LAHORE - Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Syed Munawar Hasan has opposed conversion of General Sales Tax into VAT on IMF dictation, saying this would multiply the tax burden on the common man. In a press statement issued here Tuesday, he called for abolishing Petroleum Development tax being a time old levy and stressed for a tax-free new budget. Munawar Hasan also proposed setting up a Tax Commission comprising experts who could study the federal government finances and suggest ways and means to reducing the foreign loans. Efforts should also be made to abolish usury from the national economy, he said. He said the people in power wanted the masses to make sacrifices when the country was facing difficult times. However, he said, this wont be possible unless the rulers cut down their spending and adopted simple living. There was no justification for the rulers to travel in bulletproof limousines along with heavy protocol and reside in palaces when the country was facing heavy budget deficit and the government was obtaining heavy loans from the IMF only to avoid default, he remarked. He also called for a thorough review of all government departments in order to suggest a cut in spending wherever possible. All unnecessary departments and sections should be closed down, the number of government ministries, divisions and departments should be slashed and the size of the cabinet should also be reduced in the light of the 18th amendment. The purchase of new office furniture, air conditioners and other such items should be stopped and all official spending except salaries should be frozen at the last years level. The luxury cars and vehicles with the President, the Prime Minister, the Governors, Chief Ministers, the Chief Justice and the army high ups be withdrawn and auctioned and all of them be authorised to use only up to 1600cc and 1800cc cars, he said. He said the government stance before the IMF was that the budget deficit was due to the heavy spending on the terror war which no doubt was correct. However, the country was fighting a war, which was not its own but the US war. Therefore, it should try to find a way to curtail this war. He said two years back, the total foreign loan was 49 billion dollars which had now risen to 60 billion dollars. Reception Provincial Ombudsman Punjab arranged a welcome reception in the honour of Chairman Chief Minister Inspection Team (CMIP) Zia-ul-Din Butt here on Tuesday wherein he briefed the participants about his life and services. On the occasion it was pledged to deliver speedy and in-expensive justice to the deprived public for the development of society. An open discussion was also held among participants over cooperation of two institutes towards delivery of justice on the occasion. Adviser to CM Malik Nausher Ali Langriyal, Tariq Mahmood Mazari, Brig (r) Khalid Amin and others were also present.