ISLAMABAD Senate on Wednesday strongly criticized increase in sales tax and inclusion of irrelevant pieces of legislation in the proposed finance bill for the fiscal year 2008-09. Senator Anwar Bhinder, Professor Khursheed Ahmad and Khalid Ranjha moved a privilege motion against the inclusion of 26 amendments in the finance bill for next year, which, they said, were irrelevant to the finance. The Senate, however, referred the motion to the Senate Privileges Committee. Speaking on the motion, Senator Anwar Bhinder said that by inserting irrelevant pieces of legislation in the proposed finance bill, the government had bypassed the upper chamber of the Parliament in the process of lawmaking and had breached the privilege of the Senate. Leader of the House in the Senate, Senator Raza Rabbani admitted that there were 12 pieces of legislation in the finance bill, which were irrelevant to finance. However, he opined that the privilege motion was premature as no breach of privilege of the House was committed so far, as, he said, the finance bill for the next year was only a proposal by then. Moreover, he said that former Chairman Senate Wasim Sajjad had given a ruling over a privilege motion moved by Senator Prof Khursheed Ahmad that it was the privilege of Speaker National Assembly to declare any piece of legislation as part of money bill. However, he said that he had no objection on referring the motion to the privilege committee. Senator Dr Khalid Ranjha admitted that such items were made part of the money bill during the previous governments but he questioned as to why should the House insist on repeating wrong practices of the past. He further said that courts could be moved on the issue but he added that leaving such matters to the courts was a defeatist approach because the Parliament was the supreme institution and courts were its subordinate. Speaking on the motion, Senator Latif Khosa said that after 2002 election, the whole system was run under the Legal Framework Order (LFO), prepared by a single person, which, he said, was breach of the privilege of the whole Parliament. He demanded that the said breach of privilege should also be referred to the privilege committee. Moreover, the Senate unanimously approved the recommendation of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance. Senator Anwar Bhinder, while congratulating members of the House over the unanimity on the recommendations of the Senate Committee, requested that the National Assembly should pay heed to the same. "We have undertaken great efforts on these recommendations and I request that the Lower House of the Parliament should once deeply deliberate over these recommendations before rejecting the same", he said. However, Minister for Law, Farooq H Naik, assured the House that the National Assembly would thoroughly deliberate over the Senate's recommendation on the proposed finance bill. Senator Prof Khursheed Ahmad, while moving a motion regarding withdrawal of the proposed one percent increase in General Sales Tax (GST) and Central Excise Duty (CED), advised the government to impose tax over the stockbrokers, which, he said, would generate much greater revenue for the government. Senator Tahir Hussain Mashhadi said that people were being forced to commit suicide in the face of appalling economic conditions and said that the government should reduce taxes over essential food items instead of increasing the same. Leader of the House in Senate, however, said that the government was facing a huge financial crunch, due to which it needed more revenues for providing support to the country's economy. He said that the government had planned to initiate measures like Benazir Income Support Programme and Benazir Card for the poor. Senator Rukhsana Zuberi said that the government should withdraw 10% import duty over diesel. She said that by doing so, the government could save Rs 60 billions, which it gives in terms of subsidy to the oil companies for the same. Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Kamil Ali Agha said that Ishaq Dar was committed to impose Capital Gain Tax, but he alleged that the tax was withdrawn due to the pressure of stock exchanges' capitalists. He said that the government was giving tax exemptions to the rich while the poor were being forced to commit suicides. APP adds: The Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved 76 recommendations for onward incorporation in the budget for the fiscal year 2008-09. The recommendations were formulated by the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue, which was also assisted by the State Bank of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Federal Bureau of Statistics and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. Explaining the recommendations before the Upper House of the Parliament, Professor Khurshid Ahmed said the committee received 296 recommendations while the committee unanimously formulated 76 recommendations for their incorporation. He said the recommendations should be thoroughly discussed by the concerned ministries and department; otherwise all the efforts of the committee would go futile. He also briefed the house about the salient features of the committee report and the recommendations, which were later unanimously approved by the House. Meanwhile, Anwar Bhinder moved a motion recommending that 17 substantive laws should not be amended through the Finance Bill and as such proposed amendments in different clauses of these Acts should be deleted. These Acts include The Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, The Code of Criminal procedure, 1898, The Provincial Employees' Social Security Ordinance, 1965, The West Pakistan Industrial and Commercial Employment (Standing Orders) Ordinance 1968, The Securities and Exchange Ordinance 1969, The Minimum Wages for Unskilled Workers Ordinance 1969, The Workers Welfare Fund Ordinance, The Employees' Old-age Benefits Act 1976, The Modarba Companies and Modarba Ordinance 1980, The Companies Ordinance, The Supreme Court (Number of judges) Act 1997, The Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power Act 1997, The Securities and Exchange Commission Ordinance 2000, The Insurance Ordinance 2000, The Listed Companies Ordinance 2002 and the Federal Board of Revenue Act 2007.