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April 11, 2013

Many political stalwarts have nothing to do with paying taxes

April 11, 2013

ISLAMABAD: If the study of tax behaviour of public representatives is any guide, then all Pakistanis appear to a nation of tax evaders. They vote them into power as further examination of FBR record shows many big names who either don’t have the NTN or don’t pay taxes.
Several leaders from Balochistan, disciples of saints and scions of big guns have nothing praiseworthy to offer but the dark side of their personality as offenders of tax laws.
Capt (retd) Safdar, the son-in-law of PML-N President Mian Nawaz Sharif, is prominently featured among them who is not registered for the National Tax Number (NTN), let alone any tax payment.
Former National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, who recently said that a Returning Officer with integrity level higher than her own, should scrutinise her nomination papers, has had her loans to the tune of Rs504.825 million written off and others of Rs276.308 million are overdue.
Other noted figures who either do not pay any tax at all or pay only a negligible amount include Mehmood Achakzai, Zafarullah Jamali and his sons, Talal Bugti, Shahzain Bugti, Ali Ahmad Kurd, Hafiz Hussain Ahmad, two sons of sitting Governor Punjab, one son of former Governor Punjab Latif Khosa, Makhdoom Khusroo Bakhtiyar, Sahibzada Nazir Sultan (disciple of Hazrat Sultan Bahu) and PTI’s candidates like Ejaz Chaudhry, Mian Mehmood-ul-Rasheed and Zaheer Abbas.
George Bernard Shaw probably said this line for Pakistanis: “Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”
Starting from Capt (retd) Safdar, who is contesting from NA-21, he never bothered to register for the NTN even at a time when the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) sought tax returns for the last three years. Dr Fehmida Mirza though paid a comparatively reasonable amount of tax in 2012 (Rs727,311), the State Bank of Pakistan report sent to the ECP declared she and her husband got their loans for Mirza Sugar Mills written

off. Out of the amount of Rs504.825 million that was written off, two tranches of Rs66.395 million each were taken from the Allied Bank Limited and Rs372.035 million from the Habib Bank Limited.
It was shocking to read that a person like Mehmud Khan Achakzai, who was being considered for the slot of caretaker PM, declared zero tax for three consecutive years.
Equally depressing was the tax behaviour of Zafarullah Khan Jamali who was Pakistan’s Prime Minister from October 2002 to June 2004. He registered for the NTN in June 2005, a year after stepping down as the PM and now has declared zero tax from 2010 to 2012. His son, Faridullah Khan Jamali whose scandalous activities were one of the allegations in the charge-sheet against his father at the time of resignation, does not have an NTN, let alone tax payment. Also contesting is his another son, Umar Jamali who got NTN in 2007 but declared zero tax, following in the footsteps of his father. Changez Jamali, who was federal minister in the PPP government until recently, has declared zero tax.
Two noted leaders of the Bugti tribe, Talal Akbar and Shah Zain, have no NTN, so no debate is possible on their tax amount. Hafiz Hussain Ahmed of the JUI-F, who has claim to fame as a witty one-liner, acquired the NTN on March 28, 2013 and declared zero tax.
Ali Ahmed Kurd, a famous leader of lawyers’ movement and former President of Supreme Court Bar Association, got the NTN only last month, March 22. And he has filed the tax return for the first time in life amounting to Rs28,125.
Several noted politicians from South Punjab have not set good examples either. Barrister Makhdoom Khusroo Bakhtiar, who was foreign minister in Shaukat Aziz cabinet, has not paid even a penny in income tax. Two sons of Governor Punjab Mahmood Ahmed Mehmood fall in the same category. Syed Murtaza, the governor’s son, paid zero tax and another son, Mustafa deposited only Rs9,741 under the head of income tax. Tariq Bashir Cheema, who has been voted to power many a time from Bahawalpur, paid zero tax. Also Nauman Langrial from Sahiwal has zero tax figures.
Khurram Latif Khosa, son of former Governor Punjab Latif Khosa, has paid only Rs39,390 under the head of tax. Sahibzada Nazir Sultan is not registered for the NTN, let alone debate on his taxes.
The PTI that is championing the cause of change has fielded candidates with poor tax record. The party’s Punjab Chapter President Ejaz Chaudhry, contesting from NA-122, paid Rs16,800 as income tax. Another candidate and party’s central vice president Mehmood-ul-Rasheed declared Rs43,149 as income tax. Yet another strong PTI candidate, Zaheer Khokhar, has declared zero tax.

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