Massive spending on elections but no NTN to pay tax

Anybody jump into election fray is supposed to have loads of cash parked in banks for spending on campaign but there is no requirement of National Tax Number (NTN), let alone tax payment. One cannot buy a new car without NTN but it is not mandatory for becoming lawmakers who impose tax on others. CIRP study has identified 12 percent members of national and provincial assemblies without NTNs.

Non-NTN holders are in all assemblies and parties reflecting on societal behavior promoted and patronized by the elite class. Out of over 180 million people of Pakistan, a research by NADRA found out last year, hardly two percent are registered for NTN and the less than one fourth of them actually pay tax.

There are some 1,611,153 people who frequently travel abroad but are not NTN holders, revealed NADRA study. Some 584,730 individuals having multiple bank accounts do not have any NTN. Similarly 56,421 owners of residences in posh localities are dodging the tax net as they do not have any NTN. Some 19,149 Pakistanis own expensive vehicles but are not NTN holders. As many as 66,736 individuals heavily consume utility services without any NTN, 13,201 individuals have arms licenses but do not have any NTN, 25,133 citizens are in the best profession but do not pay tax, according to NADRA.

Public representatives who are considered role model for the masses have not set inspiring examples. Yousaf Raza Gillani, former prime minister, had registered himself for NTN two years after becoming the chief executive of the country. So is true in many other cases. There are still 123 lawmakers without NTN.

National Assembly that draws representation from all parts of Pakistan has 30 MNAs without NTNs. And there is no mainstream party that does not have such NTN-less individuals. Majority of NTN-less MNAs belong to Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) – a majority party in the National Assembly, with nine lawmakers falling in this category. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law Capt. ® Muhammad Safdar is also included among them. Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians has four MNAs without NTNs; Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Jam’at Islami Pakistan (JIP) have two MNAs each in this category whereas Baluchistan National Party (BNP), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and National Peoples Party (NPP) have one each. Seven such MNAs contested elections as independent candidates.

Punjab Assembly has 43 MPAs without NTNs. Thirty four of them (79%) belong to PML-N; four were elected independently; three contested on PTI tickets and one from PPPP platform.

Sindh Assembly houses 15 MPAs without NTNs. PPPP leads with nine lawmakers. Minister for Katchi Abadi and Special Development, Muhammad Jawaid, is included among them. MQM follows with four MPAs. Former minister for excise and taxation, Abdul Rauf Siddiqui, an MQM MPA, does not have NTN either. PML-F has two such MPAs.

KP Assembly has 31 MPAs without NTNs. PTI leads with 12 such lawmakers followed by its ally, JIP that has six lawmakers of this category. Minister for Finance and Revenue, Siraj-ul-Haq, Minister for Zakat, Usher, Auqaf, Haj and Religious Affairs, Habib-ur-Rehman, Minister for Sports, Culture and Tourism, Mahmoood Khan, and Chief Minister’s Special Assistant, Soran Singh, do not have NTNs, among others. Four MPAs belong to PML-N and five to JUI-F. Four lawmakers without NTNs were elected as independent candidates.

Baluchistan Assembly has four MPAs not registered for NTNs. JUI-F has two whereas NP and PkMAP have one each. Another MPA of this category won the election as an independent candidate.

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