ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Disabled Foundation has urged Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to relax mobile phone taxes for blind and visually impaired people.

PDF Chairman Shahid Ahmed Memon in a statement said that various rates of advance income tax and sales tax on the import of mobile phones have adversely and disproportionately affected differently-abled people. The foundation also held a meeting with Special Assistant on Finance and Revenue Dr Waqar Masood Khan in this regard. Letters were sent to Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin and Member Inland Revenue Tariq Chaudhry.

Blind persons have to use high-end mobile phones because accessibility features like TalkBack in Android and voice over in IOS are available only in high-end phones, Mr Memon said, adding imposition of this tax adversely affects their digital rights and access to even the basic amenities of life, like independent mobility, self-study and disposal of professional duties.

The association has demanded exemption from taxes, imposed on imported and locally procured mobile phones, for differently-abled people. The blind and visually impaired have to extensively use these mobile phones for education, employment as well as daily living purposes and these taxes have made it impossible for them to afford these devices, which are a necessity.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2021

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