islamabad - The university students from all over the country participated in National Tax Justice Youth Film Festival held here yesterday.

Fifty short films and documentaries were shortlisted to be screened for contest with content theme to depict and highlight tax-related miseries of people and misuse of tax collection on part of elite leadership. The film festival was held in collaboration with Oxfam-Novib Pakistan, Indus Consortium and Centre for Inclusive Growth with sole objective to create awareness among university students and youth to encourage direct tax cultural in the country instead of burdening the poor segments of the country with additional taxes including sales tax, value-added tax, income tax and petroleum levies. The Netherland’s Ambassador to Pakistan, MS Jenne addressing on the occasion stated that Pakistan is a wonderful country bestowed with all resources of nature. She said that on her arrival in Pakistan, she was very impressed on seeing a separate line for tax-payers at airport. She went on say that the government should devise a mechanism where people with low earnings should have to pay low taxes, while people having multiple sources of income are made to pay more. Acknowledging work of students in the film festival, she said this is very creative task that will help in projecting problems of people regarding tax.

Dr Naseem Akhtar from Centre for Inclusive Growth in his address stated that Constitution of Pakistan guarantees basic rights for every citizen of Pakistan but this is very gory state of affairs in Pakistan that approximately 67% population of the country is deprived of basic necessities of life and living below poverty line, adding that this is very good omen that the youth of Pakistan have been encouraged in understanding tax related problems. He said the youth can play very active role in urging the government to transform policies relating to differentiate between direct and indirect taxes.

While others including Hussain Jarar and Dr Ikram addressing on the event pinpointed that people of Pakistan are the most heavily taxed nation in Asia.

The privileged classes - ruling the country for the last six decades - are the main culprits who do not pay personal taxes on their colossal wealth. On other side, the state has become so callous that people, living below the poverty line, are subjected to tax on purchase of daily commodities and representatives of state are wasting millions of rupees on their security and luxurious life styles.

The speakers pointed out that the government imposes direct tax on salaries while also executes indirect taxes on purchase of basic necessities that has burdened the people.

The speakers went on say that tax system in this part of the world is consider as very technical but National Tax Justice Youth Film Festival is being arranged to aware the youth of the country over injustices and exploitations on part of country’s leadership.

Tax collection should be disbursed in right directions including education and health instead of liquidating on securities and luxuries of elite leadership. 

Approximately Rs 600b are being disburse for security and luxurious lifestyle of elite leadership in the country which put a question mark on performance of the government, said speakers.