ISLAMABAD/Sanghar - Main opposition parties, PPP and PTI, have rejected the tax amnesty scheme announced by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thursday.

Former Senate chairman and PPP leader Mian Raza Rabbani announced that he would raise the issue of the government decision to announce amnesty scheme for whitening black money during this month in the Parliament.

“The decision of the federal government for amnesty scheme is a matter of grave concern and will be opposed in the Parliament. Such schemes are a licence for big business to commit illegal acts and then get the opportunity of legalising their ill-gotten wealth. In the past such schemes have failed,” he said in a statement issued here by the Senate Secretariat.

Rabbani said it is unfortunate that all economic policies of the government are for the benefit of big business while the middle class, professionals and working classes are made to suffer and reel under the yolk of direct and indirect taxes and price hike.

The government, he emphasised, instead of announcing an amnesty scheme for big business should announce an amnesty scheme for those people of the working classes whose electricity bill averages Rs 7,000 a month and have not been able to make payment for a maximum period of six months. Such bills should be written off, he added.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan also rejected the prime minister's tax amnesty scheme saying that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi punished the tax-payers for their honesty and provided a chance to corrupt individuals to "turn their black money white."

In his address to workers and supporters in Sanghar, Khan questioned the need for rolling out the scheme when the prime minister had only seven weeks left [in completion of his government's tenure].

"Those who pay taxes were punished, instead of being given a tribute," he lamented. "You punished honesty and gave corrupt masses a chance to turn black money white."

The PTI chief claimed that his party would form the government in 2018 and then they would investigate the ones who turned their ill-gotten money legit.

Criticising the Pakistan Peoples Party, he said the PPP has stayed in power in the province for 30 years. "Your money is stolen and sent abroad through launches; they are sucking your blood in the name of Bhutto," he told the participants.

PM announces tax reforms package, amnesty scheme for non-filers and undeclared assets

Khan vowed that he will put in all his efforts in Sindh and defeat "Zardari mafia." He said people are victimised in Sindh through police and there is politics of fear here, adding that people are afraid of Zardari.

Turning his guns towards Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif, the PTI chairman urged the participants to inquire the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa about the change they witnessed between 2013 and 2018.

He said that they do not speak through advertisements like the Punjab CM, adding, "Ask the people whether policing has been improved in KP or not. "I can say it for sure that eight of 10 people would rate KP police better," Khan said. He said that he is proud to say that people in KP now come to government-run hospitals from private hospitals.

"We gave health cards to people enabling them to bear medical expenses up to Rs0.55 million. Everyone in KP will get health insurance by the end of this year." The PTI chief also drew comparison between government schools in KP and Sindh, saying that a student cannot find employment given what is being taught at public schools in Sindh.

"We raised the standards of government schools in KP and 150,000 children got admitted to public schools from private ones over the past 5 years," he said.