How much tax did Pakistani lawmakers pay last year?
If income tax returns are the gauge of assessing the wealth, income and expenditure of public figures, then Senator Taj Muhammad Afridi is the richest parliamentarian in the country and MNA Chaudhry Muhammad Ashraf the poorest.
The tax directory of the parliamentarians released by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday gives some insight into their wealth, based on the tax paid by the rich and the not-so-rich members of the National Assembly and the Senate, but the lifestyle and daily expenditures of many of them are in stark contrast to what the income tax declarations indicate.
Few parliamentarians are among the highest tax-paying citizens, according to the directory of 1,074,000 taxpayers for the tax year 2015.
The third ‘Tax Directory’ and ‘Parliamentarians’ Tax Directory’ issued by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Friday shows that, save a few worthy exceptions, the sums paid as income tax by most of the elected representatives are laughably low and do not match their princely lifestyle.
The country’s industrialist Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif paid Rs2.195m, his brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif Rs7.609m and the latter’s son Hamza Rs6.33m. The prime minister’s son-in-law retired Capt Muhammad Safdar paid only Rs49,902 income tax.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, who lives in a palatial farmhouse, paid Rs76,244 tax during the year, whereas Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Fazlur Rehman also paid a paltry Rs49,902.
The directory has been compiled on the basis of returns filed by the parliamentarians with the FBR.
Mr Dar said some legislators had not filed their tax returns for the year.
“I request all parliamentarians and others to file their tax returns,” he said, adding that the list would be updated following the filing of their returns.
Pakistan, he said, was one of the four countries issuing the parliamentarians’ tax details.
Of the 303 members of the National Assembly on the tax roll, only MNA Syed Basit Ahmad Sultan Bukhari did not file the returns.
The lowest income tax paid was Rs1,854 by MNA Chaudhry Muhammad Ashraf and the highest Rs37.607 million by Jehangir Khan Tareen.
According to the directory, senators paid more income tax than the MNAs.
Out of the 90 senators on the list, 83 filed their tax returns, while seven did not do so. The non-filers include five women.
Senator Taj Muhammad Afridi from the tribal areas paid the highest income tax of Rs41.712m, while Mushahidullah Khan of the ruling PML-N paid the lowest, Rs3,611.
Senator Aitzaz Ahsan paid Rs24.931m, Mir Kabir Ahmad Rs16.024m, Talha Mehmood Rs14.02m, Farooq Ahmed Naek Rs13.527m, Rozi Khan Kakar Rs12.088m, Dr Muhammad Farogh Naseem Rs11.652m, Sajjad Husain Rs5.312m, Ishaq Dar Rs3.913m, Ashok Kumar Rs2.427m, Mohammad Yousuf Rs2.177m, retired Lt Gen Abdul Qayum Rs1.66m, Nuzhat Sadiq Rs1.04m, Babar Awan Rs2.958m, Gianchand Rs1.096m, Tanvir Khan Rs1.792m and Saleem Mandviwalla Rs1.115m.
Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani paid Rs730,107.
Most of the senators paid income tax in the range of Rs17,000 to Rs50,000, followed by Rs100,000 to Rs300,000, with a few exceptions.
Among the MNAs, Hamza Shahbaz, son of the Punjab chief minister, paid Rs6.33m as income tax, Sheikh Fayyazuddin Rs13.0132m and Isphanyar M. Bhandara Rs7.49m.
Prime Minister Sharif paid Rs2.195m, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq Rs1.373m, Khwaja Saad Rafique Rs2.957m, Asad Umar Rs4.26m, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Rs2.138m, Obaidullah Shadi Khel Rs1.106m, Rana Muhammad Ishaq Khan Rs1.059m, Shah Mehmood Qureshi Rs1.469m, Chaudhry Iftikhar Nazir Rs2.346m, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi Rs1.403m, Hafiz Abdul Karim Rs1.256m, Mir Ali Khan Magsi Rs1.049m, Faryal Talpur Rs2.267m, Abdul Sattar Bachani Rs1.341m, Muhammad Ali Rashid Rs2.97m, Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao Rs1.723m and Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry Rs4.26m.
Those who paid less than Rs1m tax include Amir Haider Khan with Rs75,762, retired Capt Muhammad Safdar and Maulana Fazlur Rehman Rs49,902 each, Akram Khan Durrani Rs86,196, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed Rs312,383, Imran Khan Rs76,244, Khwaja Mohammad Asif Rs466,630, Ahsan Iqbal Rs106,897, Syed Khurshid Shah Rs113,740 and Dr Muhammad Farooq Sattar Rs67,639.
More than 160 MNAs paid income tax in the range of Rs17,000 to Rs50,000 and 75 paid Rs100,000 to Rs800,000.
All the 64 members of the Balochistan Assembly filed their tax returns and only four of them paid less than Rs1m, which is unprecedented compared to other provinces.
Mir Hammal paid the highest, Rs8.09m, while Kishwar Ahmed paid the lowest tax of Rs917,048. Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri paid Rs1.283m.
Of the 371 members of the Punjab Assembly in the directory, 12 did not file the returns for 2015.
Arshad Javaid Warraich is the highest taxpayer with Rs19.398m, followed by Sheikh Aladdin Rs14.026m and Zulfiqar Ali Khan Rs10.174m.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif paid Rs7.609m.
The least income tax paid by an MPA is Muhammad Javed Awan’s Rs920.
Other MPAs who paid over Rs1m are Rana Sanaullah Khan Rs1.08m, Chaudhry Nasarullah Ghumman Rs1.532m, Monis Elahi Rs2.603m, Mian Tariq Mahmood Rs1.147m, Shujaur Rehman Rs1.153m, Khwaja Salman Rafiq Rs2.057m, Ramzan Siddiqi Rs1.443m and Ashraf Rasool Rs1.037m.
Around 150 MPAs of Punjab paid income tax of less than Rs20,000.
Of the 168 members of the Sindh Assembly, only three did not file their returns but their names exist on the tax roll.
According to the directory, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah paid Rs661,661.
Sharjeel Inam Memon is the highest taxpayer in the assembly with Rs2.098m, followed by Shaharyar Khan Mahar Rs2.073m, Haji Khuda Bux Rajar Rs1.663m, Sohail Anwar Khan Sayal Rs1.509m and Manzoor Husain Wassan Rs1.373m. No other MPA in Sindh paid over Rs1m as income tax.
The lowest tax paid is by Aisha Khatoon of Rs5,009. More than 60 MPAs in the province paid less than Rs60,000.
Of the 122 members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, only three did not file their returns. Chief Minister Pervez Khattak paid Rs766,480.
Sardar Zahoor Ahmad paid the highest tax, Rs10.055m, followed by Iftikhar Ali Mushwani Rs6.806m, Amjad Khan Afridi Rs5.502m, Noor Saleem Malik Rs3.191m, Fazal Shakoor Khan Rs2.41m and Muhammed Sheeraz Rs2.006m.
Shah Farman paid the lowest tax of Rs10,000. Most of the MPAs in KP paid less than Rs100,000 as income tax.
Published in Dawn September 10th, 2016