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Friday, December 24, 2010

Sixty-one Percent Of Pakistani LawMakers Do Not Pay Taxes


Sixty-one percent of lawmakers in the Senate, National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies do not pay any income-tax, and of the remaining 39 percent, only 9 percent paid more than Rs100,000, disclosed a detailed examination of the documents that legislators submitted in 2008 to the Election Commission of Pakistan.
The Media has obtained copies of documents submitted by all Senators, MNAs and MPAs relating to their tax details, through an official request that was made some six months back. Of 1,170 legislators of the Senate, National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies 707 have confirmed through their sworn affidavits to the Election Commission in 2008 having paid no income tax. Of the remaining 463, only 109 paid Rs100,000 or more.
Balochistan Assembly has had the biggest number of non-taxpayers (78 percent) followed by Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa 77 percent, Sindh Assembly 74 percent, Punjab Assembly 57 per cent, National Assembly 53 percent and Senate 48 percent.
Starting from the National Assembly, a House of 342 members that passes the finance bill each year deciding increase or decrease in taxes, there are as many as 181 MNAs who did not pay tax, that means 53 percent are tax evaders. Of the remaining 161 who said they did pay, only 43 (12 percent) were those who deposited Rs100,000 or more. Although Rs100,000 is not a big amount in terms of income tax, it sounds significant compared to others. It has already been reported that the leader of the house, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and his 25 cabinet members do not pay income tax.
In the Senate, which has 100 members, there are 48 Senators who, in their nomination papers, claimed having not paid a penny under the head of the income tax during the year they were elected to the Upper House. Of the remaining 52 only 19 Senators said they paid Rs100,000 or more.
The Punjab Assembly, the biggest provincial assembly with 371 members, has 209 MPAs (57 percent) who confirmed through their nomination papers that they paid no income tax. Nevertheless they had sufficient money to contest elections where the expenditure runs into millions of rupees. Of the remaining 43 percent (162 MPAs) who paid income tax, 34 members (9 percent) paid Rs100,000 or more. One of the National Daily reported yesterday that Punjab Assembly's leader of the House, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, had zero income tax return for the year 2008.
Sindh Assembly comprises 168 members and 123 (74 percent) paid no income tax in 2008, the year they contested the election. Of the remaining 45 MPAs (26 percent) who paid tax that year, only 5 percent (nine members) deposited Rs100,000 or more. Sindh Assembly's leader of the House Qaim Ali Shah paid only Rs224 as tax!
Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Assembly has 124 lawmakers and 77 percent (95 members) had not paid income tax in 2008. Of the remaining 29 members who deposited income tax, only three members crossed the figure of Rs100,000. KP's Chief Minister Amir Haider Hoti paid zero tax.
Balochistan Assembly is made up of 65 lawmakers including 51 (78 percent) who did not deposit a penny under the head of income tax. Of the remaining 14, only one member had his tax amount equivalent or above Rs100,000. Balochistan CM Aslam Raisani was among those who paid tax, a paltry Rs1,225.

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