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Amnesty for tax evaders: some questions

January 01, 2013

MUCH has been said by experts against the amnesty bill by the government for tax evaders.

Can there be any justification palatable for the majority of Pakistanis who pay their direct and indirect taxes to see those who have continuously violated the laws of the country and desisted from paying taxes, or at best are only paying paltry sums while they have accumulated wealth beyond imagination of many of the hapless citizens of this country?

How can anyone justify payment of eight/10th of one per cent tax on Rs5 million, or one per cent if paid next month, or 1.4 per cent the following month on this sum?

Is this democracy that our elected representatives want to make laws that favour the already favoured and privileged elite individuals to mint money and not pay taxes?

This amnesty bill is nothing but a reward for those who have accumulated wealth so that they can ‘whiten’ such money.

Any MNA who votes in favour of this bill will be failing in his duty to the people he represents, besides being answerable to his Creator in the final analysis.

It has also been reported that members of the Senate and the National Assembly have voiced their anger at news reports showing how little, if any, tax they have paid and violated laws by not submitting annual tax returns.

What these ‘learned’ individuals, who call themselves representatives of the people, should have done is to publish proof of payment of taxes and copies of tax returns.

Alternatively, they could have asked the FBR to make public their tax returns so that the people would see for themselves. They must know that even the president of the United States makes public his annual tax return.

If present laws give these elites indemnity from public exposure of their tax payments, as well as of filing of tax returns, then the laws need to be promptly revised.

If we claim to be a democracy, it means this is the government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Let all benefits accrue to the people — all the people, not just the elites or those who happen to govern us.

M. HASAN Karachi