Saturday, 22 December 2012

Bashir Bilour among seven killed in ANP rally blast

ANP leader and senrior minister Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Bashir Ahmad Bilour could not surive the injuries after
a suicide bomber blew hiself up in an ANP rally in Peshawar.    
Seven people were killed Saturday night when a powerful bomb exploded during the public meeting of ANP in Qissa Khwani Bazar.

SHO Sattar Khan was also killed in the blast.

ANP leader Bashir Belour has also been injured and his condition is stated to be critical. Bashir Belour’s personal secretary Noor Muhammad was among the seven people who lost their lives in the blast.
According to initial reports, the blast took place at Qissa Khwani Bazar during an ANP public meeting.

ANP leader Bashir Bilour has received serious injuries while his personal secretary Noor Muhammad alias Babu also sustained injuries and was rushed to hospital where he succumbed to injuries.

Police and rescue teams reached the site of occurrence and shifted the dead bodies and injured people to Lady Redding Hospital.The explosion was so powerful that the windowpanes of the nearby buildings were broken.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Tax Cheat Politicians Named , Tax Chor Politicians Names

Almost 70 per cent of lawmakers did not file income taxes last year, an investigative journalism group said on Wednesday, highlighting deep flaws in a taxation system that has drawn repeated criticism from Western aid donors.The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives and the Centre for Investigative Reporting in Pakistan jointly released a report based on leaked information, marking the first time that the records of 446 lawmakers and ministers have been published – focusing scrutiny on individuals ahead of polls next year.According to the findings, President Asif Ali Zardari did not file a tax return in 2011 and neither did 34 of the 55 cabinet members including Interior Minister Rehman Malik. Only 49 of the 104 senators paid income tax last year, and of the 341 sitting members of the national assembly, only 90 MNAs filed their tax returns.The federal cabinet comprises prime minister and his 55 colleagues. However, only 20 ministers filed their tax returns. Of 28 parliamentary secretaries, only seven filed tax returns. Of the 55 MNAs holding key positions in the national assembly and its standing committees, only 15 filed tax returns.The senators evading filing of tax returns included 11 newly elected senate members, who lied about it in their nomination papers. Aitzaz Ahsan, a prominent lawyer who helped oust President Pervez Musharraf from office in 2008, is top taxpayer among the senators. He paid Rs12.97 million. Next four senators in this list are Abbas Khan Afridi (Rs11.52 million), Talha Mehmood (Rs7.60 million), Dr Farogh Naseem (Rs4.56 million) and Osman Saifullah (Rs1.79 million).The ex-minister and a former Musharraf adviser, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed is conspicuous by leading the list of the five lowest taxpaying senators. “The data shows that he paid Rs82 as income tax. The four senators next to him from the bottom are Karim Ahmad Khawaja (Rs3,636), Haji Saifullah Bangash (Rs4,063), Naseema Ehsan (Rs4,280) and Malik Salahuddin Dogar (Rs8, 659)”.The report found that tax evasion was spread evenly across the political spectrum, with low rates among the governing Pakistan People’s Party, the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and other religious and regional parties. The party-wise break-up indicates that only 17 ruling PPP senators out of 44, six PML-N senators out of 14, four MQM senators out of seven, two each of ANP and PML out of 12 and five respectively, and one each of BNP-A, JUI-F, and PML-F filed tax returns in 2011.The National Assembly has 341 sitting members; one seat is vacant. Of them, only 90 members filed their tax returns. There were 16 lawmakers, whose requisite details for checking the income tax filing status were not available. Among the rest, Jehangir Khan Tareen (who was lawmaker in Sept 2011 when returns were filed) is top taxpayer (Rs17.05 million).Those next to him in descending order are Hamid Yar Hiraj (Rs2.44 million), Hamza Shahbaz Sharif (Rs2.31 million), Attiya Inayatullah (Rs1.59 million) and Humayun Saifullah (Rs1.44 million). From the other side, Sheikh Rohail Asghar (Rs16, 893) is at the bottom, surpassed by Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi (Rs21, 993), Asim Nazir (Rs28, 923) Engineer Amir Muqam (Rs29, 324) and Rana Afzal Hussain (Rs39, 713).Pakistan has a chronically low rate of income tax collection. Of the country’s 180 million people, only two percent are registered to pay tax, and fewer than a quarter of those actually do so, according to the report. Income tax evasion is particularly high among the wealthiest Pakistanis, leaving the country with the lowest tax-to-GDP ratio in South Asia.The report, which based its findings on the information from the FBR and lawmakers themselves, urges politicians to disclose their tax returns voluntarily in future. It does not take into account the tax paid by politicians on their parliamentary salaries, which is automatically deducted by the government. Instead, it focuses on the lawmakers’ declarations of supplemental income from property, professional practices and other sources of revenue.Nevertheless, in a country where many politicians enjoy lifestyles that far exceed their official salaries, the report raises fresh questions about the dedication of Pakistan’s top lawmakers to enforcing the tax laws they are supposed to oversee. The poor bear a disproportionately high tax burden, experts say, because of indirect taxes on electricity, food and other goods.“Tax evasion has become a social norm in our country,” said Umar Cheema, an investigative journalist who compiled the report for the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives and the Centre for Investigative Reporting in Pakistan. “People don’t consider it a crime. But this tax demand established a bond between the people and the state. That’s how you become a stakeholder in society.”Country’s inability to raise revenue has constrained government spending, depriving schools and hospitals of funds and exacerbating a power crisis. The country’s flawed tax system has long been an issue for Western donors, who have given the Pakistani government billions of dollars in humanitarian and development aid over the past decade and supported bailout programs from multinational institutions such as the IMF. They are also worried that growing public anger may boost recruitment to militant groups threatening to destabilise Pakistan and beyond.Cheema said his findings were based on a combination of publicly available data and questionnaires he had sent to members of both houses of the parliament – though just two members responded to his queries. But some politicians and tax experts questioned Cheema’s findings, saying they did not take into account the wider failings of the country’s tax laws. Ikramul Haq, a lawyer and taxation expert, said it was incorrect to describe two-thirds of members of parliament as “tax dodgers” because they automatically pay tax on their salaries.But, he admitted, there was a serious problem with the declaration of income from land and other assets.


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