The Election Commission of Pakistan has conveyed to the Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-haq Kakar to not go for major reforms in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and to keep it pending for consideration by the new to-be-elected government by virtue of General Elections 2024.
The ECP in a letter dated January 30th, 2024, drew attention to the federal government’s decision to revamp FBR via Ordinance along with other apprehensions. It stated outright that the planned overhauling of FBR is a major policy decision that is the prerogative of the elected government.
“The Election Commission of Pakistan, being responsible to conduct elections under Article 218 (3) of the Constitution, is also obligated to highlight the role and actions not to be performed by the caretaker Government in terms of Section 230 of the Act ibid,” it said.
ECP said the improvement and reformation of State Owned Institutions is one of the core jobs of the government but under the Constitutional scheme and intent of the legislature as expressed in Section 230 of the Elections Act, 2017, the scope of functions of the caretaker government has been defined as follows:
A caretaker government shall:
- perform its functions to attend to day-to-day matters that are necessary to run the affairs of the government
- restrict itself to activities that are routine, non-controversial, urgent, in the public interest, and reversible by the future government elected after the elections.
Conversely, the caretaker government shall not:
- take major policy decisions except on urgent matters
- take any decision or make a policy that may have an effect or preempt the exercise of authority by the future elected government
The ECP said the planned overhaul attracts the above-mentioned provisions and the matter should be left to the elected government. The commission has conveyed to the caretaker PM not to go for major reforms in FBR and to keep it pending for consideration by the new government which will be elected next month.
It is pertinent to mention here that earlier today, the Caretaker Federal Cabinet approved restructuring and digitization of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), on the recommendations of the Revenue Division.