ISLAMABAD: I fully agree with the suggestion that parliamentarians should not represent the people if they do not pay taxes on their incomes. However, during my association with the erstwhile Central Board of Revenue for over 30 years, I painfully watched not only the avoidance of income tax by these representatives, but also the repeal of many other taxation laws directly affecting them and all other rich tax-evaders.
Thus, the first law requiring tax clearance for property transactions, which was in force at the time of independence, was repealed to suit them. Then, the Excise Duty Act, 1950, was repealed in 1979. The Gift Tax Act, 1963 was repealed in 1985. The law imposing income tax on agricultural income, introduced through the Finance (Supplementary) Act, 1977 was cancelled without implementation. Finally, the Wealth Tax Act, 1963, was also suspended as soon as Shaukat Aziz became the Finance Minister of Pakistan.
Such being the culture and character of the powerful elite of our society, the present government cannot be expected to demonstrate strong political will to compel tax-evaders to pay the due share of taxes on their incomes.
Former federal secretary
Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2012.
More in LettersBudgeting for the military