Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday criticised ‘those’ who oppose the newly introduced amnesty scheme and tax reforms, and challenged them to reveal their own tax filings, taking a direct jibe at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan.
PTI on Friday rejected the government’s new amnesty scheme allowing Pakistanis to remit offshore wealth at only two per cent tax rate. The party chief Imran Khan termed the amnesty scheme a brazen attempt by Prime Minister Abbasi to save criminals.
“Why would PM seek to do this just 45 days before government term ends? And why just two weeks before budget? This is a tax on honest people – a slap on the face of honest taxpayers,” Imran had tweeted.
Speaking at an inaugural event in Kharan, Balochistan, the premier explained the significance of the scheme. “A historic step was taken on Thursday in the form of the tax reform,” he said. “The aim of this scheme is to unite everyone to jointly pay taxes which are possible for everyone.”
Two important National Highway Authority projects, including Khuzdar-Shahdadkot section and Yakmach-Kharan road project were inaugurated during the ceremony in Kharan, Both the projects are part of the government’s plan to improve and widen road network in Balochistan.
Work on 200km-long Yakmach-Kharan section will start after the ceremony. The road is located in the remote part of the province connecting three districts Chaghi, Washak and Kharan. The road will serve as an important section of the National Highway System as it will link Karachi to the Iranian border with shortest distance through N-25 (Quetta-Karachi), thus saving a distance of over 250km.
PM Abbasi then said that it is a monumental change as the tax rate of the country has never been reduced to half of what it was. “If tax is 36 per cent, people are unable to pay it, creating a divide, with a reduction, everyone will be liable for taxes, and the aim of the reform will be fulfilled,” he told a crowd in Kharan.
He further said that the citizens are responsibility to give back to the country in the form of tax. “Pakistan’s economy will flourish immensely, and we won’t have to look at others for support,” he added, hinting towards the United States threats of cutting foreign aid and assistance.
“People of Kharan are forced to pay on behalf of those who don’t pay taxes,” the premier said. “If an individual is earning in lakhs or more, and don’t pay tax, the burden of it falls on the poor,” he explained. Expressing anger, PM Abbasi then said, “What politics will those do? How will they serve you if they’re still stuck in the buying and selling of votes for the elections?”
He then went on to denounce claims made by multiple political parties over the alleged buying-selling of votes in the Senate elections. “The July election will show PML-N bagging more seats than ever,” he added. “The decision is in your hands, and it will be made in July. The weather’s difficult so it might cause some inconvenience, but this July, we must all vote,” he concluded.