The passage of the amendments proposed by the Parliamentary Committee for Finance and Economic Affairs in the Sales Tax Bill 2010, also known as the Reformed Sales Tax Bill, was remarkable for the pandemonium it caused in the Upper House. This reflected the knowledge that the GST was being revised into a value added tax because of commitments to the IMF, as declared time and again by the Finance Minister. There was also the odd sight of government allies expressing their opposition by abstention, which incidentally let the Bill, which was decided by members present and voting, pass handily. Now that the Bill has passed the Senate, its passage through the National Assembly, and thus through Parliament, is expected to be a mere formality, and at the federal level, it seems that all has been done to make it happen by January 1, when it is due to take effect. On the face of it, the Opposition has been standing up to the government from the committee stage, and the abstention in the Senate was over the failure of the government to incorporate in the final Bill the dissenting notes of the coalition partners, who did not Have any of their suggestions included. The opposition PML(N) has vowed to continue to oppose the Bill in the National Assembly, but like the coalition partners, does not want to be seen as opposing the Bill to the international lending agencies, while wishing the domestic audience, the electorate, to think it has opposed the Bill. All those wishing to appear as opposing the Bill are doing so because they realize it means a further inflationary spurt, which will only add to the current, massive price hike that has been persistent and thus debilitating. The inflationary spiral has been worsened by the floods this year, not caused by them, and any change in the taxation regime will only serve further to destabilize the economy. The opposition parties still can make changes in the Bill in the National Assembly, but the real opportunity comes in the provincial assemblies, which also have to pass enabling legislation. The ANP heads the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government, the PML (N) the Punjab government, and the MQM is part of the Sindh government, and if they were really opposed to the RGST and the inflation it would bring, they would use this to prevent the passage of this legislation. However, since their Senate performance, the nation should expect them to continue the same sort of opposition, which is aimed to convince domestic opinion that its parties are on its side. However, the opposition parties seem to want to please the IMF more than the people of Pakistan, and thus will not engage in opposition to a new tax that will only serve to crush the people further under the burden of renewed taxation. The Rs 30 billion it is to levy must come from somewhere, and if not the peoples pockets, then where?