Federal Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, while winding up the debate on the 2011-12 budget in the Upper House, said that 20 specific recommendations of the Senate Committee would form part of the budget. Nevertheless, it does not prevent the budget from being one which could do with a lot of improvement. One of the aspects which Dr Sheikh was constrained to mention was that of who pays tax. It must have been gratifying to some legislators to hear him appeal to them to pay taxes because it meant that their plan, of being members of a House precisely would help them so craft the laws that they need not pay taxes. The making of the appeal was accompanied by Dr Sheikh telling the House that imposing an agriculture income tax was something the provinces had to do, which showed that the countrys Finance Minister did not find it possible to tax legislators, and was left to make appeals. This let off the hook all those who claimed their income was agricultural. The provinces made no move towards an agriculture income tax, and will thus invite further debate when the provincial finance ministers wind up the debates taking place in their legislatures at present, and in the National Assembly, when they take up the budget. Dr Sheikh attempted some explanation of how the government was practising austerity, though the measures were clearly insufficient, like the ban on purchase of other cars. He did not explain how the government would end the luxurious lifestyles being lived at the taxpayers expense by his colleagues. The message he wished to deliver in his speech was very clear: taxation would be carried on as announced. It seems that the House where he made his speech may have been too polite to make it clear to him that the taxation measures he announced for ordinary people were harsh and exacting, and perhaps would not be paid. That would be the result of depending on the IMF to formulate the budget, something which Dr Sheikh did. The measures ending subsidies are a case in point, and it should be remembered that Dr Sheikhs saying that the government wanted to offer targeted subsidies which would not give relief to the rich so that the gap between the rich and the poor may be reduced, is not so much traditional PPP soak-the-rich socialism, as an excuse to fulfilling a promise to the IMF, that of hiking fuel prices. Dr Sheikh seemed to have been silent about measures meant to help commerce and industry. He has only one last opportunity, while winding up the National Assembly debate.