Designers’ reaction to the crackdown
Shirin Hassan also spoke about the incident and stated that it cost her embarrassment and humility. This is how she recalled the whole episode:-
“It’s very sad, definitely. Total badmashi. We gave sales tax, but not this one. This is PRA’s new tax. We told them politely, I am designing for my own brand, but they sealed the shops,” she said.
She also recalled how embarrassing it was and how she had clients from India, when it happened. She said that her flagship store at M.M.Alam road had been closed down.
“They sent a notice, but we had told them categorically this does not come under our label. I don’t need to pay this tax because I design for myself. Eight people came to the shop and closed it down!”
Zara Shahjahan was also the victim of the crackdown and narrated the incident in her own words:-
“They came into our store on galleria and shut us down claiming that we are not paying service taxes.”
Zara further justified her reaction, stating that the tax wasn’t liable on her due to the fact that Zara Shahjahan did not supply service to another company. Had it done so, then the tax would have been liable to pay.
“It would only make sense for designers like Elan who provide design services to Sapphire. Zara Shahjahan does not provide any services to another company. Luckily we are an entirely transparent company and even though we showed them all our papers they continued to harass our people. It seems like nothing more than a witch hunt.”
Hasan Shehreyar Yasin, also known as HSY, is also a popular fashion designer. He brushed aside rumours that his shop had been closed.
“They came to my store and were shown all the material complying to the laws and left without sealing us. HSY is open for business.
“This industry and people who have built it should be supported by the government rather than being treated wrongfully like criminals. I provide a number of services and HSY is not a small brand. We are a life and style brand and therefore, are particular about our taxes,” he asserted.
The raid as conducted yesterday
The Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA) galvanized into action and sealed several fashion outlets in Gulberg and the Defence Housing Authority.
The PRA team was led by Additional Commissioner Ayesha Ranjha, which sealed 13 outlets.
Reports said the PRA was in contact with fashion outlets’ owners regarding non-payment of taxes.
According to PRA spokesperson, more than 10 outlets have been sealed including Nida Azwer, Ammar Belal, Zara Shahjahan, Sania Maskatiya, Mini Bindra, Shirin Hassan and Ayesha Imram.
It is learnt that the sealed outlets owed an outstanding amount of Rs 80 million under taxes.