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Opposition parties planning to protest against imposition of new taxes

02 December, 2015

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ISLAMABAD: Opposition parties are planning to jointly protest against imposition of new taxes worth Rs40 billion on the dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the coming National Assembly and Senate sessions.

Rejecting imposition of heavy taxes on masses, three main opposition parties — PPP, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Tuesday announced that they would lodge a strong protest next week during National Assembly and Senate sessions.

Terming the decision ‘unconstitutional’, opposition parties said the government bypassed the parliament on an important issue which was affecting the life of each and every citizen.

“We out-rightly reject imposition of new taxes. We will raise the matter in the parliament with full force and not allow the government to carry out the economic murder of the people of Pakistan,” said Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah.

Similarly, parliamentary leader of the MQM Dr Farooq Sattar, when contacted, said his party considered this act “illegal and unconstitutional” and MQM vows to oppose it at every forum.

“We condemn this cruel act of the government,” Dr Sattar said adding the party would chalk out a strategy to oppose this illegal and unconstitutional act soon after the third phase of the local government elections in Karachi and before the start of the National Assembly session next week.

Talking to reporters, PTI’s Asad Umar said the mini-budget had exposed the “poor performance” of the government in all the sectors and uncovered the “inefficiency” of rulers, he added.

Responding to a question, Mr Umar said though there had been no formal agreement with the PPP on the issue but the two parties would join hands when the issue would be raised in the parliament.

Meanwhile, five PPP MNAs - Shazia Mari, Nafisa Shah, Aijaz Jakhrani and Makhdoom Syed Mustafa Mehmood - on Tuesday submitted an adjournment motion to the National Assembly Secretariat seeking a formal and full-fledged debate on the issue.

“The levy of new taxes will result in higher inflation and further burden an already heavily-taxed class. The government has so far failed to meet the tax revenue collection target and is trying to cover its inefficiency by increasing taxes on general public,” says the adjournment motion, a copy of which was released to the media.

It says that “the government’s practice of bypassing Parliament in every important matter is highly objectionable. Such actions clearly show that the government does not pay any heed to the Parliament,” reads the motion.

Experts believe this act had actually provided an opportunity to opposition parties to unite on a single platform.

The PPP and the PTI considered arch rivals have joined hands to give the government a tough time.

Opposition Leader Khurshid Shah in a statement said the nation had been put under the burden of foreign loans on one hand and poor people being burdened with taxes on the other. “There is absolutely no justification in imposing these taxes,” he said adding that it was painful to see that such crucial decision were being taken at the dictation of the IMF without and taking the parliament into confidence.

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