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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) and Civil Society Alliance Thursday asked the Prime Minister Imran Khan to ensure implementation of the Surcharge Bill passed by the PIT government for imposition of the surcharge on tobacco and sugary drinks in budget (2020-21).

A meeting of various organizations was held here on Thursday under the auspices of PANAH in which doctors, HDF, SPARC, Nijat Trust, Kidney Welfare Association, Women Welfare Association, Fatima Malik Association, tobacco victims, political/social personalities and lawyers participated.

It is expected that the Surcharge Bill would be made part of the Finance Bill 2020-21 in budget to be announced today (Friday).

In his address, President PANAH Maj Gen Masud-ur-Rehman Kiani said that PANAH had been fighting for 36 years to protect the public from heart disease. Tobacco and sugary drinks are harmful to human health where they can lead to an increase in diseases. There are reasons why their use weakens the immune system, which makes it difficult to fight diseases like coronavirus, we all have to work together to prevent it.

General Secretary PANAH Sanaullah Ghumman said in his address that the budget is coming. The companies give wrong numbers to the government every year on budget days.

Last year, the Cabinet passed a surcharge bill that has not been implemented. So PANAH tried its level best to include this Surcharge Bill in the budget and implement it and raised its voice on every platform.

In this regard, PANAH also wrote letters to the Prime Minister, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance and Health and other authorities. It is hoped that this will yield positive results. Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Health Dr Nausheen was contacted by telephone implementation assured.

Doctors, political, media, lawyers' organizations and other leading personalities in their respective speeches said the awareness campaign on the dangers of tobacco and sugary drinks should be intensified so that it can be remedied when we are united. If we start the struggle from a single platform, it will yield positive results. The nations that become indifferent to their new generation begin to decline.

At the same time, a resolution was passed by the Civil Society Alliance requesting Prime Minister Imran Khan, to ensure the implementation of the bill passed by his government on tobacco and sugary drinks that would save our new generation, reduce diseases and reduce the cost of health by using these non-essential items as well as increase government revenue.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020