The PML-N meeting with Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and his team ended without its leader Mian Nawaz Sharif agreeing to support the passage of the RGST through Parliament. At the meeting, which took place at Mian Nawazs Raiwind residence on Friday evening, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Kh Asif were also present. Mian Shahbazs presence was significant, for the Punjab Assembly, which he heads as Leader of the House, was engaged in passing legislation enabling the RGST. The visit by Dr Sheikh was an indication of how much value the PPP government places on the RGST, and how much it wishes to avoid in the National Assembly the experience of the Senate, which passed the Bill only because the Opposition boycotted the session. The PML-N refusal to be persuaded by the governments arguments is not because of stubbornness, but because the people are still not ready to pay the tax. As Mian Nawaz pointed out, people were not willing to pay more taxes when there were continuous revelations of corruption at the highest levels of government in the media, and of bad governance. However, the PML-N proposals to prevent corruption and bad governance were not accepted. The opposition to the RGST is not just to more taxation, but because the tax is inflationary, as the people realise only too well. As the phenomenal rise in prices, made worse by the floods, still continues, the RGST would prove the last straw. The government might seem obdurate and uncompromising by refusing to make any amendments in the provisions of the taxation proposal, but its commitments to the IMF, made in violation of national sovereignty, are forcing it to impose this harmful tax. However, the government efforts are apparently bearing fruit, for the MQM, which wants a quid pro quo in the shape of an understanding on local bodies in Sindh, is not going to vote for the bill, but will so act that the bill passes. The stand taken by the PML-N leader at the meeting is commendable, and in a situation where resistance to the RGST coming from other parties is, apparently, crumbling, it is paramount for Mian Nawaz to stay firm in his rejection of the proposal. The government should realise that the national interest demands that the RGST not be imposed. The PML-Ns opposition to the tax is not just for the sake of opposition, but because it is a bad tax. Now the National Assembly has only to pass the bill, as it has been in committee already. So, the government does not have much opportunity left to step back from this tax.