Corruption has been a major issue in Pakistan since a long time. To curb this phenomenon, many efforts have been made, for instance “Ehtisab Bureau” of Saif Ur Rehman, established by Nawaz Sharif and “National Accountability Bureau” by Pervaiz Musharraf.
NAB chairman Fasi Bukhari said that corruption of 10-15 billion was being done in the country. A report by “Institute of Investigative Reporting” was presented by Omer Cheema, in which he highlighted that most of the parliamentarians were not paying taxes. This issue has raised annoyance and discomfort in the parliament and government.
Given the current issue, why do you think politicians raise hue when accountability issue is raised?
I believe that before answering the question we need to assess if the issue is tax evasion or the fact that most of the politicians are not taxed to begin with. If 80% of the politicians earn through agriculture then legally they are not required to pay taxes.
Since specifically Ishaq Darr’s case has been discussed, it is not fair to accuse him of tax evasion, based on the amount that he pays in taxes. Since most of his income is based on foreign income, a more rational approach would be to investigate if such an income is taxable.
The actual issue here is to expand the tax net, which we plan to work on. However, before that is done it is unfair to accuse any entity of tax evasion when their income is non-taxable according to the law.
Is PML Likeminded a part of PML N now or is it an alliance? If it is an alliance then why were you present in manifesto preparation meeting?
It has been our effort to bring all PML segments together but unfortunately PML Q with its leadership of Chaudhry Shujat decided to align with PPP.
PML Likeminded signed an alliance with PML N on 12 May, 2012 without demanding any position in Punjab government.
PML Likeminded’s manifesto was announced publically in October 2011. This time when PML N’s manifesto was being prepared, chaired by Sartaj Aziz we remained a part of the whole process. Since I was the one who prepared the manifesto for my own party my presence was required. Secondly it was a part of our agreement that PML N and Likeminded would prepare the party manifesto together, as a consequence we remained a part of the 5 meetings aimed at manifesto preparation with Nawaz Sharif.
People criticize that you have no vote bank, what are your views about it?
My family came from a region 20 miles from Lahore but it was a part of India, it is irrational to state that I have no foothold in the electorate just for this reason.
In Lahore I have contested in elections and defeated people like Sheikh Rafiq, Aitezaz Ahsan and in 2002, I secured the only seat in Lahore for PML Q. The candidate who lost went till Supreme Court and lost there so saying that I have no vote bank is senseless.
Please tell us about the Income Tax amount that you submit?
I have a joint family system and my elder brothers look after the family business. The combined tax of our companies that is submitted is about Rs 3 billion. The whole country generates 1950 billion rupees tax in which 3 billion is our contribution. My personal contribution would be in millions.
Do you think elections will be delayed?
In present times the public of Pakistan is in sheer desolation with, unemployment and scarcity of necessities. The only ray of hope for them is the upcoming elections. If any entity tries to postpone elections it will swerve the situation off-track,
Technically in the National assembly elections can be delayed for a period of 6 moths, twice but that too requires approval of parliament and courts. We have witnessed that elections were carried out even in times of Swat’s uprising and disruption in Baluchistan. If we talk about Provincial assembly, there is no provision of extending its tenure. Our efforts should be to make sure elections are executed according to constitution.
Given all the apprehension we should remember that each election brings its queries and anxieties and yet every time elections are held peacefully so it is wiser for those politicians who wish a delay, to focus on their vote bank.
How do you think the situation will form in the situation where there is a dispute between Supreme Court and the Government?
It is unwise to assess that the judiciary will act in its previous role as a passive entity. We observe that the quality of judges presiding benches is very fine and they will ensure independence and authority for the judiciary and its decisions. Throughout the world there is no strict demarcation between the powers of judiciary and executives.
Source: Zer-e-Bahas – Samaa TV – 16 December 2012