ISLAMABAD The Upper House on Wednesday was hit by another controversy over the legal status of the Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) Bill whether it was a money bill or not amidst announcement by the JUI-F that it would oppose the Bill tooth and nail. Chairman Senate, Farooq H Naek reserved the ruling on the issue and would announce it today (Thursday). Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Wasim Sajjad on a point of order had raised the issue that the proposed RGST Bill did not come under the ambit of money bill and it should be passed from both the houses of the Parliament. Under the Article 77 of the Constitution, federation can not levy any tax with out the approval of Parliament, which is constituted of both the National Assembly and the Senate, he added. Dr Babar Awan was of the view that whenever a question arises whether a bill is a money bill or not, the constitution says that Speaker of the NA had the final say on the matter. He further said that the Article 73 of the Constitution provided indemnity and they were taking advantage of that. Wasim Sajjad said that there were anomalies in the Article 73 and the final authority would be of Article 77. However, Mian Raza Rabbani while referring to the Article 260 of the Constitution said that according to the definition of the Act of the Parliament, it should be passed from Majlis-e-Shoora that (both the Houses of the Parliament) or at least from the National Assembly. The Chairman Senate reserved the ruling on the matter for today. The report of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance on the proposals for making recommendations on RGST Bill, 2010 and Flood Tax Bill, 2010 that was to be presented before the House was also deferred till today on the request of the Leader of the House, Senator Nayyer Hussain Bokhari. When the house started the debate on the RGST Bill and Flood Tax Bill, Awami National Party (ANP) and JUI-F, both the coalition partners of the PPP-led government made it clear that they would oppose the bill in the Parliament but the move of JUI-F was surprising. Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani of JUI-F on Wednesday announced to oppose the RGST Bill on behalf of his party that was criticised by Raja Zafarul Haq of PML-N. Raja Zafar had said that it was a negative sign for the politics of Pakistan that some political parties sitting on the treasury benches opposed something and then negotiated with the government to settle their personal interests. Haji Adeel of ANP dispelled the impression being given in the press that his party was supporting the RGST Bill. He said that ANP had given some recommendations to the government and if these were not addressed, his party would also oppose the bill. Most of the legislators from the Opposition as well as treasury benches had consensus on one point that the government should put the things in the right direction instead of introducing new taxation system. They said that by eliminating corruption and through good governance, the government could manage to save more money than it wanted to generate through new taxation. Sherala Malik of MQM said that his party would not support such law adding that the government should bring the agriculture sector under the tax network. Hasil Bazenjo said that the government could not get taxes from the powerful lobbies and ultimately the poor people had to bear the burden of new taxes. The same party that had promised with the masses to provide them Rroti, Kapra and Makan wanted to deprive them of these things, he added. Abbas Khan Afridi said that the government should check corruption and smuggling and bring reforms in the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement to generate more money. Maulana Sherani said that the imposition of new taxes would lead to corruption, so the government should eliminate corruption instead of introducing new taxes that would ultimately affect the poor masses only. Raja Zafarul Haq also endorsed his point of view. Raja Zafar and Zafar Ali Shah of PML-N stressed that Finance Minister, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh should answer the constitutional point raised by Raza Rabbani. It is pertinent to mention here that Rabbani had raised the point that the legislation on taxes was the exclusive domain of the provinces after the passage of 18th Amendment and provincial assemblies should pass the RGST Bill. Hasil Bazenjo and Dr Malik from Balochistan also had the same viewpoints and demanded that the government should clear the constitutional point but no answer came from the treasury benches from the last two days. As far as four privilege motions were moved in the House on Wednesday, among them, three were referred to the concerned standing committee and one was against the Finance Minister, Dr Hafiz Sheikh and he will respond today about it. Shahid Bugti and Seemi Siddique moved separate motions against the arrogant behaviour of PIA officials and administrator of Evacuee Property Trust Board (EPTB) Peshawar. Senator Ahmed Ali also moved against PIA for delaying the flight from UK. While, Zafar Ali Shah moved the privilege motion against Finance Minister Dr Abdul for giving the statement against the resolution passed by the Parliament. Senators Nilofar Bakhtiar and Dr Jevan Khatomal termed the blasphemy law as discriminatory legislation and stressed the need to review it as it was creating chaos in the country. However, Maulana Ghafoor Haidri was of the view that the legislation was not against the minorities. Chairman Senate had to sought report from the Interior Minister after the contradictory statement from Senators Dr Abdul Malik, Hasil Bazenjo and Mohabbat Khan Mari before the House was adjourned to meet again on Thursday at 11 am. Hasil Bazenjo and Dr Malik on the point of order had said that innocent people were being killed in different parts of Balochistan. While, Mohabbat Khan Mari termed it a conspiracy against Pakistan as innocent non-Balochis (Punjabis mostly) were being killed in the province.