Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium sealed for 3 hrs, then unsealed

Karachi: In what could be termed as an embarrassing incident, the Excise and Taxation department of Punjab province sealed the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore for three hours yestereay.

The entire episode was termed a result of the Lahore High Court issuing an order yesterday over a legal battle between the PCB and the Punjab Excise and Taxation Department over payment of property tax on the stadium which houses the headquarters of the Board. The stadium was unsealed later in the day.

The court ordered the Board to pay 60 million rupees as property tax after the Punjab government's counsel told the court that the PCB was using the Stadium for commercial purposes and was thus liable to pay tax.

The PCB in a statement confirmed that officials of the Excise and Taxation Department, accompanied by dozens of police officers, sealed the Gaddafi Stadium early morning claiming to be acting in accordance with the orders of the High Court pertaining to application of property tax.

"Following the unseemly haste, the main gate of the Stadium was however unsealed by Excise and Taxation Department officials after about three hours and the Board officials filtered into their offices to resume their daily routine after nearly an hour's uncertainty and delay," the PCB said.

It said since PCB's appeal, the court had only allowed property tax from 2002 to 2004, instead of 1996-2004 which was the Excise and Taxation Department's original plea, fresh notices calculated in terms of the judgement of the Lahore High Court were yet to be issued.

It also said that the judgement of Justice Ibad-ur-Rehman Lodhi had not been signed till after the GSL was sealed by the Excise Department.

"We shall abide by the verdict of the court after our legal department has gone through the detailed judgement," said PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan in the statement.

"The PCB is a law abiding organization which duly pays all its taxes; we are perhaps the most taxed sports organization in the entire country. To the Punjab government, the PCB pays tens of millions as commercialization fee annually at the rate of 20 per cent of revenue," he said.

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