ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Thursday published the fourth tax directory of parliamentarians, showing stunning increases in their tax contributions, spiking as high as almost 3,900% in individual cases, indicating that legislators have started disclosing their ‘real incomes’ after the Panamagate scandal.
Unlike the preceding year, income tax contributions of leading politicians significantly grew during fiscal year 2015-16 that ended in June last year including that of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his fierce opponent Imran Khan.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar launched the directory, according to which lawmakers, including members of the federal cabinet, paid Rs396 million in taxes during tax year 2016 – indicating an increase of Rs86 million or 28%.
Tax contributions by members of the Senate rose to Rs223 million – up by 30%. Members of the National Assembly paid more than Rs173 million during the same period – up by 26%.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif paid Rs2.52 million in taxes, an increase of 15% or Rs328,872 over the previous year.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, paid Rs159,609 in income tax, which was higher by 109% or Rs83,356 over the previous year.
Jahanghir Khan Tarin, another PTI leader, paid the highest income tax – Rs53.7 million. His contribution surged by 42% or Rs16.1 million over a single year.
The fiscal year 2015-16 closed three months after the Panama Leaks created ripples in Pakistan’s politics. The Supreme Court reserved its judgment on multiple petitions filed for the disqualification of PM Sharif.
The court is due to announce its verdict on Friday (today).
Last week, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced that the tax directory would be launched after it was approved by the federal cabinet. However, no cabinet meeting was held in the past week.
Since the FBR started publishing the tax directory of parliamentarians four years ago, tax contributions by members of the National Assembly and Senate increased by more than 200%.
There are still as many as half a dozen members of the federal cabinet who did not file their income tax returns for tax year 2016. Instead of taking legal action against them, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Thursday allowed them a month to file their tax returns.
Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Syed Sadaruddin Shah Rashidi, and Ports and Shipping Minister Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo are prominent among those who did not file their income tax returns for a second consecutive year, the tax directory shows.
The federal minister for National Food Security Sikandar Hayat Bosan and Minister for Housing and Works Akram Khan Duranni are also among those who did not submit their income tax returns.
Tax contributions by cabinet ministers increased by more than 70% to Rs28.6 million against the preceding year.
But a few federal ministers and parliamentarians who paid taxes on just their salary they received as members of parliament.
Of the 1,169 members of the Senate, National Assembly and four provincial assemblies, as many as 159 legislators did not file tax returns.
Under the law, filing income tax return is binding on all citizens earning more than Rs400,000 in a year and non-filer parliamentarians may face serious consequences if FBR chose to act against them at all.
Several lawmakers and cabinet ministers saw a dramatic increase in the amount of taxes they paid, which either reflected an abnormal increase in their incomes, or willingness to pay their taxes.
PTI’s Senator Mohsin Aziz paid Rs8.9 million in income tax – which amounted to an unbelievably high 1896% or Rs8.5 million more than the preceding year.
JUI-F’s Senator Mohammad Talha Mahmood paid Rs32.5 million in income tax – also higher by Rs18.5 million or 131%. Senator Talha’s name also appeared in Panama Leaks.
Senator Rozi Khan Kakar paid Rs49.9 million in income tax, showing a stunning growth of 312% or Rs37.8 million more than the preceding year. Senator Ishaq Dar’s tax contribution increased 18% to Rs4.6 million.
Senator Aitzaz Ahsan’s tax contribution declined 44% to Rs13.9 million. Senator Barrister Farogh Naseem’s tax contribution increased by 74% to Rs20.3 million. Senator Taj Mohammad Afridi also paid Rs6.4 million less than his previous year’s contribution that stood at Rs35.3 million.
The income tax paid by Minister of State for Interfaith Harmony Pir Aminul Hasnat Shah increased by 3852% to Rs4.6 million in 2016. In the preceding tax year, the minister paid just Rs116,711 under the same head, according to FBR’s record.
Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif paid Rs9.53 million against Rs7.6 million in income tax last year – an increase of 25.4%.
NA Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq paid Rs104,853 in income tax against Rs1.4 million tax paid in 2015. Leader of Opposition in NA Khursheed Shah paid Rs124,215 in income tax against Rs100,054 last year.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah paid Rs743,471 income tax against Rs661,661 in the previous year. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak paid Rs813,869 against Rs766,480 last year. His counterpart from Balochistan, Sanaullah Zehri paid Rs1.4 million against Rs1.28 million last year.
Former Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid paid Rs137,271 against mere Rs3,611 last year. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan paid Rs1.2 million –an increase of 40%.
Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who also owns a controlling stake in Air Blue, paid Rs2.7 million in 2016, up by 24%.
Water and Power Minister Khawaja Asif paid Rs831,986 against just Rs466,630 in the previous year. Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal contributed just Rs82,440.
Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique paid roughly Rs4 million in income tax, or 35% more than the previous year.
Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani paid Rs492,201 against Rs730,107 in the previous year. His deputy Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri paid Rs417,404 against Rs202,666 in income tax in 2015.