Taxation, politics and buzurgwar Nawaz Sharif – by Ali Raja

If you ever happen to visit Punjab and intend to communicate, I just might be able to give you a valuable piece of advice. Whenever you see an elderly fellow, with a crooked back, walking with a stick, do not use your testimonial Urdu skills by calling him “Buzurg” (elderly). In case you commit such a blunder, try keeping enough distance from the guy, distance which keeps you out of his stick’s range.

“Buzurg” is a term often taken in an offensive manner by the elderly citizens of Punjab and for a very obvious reason. In our side of the state “Buzurg” is the tag applied to a fellow who has completed his service of mental and physical health and has retired from active life. So any person who does not recognize you, does not remember your name, after being reminded hugs you with and utmost valour and then again asks “Ae Kun Betha Eee” is a “Buzurg.” This term whenever used is uttered with a displeased and annoying tone for example if an old fellow is walking in front of your car, in a slow motion manner, blocking the entire way, you will take your head out of the window and say “O Buzurgo Zara Side Maaro.” Then that “Buzurg” who still considers himself a jolly young man (most in Punjab never get old, at least in aspirations) will reply you in words that in no way classify for any dictionary.

On Saturday the 13th November 2010, our charming Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani said “Nawaz Sharif is our Buzurg and we do not mind his criticism.” The trouble shooter P.M. definitely used the term in a crisp and clear “Urdu” accent.But keeping in mind the “Multani” background of Mr. Gilani it won’t be fictitious to say that he might be having some other meaning in his head.

This statement came at a time when Nawaz Sharif and his mujahideen eleven of the PML-N are in an offensive mood. Nawaz Sharif has taken a very firm stance against the imposition of taxes in Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif has categorically stated that he and his party will never second an option that leads towards new taxes. In his opinion the nation of Pakistan is moving through a trauma and new taxes will bring a Tsunami of Poverty to Pakistan. It would be cruel to impose new taxes or even reform the older ones in a scenario where commoners of Pakistan are struggling to sustain their life line.

Keeping in view the grave concerns of Nawaz Sharif one can definitely asses what was going on in the P.M.’s head on Saturday and so can one draw a conclusion that though in an “Urdu” accent, the P.M. tagged Nawaz Sharif as a “Punjabi Buzurg”, and with all the reasons.

Nawaz Sharif has very brilliantly qualified to this category and happens to have fulfilled all the prerequisites. His physical health though a bit polished with the tonic of “Siri Pai”, his mental health has reached it’s age of retirement. Let us have a look at the reasons for this abhorrent assessment:-

Nawaz Sharif has very serious reservations over the One-Time Flood Tax proposed by President Asif Ali Zardari. In his opinion Pakistan’s poor class will not be able to bear yet another imposed tax. When asked that this tax is in fact directed towards he wealthier part of the society he strikes back with the argument that in such a fragile state of economy, another tax will discourage Pakistani elite in contributing towards the state interests. “Marun Guthna Phoote Ankh”…..Let us have a look at the other side of the prism:-

It was year 1991 and Mr. Nawaz Sharif was the Prime Minister under the IJI blanket. An year when the G.D.P per PPP was 1333.213 (Now being 2670.817), an year when the foreign reserves were 11 Billion (Now being 17 billion), an year when per captia income was $292(Now being $1250), in short an year when Pakistan’s Economy was far back than where it stands today. Interestingly it is also the year when “One Time Corporate Assets Tax” of 1991 was levied on all Companies defined under Companies Ordinance 1984. If we are not mistaken this was neither the year of floods nor earth quake. What was the need for this one time tax at that time and what need stands missing today? Resentment of One-Time Flood Tax from a gentleman who him self has been the operator of it in the past leads to nothing but suspicions over the grip of memory and mental health of the old fellow. So as a young one I would remind Nawaz Sharif of what has happened in the past.

The second land of bombardment for Nawaz Sharif is the Reformed General Sales Tax. With his five senses out of order Nawaz Sharif is very active with his 6th sense and despite assurances from the Federal Government that R.G.S.T. will not increase the rate of inflation or poverty Nawaz Sharif can sense the Tsunami of Poverty approaching Pakistan. In his respected opinion a Reformed G.S.T. will be an Increased G.S.T. which will have claws gripped over a wider range. This is unacceptable as the poor in Pakistan are already finding it hard to drag their wagon wheel. An increase in the taxes will lead to nothing but further disruption.

Let me remind Nawaz Sharif that by all aspects of economic analysis the poor in Pakistan were not having “Man o Salwa”  from 1990-1993 and from 1997-1999. The poor were neither having smiles of joy nor were they having tears of happiness. In conditions like those let me remind Nawaz Sharif of his strategies:-

The Sales Tax Act 1990” was introduced by none other than Mr. Nawaz Sharif and his finance team. The Act did not only change the pattern of Tax Assessment (which the R.G.S.T also intends to do) but also increased the scope of taxation and it’s rate. Section 5 of the Act did not only raise the rate of taxation but also the domain of Sales Tax. Now that the Federal Government is doing the same in a condition where there is no way out but this I don’t see any reason for Nawaz Sharif becoming an obstacle.

Along with the Sales Tax there are numerous other initiatives which Nawaz Sharif took himself in the past and calls evil today. A brief list of these “Evil Tactics” is as under:-

Sales Tax Act 1990

Finance Act 1991

Export Tax Act 1992

Sales Tax Amended Act 1992

Withholding Tax Amended Act 1992

Credit of Income Tax From Electricity Consumers 1992

Public Finance Taxation 1997

Import Duty 1997

The list of taxation measures taken in the past by Mr. Nawaz Sharif need a thorough separate study but the only question that tickles the human mind is that if “Taxation” did not bring a Tsunami then, how come it will bring a Tsunami now?

The guy who stood by taxation in the past is now its bitter opponent the only reason a commoner can asses is that due to growing age repercussions Nawaz Sharif has encountered a memory loss. He cannot recognize events very familiar and asks again and again “Ae Kon Betha Ee.” Along with being very innocent Nawaz Sharif has also grown very wise with the age and has given very valuable cost free suggestions to the government. He has advised Asif Ali Zardari to bring back the Swiss money and there will be no need left to impose tax. Keeping the grown age of Nawaz Sharif I would suggest him not to run after Asif Ali Zardari, there is much he can do by sitting at home. At this age I would just recommend short term exercises that he can carry out:-

Nawaz Sharif can ask Ishaq Dar to bring back the Laundered $3.725 million in Emirates Bank, $ 8.539 million in Al Faysal Bank and $2.622 million which he himself had deposited according to his confessional statement.

Nawaz Sharif can also return the debts worth 614 billion which were written off to the Itefaq group of Industries.

Nawaz Sharif can pay the 1.3 million pounds related to Russian Helicopters Purchase.

Nawaz Sharif can pay the 30 million duty tax pending on him since 1997.

Nawaz Sharif can sell the Melco District Apartment which were never shown in his worth in any of his declarations.

In case Nawaz Sharif cannot under take such exercises at this part of age I would congratulate the Prime Minster for making a perfect guess about Nawaz Sharif and I recommend the Prime Minister to take the head out of the window and gently say:-

“Buzurgo Zara Side Maaro”



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