Pakistani MPs pay ridiculously low income tax

Islamabad, Sep 10 (IANS) Many Pakistani parliamentarians pay very low income tax that “do not match their princely lifestyle”, according to the tax directory of MPs.

Going by their income tax returns, Senator Taj Muhammad Afridi is the richest MP in Pakistan and Chaudhry Muhammad Ashraf the poorest, the Dawn on Saturday quoted the directory as saying.

The directory released by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday gives some insight into their wealth, based on the tax paid by the rich and the not-so-rich members of the National Assembly and the Senate, the daily said.

“But the lifestyle and daily expenditures of many of them are in stark contrast to what the income tax declarations indicate,” it added.

Few MPs are among the highest tax-paying citizens, according to the directory of 1,074,000 taxpayers for 2015.

“Save a few worthy exceptions, the sums paid as income tax by most of the elected representatives are laughably low and do not match their princely lifestyle,” the Dawn said.

Pakistan’s industrialist Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif paid Rs 2.195 million (Rs 1 million equals $9,580) as income tax while his brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shah­baz Sharif paid Rs 7.609 million.

Shahbaz Sharif’s son Hamza paid Rs 6.33 million. The Prime Minister’s son-in-law, retired Captain Muhammad Safdar, paid only Rs 49,902 as income tax.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, who lives in a palatial farmhouse, paid Rs 76,244 as tax during the year and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Fazlur Rehman paid a paltry Rs 49,902, the daily reported.

The directory has been compiled on the basis of returns filed by the parliamentarians. The Dawn said some legislators had not filed their tax returns for the year.

–IANS

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