ISLAMABAD: Hours after arriving in Saudi Arabia on a three-day official visit, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday made an appeal to the nation to declare assets, pay taxes and get maximum benefit from the recently announced tax amnesty scheme.

“No country can serve people unless its people pay taxes,” he said in a brief video message, adding that out of 220 million Pakistanis only one per cent were paying taxes which meant 1pc Pakistanis were bearing the burden of 220m people.

An insider told Dawn that the prime minister recorded two-and-a-half minute video message shortly before leaving for Saudi Arabia, but it was televised by the state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) hours after his arrival in Madina.

Imran arrives in Saudi Arabia to attend two-day OIC summit

The prime minister said the authorities concerned had all the information about people’s assets inside and outside the country. “They have all the information about your assets and more information is coming with every passing day. It is better to serve your countrymen and declare your assets,” he added.

He said the country was passing through a severe economic crisis which could be overcome by declaring assets and paying taxes.

Prime Minister Khan said no hospital and school could be built and no infrastructure development could take place if people did not pay taxes.

He said people had the last chance to declare their assets before June 30. “Declare your assets, have a peaceful sleep and no institution will harass you,” he added.

Mr Khan assured the people that the money they would pay in terms of taxes would not be misused. “I guarantee you that your money will neither be misused nor stolen.”

PM in S. Arabia

Earlier, Prime Minister Khan arrived in Madina on an official trip to Saudi Arabia to attend the two-day summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

The summit titled “Makkah Summit: Together for the Future” is scheduled to begin on Friday in Makkah, and will be chaired by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz. The purpose of the summit is to develop a unified stance on events under way in the Muslim world.

Soon after landing in Madina, the prime minister with members of his delegation visited Masjid-i-Nabawi and later left for Jeddah.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to attend a meeting of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers. The meeting is said to have set the tone for the summit.

During the foreign ministers’ meeting, Mr Qureshi drew the participants’ attention towards human rights violations being carried out in Indian-occupied Kashmir and Palestine. He urged member states to support the constitution of a commission under the United Nations to investigate atrocities being committed in held Kashmir.

He also called for measures to ensure the safety of Palestinians who were being persecuted by Israeli forces.

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2019