Cabinet Disjointed on Tax Amnesty Scheme

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Cabinet Disjointed on Tax Amnesty Scheme

The federal cabinet, on Tuesday, could not approve the ‘Assets Declaration and Amnesty Scheme, 2019’ and decided to convene a special session on Wednesday (today) to discuss in detail the pros and cons of the proposed initiative.

Difference of opinion reportedly emerged during the cabinet meeting, on Tuesday, as critics of the initiative questioned that how the amnesty scheme was different from the one introduced by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government during its last days in power.

The members also asked how they could be able to defend the scheme when they had been vehemently criticizing the one introduced by the PML-N.

They were of the view that the scheme went against the manifesto of the party and that the public should be taken into confidence over the merits of the initiative before formally launching it.

The prime minister reportedly advised the members to prepare recommendations and present those in the cabinet session, on Wednesday.

Briefing the media after the cabinet meeting, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the members were not able to sufficiently discuss the scheme and that there was still room for further talks.

“That is why the prime minister has called a special meeting on Wednesday to finish the discussions before it is sent for clearance,” he maintained.

The minister said the federal cabinet expressed the resolve to continue crackdown against terrorists under the National Action Plan (NAP) to eventually eliminate the menace from the country.He said the government is moving fast to implement NAP.

He said external factors are involved in the terrorist incidents in the country, and that the government is close to completely destroying the network. He said full implementation of NAP is the yardstick to overcome incidents of terrorism, adding that civil and military leadership is on the same page in this regard.

Fawad said the federal cabinet expressed serious concerns over the ongoing money laundering cases and expressed the resolve to take those to their logical conclusion.

He said owing to the flawed policies of the past rulers, the country is facing inflation and economic crisis. He alleged that in the past, Sharif family and Asif Ali Zardari had been involved in large-scale corruption, loot and plunder.

He said sons of Nawaz Sharif – Hasan Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz – and Ishaq Dar are not coming to Pakistan to face cases in the courts.

Fawad said 95 per cent assets declared by the Sharif family are based on money remitted through telegraphic transfers.

He said cabinet members of the past governments were also involved in mega scandals as some members of the PML-N cabinet also kept iqamas from foreign countries to launder money.

He said as per investigation, $26 million were received by Shehbaz family through TT whereas Nawaz Family got millions of dollars in Al-Azizia Steel Mills.

He said, out of declared assets of Hamza Shehbaz, 99 per cent were TT-based whereas his mother Nusrat Shehbaz had received 85 per cent money from abroad through telegraphic transfers.

He said in just one night, Rs 1.2 billion were transferred from Hill Metal to Nawaz Sharif’s account and similarly Rs 820 million were transferred in Mariam Nawaz’s account from which she bought properties and assets.

To a question, Fawad said amendments in Pakistan Penal Code are being made to bring the absconders like Altaf Hussian, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz and Ishaq Dar back to country.

To another question, he said there is no plan to reshuffle the cabinet and that whenever there will be any change in portfolios, the PM Office will make a formal announcement in this regard.

He said Bilawal Bhutto Zardari may not know but during the PPP rule the incidents of terrorism were quite common which now had been controlled to a great extent. He said Quetta incident is tragic, but there should be no politics on the issue.

About Pakistan Steel Mills, the minister said it was not suffering losses before the PPP government.

He said that six major investors have offered to invest in the mills under the public-private partnership mode. He said the production capacity of steel mills will be increased further and it will be ensured that the interests of the employees are protected.

Fawad said Prime Minister Imran Khan will launch Apna Ghar housing scheme on Wednesday (today) and in the first phase 1,35,000 apartments will be built.