MPs slow to probe tax evasion allegations against fellows

* Special parliamentary committee formed to probe allegations has met only once since formation over three months back

ISLAMABAD: The Special Committee of Parliament on Non-payment of Taxes by Parliamentarians is moving at a snail’s pace and would meet second time in the next week since its formation on April 8.
The non-payment of taxes by the parliamentarians had created a storm in the country some time back when media reports accused members of parliament of being tax evaders, which led to the constitution of the committee by the National Assembly to probe the issue. The committee has met only once so far to investigate this issue. A probe into the issue by the parliamentarians themselves and the committee’s slow pace of work has led to apprehensions. The committee would, however, meet now on July 15 to deliberate upon the issue.
The committee has asked the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman to attend the committee meeting with all the relevant record, and Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) secretary has also been invited to the meeting. The ten-member committee comprises of PML-N MNAs Omar Ayub Khan, Pervez Malik, Rana Afzal Khan, Mian Abdul Manan, Qaiser Ahmad Sheikh, Sheikh Rohail Asghar, PPP’s Shazia Mari, PTI’s Asad Umar, MQM’s Abdul Rashid Godil and JUI-F Asiya Nasir. Omar Ayub Khan heads the committee.
According to a committee member who requested not to be named, the slow working of the committee has also irritated its members because, being members of parliament, they want to remove the stigma that parliamentarians are tax evaders. He showed surprise over the long gap between the committee’s meetings, while noting that ordinary standing committees meet at regular intervals within a short span of time. He pointed out that it was a special committee dealing with an important and immediate issue. But it seems to be sluggish in meeting frequently to dispose off this matter as quickly as possible. It is worth mentioning that the National Assembly had adopted a motion for such a committee when PTI’s Asad Umar started a debate about taxes paid by parliamentarians.

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