KARACHI: Pakistan’s biggest ever fraud of sales tax is unearthed where Maersk shipping line has evaded billions of rupees sales tax in terms of services provided to its local clients and transfer these huge sums to Denmark where anti-Islam leaders use this money in anti-Islam activities by publishing blasphemous cartoons, hurting feelings of billions of Muslims across the world.
Maersk shipping line used to collect huge revenue from Pakistan and convert this money in dollars and transfer it to Denmark against the laws while it does not pay 13% sales tax on services to Sindh Revenue Board. The SRB is not taking any action against the company which shows its active connivance with the former.
The Jyllands-Posten cartoons were first published by Jyllands-Posten in late September 2005. In November, several European newspapers re-published the images, triggering protests. Strikes began in Pakistan the following month, and several organizations criticized the Danish government. More protests occurred in January 2006, and later that month a boycott of Danish goods began. Several countries withdrew their ambassadors to Denmark, and widespread protests, some of them violent, began. Those who love Rasool Allah (Peace be upon him) across the globe started boycott of Danish companies including a vast range of their products and services but very little did know that Maersk Lines also belongs to Denmark and that they loot Pakistan businessmen while accumulating vast wealth to support the blasphemous caricatures. The entire scam is now exposed with religious personalities coming to know of the entire issue and sources say that it is not long that henceforth boycott calls would include Maersk Lines in the list of Danish companies.
In 2018, Imran Khan government succeeded to play its role to pressurize the Netherlands government to cancel blasphemous caricatures completion fixed by the Freedom Party of Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders. PTI government’s basic agenda is to increase revenue to run its affairs smoothly and take the country to new heights but companies like Maersk Pakistan Pvt. Ltd. are evading government’s legitimate revenue worth billions of rupees.
On the other hand, within hours after a section of media exposed the biggest ever sales tax scam of Maersk lines, Danish Ambassador to Pakistan His Excellency Rolf Holmboe made a hotline contact and urgently met with Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi to pressurise him to in turn put pressure on local media to stop exposing Maersk Pakistan Pvt. Ltd. Maersk Line went up to such an extent that they even sent to a media house posts and photos of the Danish Ambassador having an emergency meeting with Ali Haider Zaidi so as to silence the media house instead of asking their company to abide by local laws and pay taxes according to law. Ali Haider Zaidi was elected to the National Assembly from Constituency NA-244 (Karachi East-III) as a candidate of PTI in 2018 general election. On 11 September 2018, he was inducted into the federal cabinet of Prime Minister Imran Khan and was appointed as Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs. He is said to be committed to end corruption from maritime & shipping ministry and other related departments.
After numerous media and chambers expressed their concern on sheer violation of rules and regulations by the shipping line, Maersk started threatening media through unscrupulous persons and letters written by unknown persons, without signatures and proper designations but put on Maersk letter heads, to hush up the Rs 15 billion demurrage and detention scam.
Journalists including this correspondent have been exposing the mega scam of Maersk since last few months. He has already been attacked immediately after exposing the Rs 1,000 billion customs green channel scam but he remained unmoved. He has been active in unveiling many mega scams and corruption cases where big and powerful individuals, bureaucrats and political personalities are hooked. He repeatedly published full page appeals to the Chief Justice of Pakistan in Customs Today newspaper on the Rs. 1,000 billion mega scam of green channel. Big names like Mobilink and QMobile were reported to be involved in the mega scam. On 1 June 2018, he appeared at the Supreme Court and filed complaint along with the copies of the appeals. Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar took notice of the complaints and called for reports from relevant quarters within 10 days. On the very next day of this letter, this correspondent was attacked by ‘masked men’ near Allama Iqbal International Airport. But still he remained committed with his job and kept on disclosing huge scams like Rs 15 billion demurrage and detention scandal by shipping lines like Maersk.
After media exposed Maersk since last couple of months, yet Maersk has never been able to come up with any response on why they are violating the law prescribed under SRO 1220 (I)/2015. Instead of giving any legal explanation to SRO 1220 (I)/2015, Maersk has stooped to such unethical means of threatening the media through anonymous letter now. Law under SRO 1220(I)/ 2015 explains that shipping companies cannot charge any demurrage and detention where specifically it is not agreed and also specifically not mentioned on the B/L (Bill of lading).
Meanwhile, Maersk shipping line is issuing ‘benaami’ bills without sales tax numbers, without publishing its own name on the bills and giving its sales tax numbers. As per its modus operandi, Maersk sends emails in the name of Helen De Isidero to its clients whereas it is actually sent by Mr. Maqsud through Pakistan email ID email@example.com. Maersk Pakistan employees themselves claim that Helen works in their Manila office while the email is sent from Pakistan office.
Furthermore, all services are provided in Pakistan through Pakistan company M/s Maersk Pakistan Pvt. Ltd. but the company tries to show that services are provided by foreign company and their employees through using dummy names. When service provided in Pakistan by Pakistan office and Pakistan employees then how can sales tax on such service remain unpaid? This obviously is a fraud to evade huge sales tax liabilities.
Businessmen of Pakistan have appealed to NAB and FIA to intervene and investigate connivance of Maersk and Sindh Revenue Board in the alleged mega scandal which is generating huge black money for them that in turn can be used by a section of Danish people to prepare blasphemous cartoons against the honour and sentiments of the Muslims across the globe.
About Asad Kharal:
Asad Kharal is presently chief analyst and anchorperson at BOL. He is host of the famous TV program ‘Ab Pata Chala’. Asad Kharal is considered one of the most experienced and best investigative journalists of Pakistani media industry and had worked on several exclusive inside stories throughout his journalism career. During his around 20 years of journalism career, he had successfully worked for more than 2000 investigative stories for the print and electronic media of the country. He had also associated with several leading media groups of Pakistan including Express Tribune, Dunya Television and ARY News. He has also an honour of winning “Investigative Journalist of the Year” award in 2003. Asad Kharal was co-hosting a program named “Andar Ki Baat” on ARY News. He had also written six books on different topics and worked for Chicago Sun Times and The Guardian as a freelancer. Asad Kharal is also chairman of Tehlka News and Center for Investigative Journalism (CIJ).