Additional tax on incoming international calls suspended
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court suspended on Thursday an additional tax imposed by the federal government on incoming international telephone calls and asked the ministry of information technology and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to file detailed replies on the matter.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan issued the interim order on a writ petition filed by a private company, Brain Telecommunication, challenging the levy of the tax. Barrister Umar Chaudhry argued on behalf of the petitioner that the additional tax on the incoming international calls was a violation of the rules set by the Competition Commission of Pakistan.
He said the commission had expressed reservations over the additional tax but the PTA ignored them. He said overseas Pakistanis had been facing immense difficulty and financial loss because of the ‘illegal’ additional tax.
He pointed out that since the imposition of the tax on Oct 1 Pakistanis living abroad had been paying four times extra money on a phone call made to the homeland. The counsel requested the court to declare the impugned tax unlawful and restrain the PTA from collecting it.
The PTA through its counsel defended the tax and argued that it was being collected in the better interest of the country. The purpose of the tax was to generate additional revenue, he said. After hearing both sides, Justice Ahsan suspended PTA’s notification about the tax.
The court directed the respondents to file their detailed replies and adjourned the hearing till Nov 5.