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July 1, 2020

Levy and laws

Newspost

 
July 1, 2020

This refers to the article ‘Unconstitutional levy’ (June 30) by Dr Ikramul Haq. The writer shows concern on the recent increase in the prices of petroleum products and has described the government action as unconstitutional. Taxes are the most important source of a government’s revenue and achieve the common goal of a prosperous, functional and orderly society. They are instruments of furthering a nation’s political, economic and social aspirations. The constitution of every country empowers its government to levy taxes and this right cannot be taken away. The courts have no jurisdiction to interfere in the government’s function of recovering taxes, otherwise it would create chaos in running the country. The courts do not have the mandate to decide where, in what form, how many and how much taxes are to be collected from the public as this is purely an executive domain. Any petition filed in the court would be thrown out, especially as the budget incorporating the taxes stands sanctioned by parliament.

The writer is apprised that petrol and diesel prices in Pakistan are less than half of that prevailing in India as well as in certain European countries. In those countries, no one declares higher taxes as unconstitutional or approaches the court to challenge the decision. A piece of advice to the government: the price of kerosene should be increased to that of diesel to prevent mixing and thus avoiding huge loss of revenue. The government may also consider jacking up the taxes on petrol, which is used by private vehicles, to raise additional revenues that can be channeled towards uplifting the dormant economy and providing jobs to millions of unemployed from the fallout of the pandemic. Let’s share the pain to help those who are not so fortunate.

Arif Majeed

Karachi

*****

This refers to the article 'Unconstitutional levy' (June 30) by Dr Ikramul Haq. The article essentially highlights the legal position pertaining to the petroleum levy. It seems successive governments have been robbing the public using tricks and methods not provided in the law.

No one, even amongst the legal fraternity or among the parliamentarians, had the acumen or honesty to point out what was needed in the public interest.

Sajjad Rizvi

Lahore