ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has officially released tax details of elected representatives, including chief ministers (CM), parliamentarians etc. for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018.
The directory, published on the official website of FBR, contains tax details of elected representatives belonging to six different assemblies; National Assembly of Pakistan, Senate of Pakistan, Balochistan Assembly, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, Sindh Assembly and Punjab Assembly.
According to the information released, former prime minister and leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was the highest taxpayer, as he paid a staggering amount of Rs241,329,362 in taxes.
Prime Minister Imran Khan paid Rs282,449.
PML-N President and leader of the opposition Shehbaz Sharif made tax payments of Rs9,730,545 and his son Hamza Shehbaz paid Rs8,705,368.
Former president of Pakistan and PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari made a tax payment of about Rs2,891,455, whereas his son, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari paid Rs294,117 in taxes.
Taxes paid by the provincial chief ministers include Rs4,808,048 by Balochistan CM Jam Kamal Khan, Rs1,022,184 by Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah and Rs235,982 by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa CM Mahmood Khan while Punjab CM Buzdar didn’t account for any taxes.
Other prominent position holders were also included in the tax directory, including Information and Broadcasting Minister Shibli Faraz who paid Rs367,460, Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari paid Rs2,435,650, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi paid Rs183,900, Interior Minister Ijaz Ahmad Shah paid Rs58,120, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak paid Rs1,826,899, Law Minister Farogh Naseem paid Rs35,135,459.
Planning Minister Asad Umar paid Rs5,346,342, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan paid Rs1,046,669. Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed paid Rs579,011, Narcotics Control Minister Azam Khan Swati paid Rs590,916, Power Minister Omar Ayub Khan paid Rs26,055,517, States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Minister Shehryar Afridi paid Rs183,900, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs Minister Ali Amin Gandapur paid Rs378,763, Communications and Postal Services Minister Murad Saeed paid Rs374,728, National Food Security and Research Minister Fakhar Imam paid Rs5,212,137, Industries and Production Minister Hammad Azhar paid Rs22,445, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood paid Rs231,730, Economic Affairs Minister Khusro Bakhtiar paid Rs624,292, Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Haider Zaidi paid Rs896,191, IT and Telecommunication Minister Aminul Haque paid Rs66,749, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser paid Rs537,730, Senate Chairperson Sadiq Sanjrani paid Rs1,363,414, Senate Deputy Chairperson Saleem Mandviwalla paid Rs1,591,722, and State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan paid Rs430,695.
Adviser to the PM on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, in the foreword of the directory, lauded the efforts of the FBR in ensuring transparency through public access of tax information of the elected officials.
“Public access to information is an important milestone in ensuring transparency of tax system which is also a major pillar of reform agenda of the incumbent government,” he said. “I would like to appreciate the efforts of the Federal Board of Revenue for compiling and publishing the Tax Directory.”
Earlier, the adviser said that the elected provincial representatives paid a sum of Rs340 million in taxes to the government and some 90 senators and 311 national assembly members paid a sum of Rs800 million in taxes.
He added that the tax and audit systems are being automated and computerised for the sake of transparency in the tax system. “We wish to make the FBR’s tax system transparent,” he said, announcing that the institution had made two major decisions. “We are not bringing the tax audit under the control of any officer; it should not be so that a single officer selects the people of their choice in the audit.
“The government’s basic philosophy is to collect taxes,” he highlighted, adding that the PTI regime wished for taxes to be collected in such a way that there were no undue hardships for the business community and no harassment of taxpayers.
Speaking about industries, budget, coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy, Shaikh said the taxes on raw materials were reduced to zero and the government maintained subsidies for industries despite challenging circumstances.
“The government is giving subsidies on electricity and gas to industries, as well as subsidies on loans,” he said. “We took immediate steps to improve the economy but still did not choose to impose any new taxes when the Budget 2020 was announced.
“We are witnessing economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic,” he added.
“Pakistan’s exports have increased” during the same period, the adviser emphasised, adding that the government had decided to increase the country’s exports.