ON BOARD PM’S SPECIAL AIRCRAFT: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday said he was “totally convinced of the necessity to impose the reformed general sales tax (RGST).” He commented that “different people are playing to the gallery,” adding that the opposition had a right to protest, but protests would have no impact on his government. Talking to the media during the flight back to Pakistan, Gilani seemed optimistic as he commented “If members support the bill, then it will pass.”
Regarding taxing agricultural income, the prime minister said he believed “whoever earns should pay tax.” But he added the caveat that the decision to impose tax on agricultural income rested with the provincial governments.
Defending the decision to impose the RGST, Gilani said people pay taxes all over the world but the Pakistani people are not used to paying taxes. But when you expect other countries to give you aid, that money comes from their tax-payers, he added.
The prime minister insisted that his party would continue to follow reconciliatory politics but insisted the opposition has to play its role. Talking about his coalition partners, Gilani said: “We have no experience of coalition governments” but predicted that future governments would remain coalitions, suggesting that it would be unusual for any one party to win the majority in a House of 342 members.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2010.
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