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ISLAMABAD: Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), on Wednesday, criticised the policy of taking action against tax defaulters, and stated that “tax cannot be collected through use of force”.

Addressing a press conference in response to the prime minister’s address in the National Assembly, he said that “tax cannot be taken by use of stick instead small traders should be encouraged through incentives to come into the tax net as was done by the Sindh Revenue Board (SRB). We (the Sindh Revenue Board) have outperformed the federal government and the provinces in terms of revenue collection because it did not use the National Accountability Bureau for this purpose. The government is giving arrest powers of tax defaulters to the finance minister as encouragement of business community can help increase the tax collection.”

Bilawal said the people were now asking question from Prime Minister Imran Khan as to what happened to the dreams as neither their salary was increased nor there was any relief from inflation.

He said people had been burdened by the government. The prime minister has been giving lectures and people are fed up from his speeches and lectures because they believe that their lives have become miserable during the three-year tenure of the present government.

The prime minister burden the poor and give tax relief to the rich, he said, adding he had also given tax amnesty.

He said there was a question mark on the legitimacy of the budget and it was approved due to “partiality” of the speaker of the National Assembly, and the incompetence of the government was being borne by entire nation.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal, while talking to media persons outside the Parliament House, said that growth had contracted during the tenure of the present government, and inflation and unemployment increased.

He said that more than 20 million people had fallen in poverty and the prime minister had been giving lectures but did not talk about his performance.

The government has destroyed institutions such as the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and its chairman was removed because it was resistance to the government corruption.

The government has pushed the universities in the worst financial deficit and most of the programmes have been closed.

Iqbal said that inflation would increase in the coming days as the government would increase petroleum products prices as well as electricity and gas.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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