razak Dawood, Omar Ayub Khan, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar and Hammad Azhar at a joint press conference on Wednesday.

ISLAMABAD: Surrendering to public protest, Prime Minister Imran Khan finally decided to withdraw on Wednesday a controversial ordinance promulgated last week that offered a financial amnesty of Rs210 billion to large companies.

Read: Protests cause the government to reconsider gas relief

The government will also request the Supreme Court of Pakistan to cancel all suspension orders issued by several higher courts and make an expedited decision in the ongoing cases on the Gas Infrastructure Development Process (GIDC). A day earlier, the federal cabinet had asked the Ministry of Law to amend the GIDC Ordinance of August 27, 2019 to include the condition of forensic audit before signing a conciliation agreement with these sectors, namely fertilizers, general industry, IPP, generation companies, K- Electricity and CNG sector.

However, criticism continued to grow in the mainstream and social networks, as well as from within the ruling party, forcing the government to reverse the entire initiative ab initio. "In view of the recent controversy, the prime minister, in the interest of transparency and good governance, has decided to withdraw said ordinance," said an announcement from the prime minister's office.

He said the prime minister also ordered "the attorney general to file a request for an urgent hearing in the Supreme Court, so that the matter is decided as soon as possible, strictly in accordance with the law and the Constitution."

The matter will now be decided in court

This was reiterated later during a joint press conference of the entire government economic team, including advisers to Prime Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Abdul Razak Dawood, federal ministers Khusro Bakhtiar, Omar Ayub Khan and Hammad Azhar and the special assistant to the prime minister of oil, Nadeem Babar. .

Dr. Shaikh said the prime minister had ordered that the matter be referred to the Supreme Court, which should now guide how to proceed with the matter. He said the basic objective of the government was to make any decision that was in accordance with the law, in the interest of the people instead of any personal interest and the transparency should be such that any impartial person could appreciate it.

When asked if the amnesty decision was really unfair or if the cabinet members did not defend a government decision that forced the prime minister to retake it, Omar Ayub denied such notions and said the prime minister believed that "justice should not It should only be done, but you should also see that it is done & # 39; and, therefore, decided to keep everything above.

He said that the attorney general would now request the President of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to call the cases related to GIDC in the higher courts, group them all and hold an early hearing on the subject and decide the merit issue at once. for all.

The prime minister said the total amount trapped in the GIDC litigation from January 2012 to December 2018 was approximately Rs 417 billion. In the first round of litigation, the Supreme Court overturned the collection between 2012 and 2014 for technical reasons because it was imposed through a finance bill and the Supreme Court also dismissed the federal government's petition for review.

Subsequently, new legislation was enacted through a law of parliament, but it was challenged before the higher courts and a set of appeals was also pending before the Supreme Court. The government believed that the law introduced in 2015 would remain firm because it was duly approved by both houses of parliament.

The prime minister said the nation should also know that going to court carries a risk because the decision could go in any direction. "This means that the government could get the total amount or it could lose everything and possibly give up any possibility of raising future income under this chief," the prime minister said.

"In addition to this, the government could bear the burden of administering refunds of approximately Rs295bn of the principal amount," the prime minister warned when ordering the withdrawal of the controversial GIDC amendment ordinance.

Posted on Dawn, September 5, 2019

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1503628/under-fire-govt-beats-retreat-on-gidc-amnesty


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