ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday said the ruling party is now showing its true colours of being a Rich Man Club rather than a political party representing all segments of Pakistani society. 

The chairman PTI has demanded the government to immediately roll back GST and price hike in electricity as these are causing immense suffering to the citizens, especially those who are least able to bear the burden of spiralling inflation and rising indirect taxation.

“The PTI realizes the economic crisis the country is facing but even before the elections it had provided alternate solutions to resolving the prevailing economic issues without adding to the burden of the ordinary citizen.

“Today, as it demands the government to roll back the GST and electricity tariff hikes, it is offering more viable and just ways of dealing with the economic crunch, beginning with the enforceable principle that all income should be taxed. The PTI demanded that the government should catch the tax evaders as Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has identified 300,000 people who should be paying taxes but are not paying any taxes. The PTI Chairman said an amount of Rs300 billion can be added immediately to the national exchequer if each of these tax evaders and thieves robbing the state of its dues is made to pay even Rs100,000 although many would be falling into a much higher tax bracket. Additionally, there is about 35 per cent sales tax evasion in the country and if this is stopped, Rs250 billion can be recovered.

The PTI demanded that exempted sectors like property and agriculture be brought into the tax net with agricultural tax being put on produce not a flat rate on holding. Capital Gains Tax must be introduced on property and the stock market and the federal government can take this measure.

This will again widen the tax net and be a progressive rather than a regressive tax. The rich in Pakistan have too many legal tax exemptions, while the middle classes and the poor continue to be burdened with increasing indirect taxes. This trend must be change and stopped.

PTI demanded that government should stop gas and electricity theft as Shahbaz Sharif during the election campaign declared that Rs300 billion was being lost to electricity theft and Rs600 billion to tax evasion. By ending these thefts, the national exchequer would be richer by Rs900 billion instead of gaining just Rs150 billion through rising of the electricity tariff.

The PTI demanded that the government should bring back looted money from foreign countries where new laws allow for this. Why has the government not taken advantage of these laws to bring back this money that belongs to the people of Pakistan? Government should end all money whitening schemes. This is a long overdue measure and Institution of FBR must be reformed immediately, including making it autonomous, the PTI demanded.

An immediate austerity policy should be introduced where all the Governor Houses in the country should be converted into public buildings, and their gardens into Parks. Present expenses of maintaining these should be made public also. These are colonial remnants and should be converted into museums PTI demanded.

Again, each province should have at best only one CM House (given security imperatives) and expenditures for that should be made public and drastically reduced. The practice of declaring private residences as “CM House” must end immediately as it puts a further strain on limited state resources. In effect all state/government extravagance, paid for by the hapless taxpayer of Pakistan, should come to an immediate end.