ISLAMABAD: Opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly on Thursday called for withdrawal of additional General Sales Tax (GST) levied on petroleum products, saying this increase should be debated in the House.
Speaking on point of order, the members belonging to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Awami Muslim League (AML) and Mutehida Qaumi Movement (MQM) criticized the decision and said additional GST is not fair as it would further burden the poor people.
They also staged a token walkout from the house to get their protest against the decision registered.
Earlier, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar defended the decision of the government and claimed that it was in no way a violation of the law.
Syed Naveed Qamar was of the view that the step was a violation of Article 77 of the Constitution. Naveed Qamar said the PML-N in its election manifesto had pledged to rely on direct taxation after coming into power, but now it was violating its own document.
He said the government first increased the GST on petroleum products from 17 % to 22 % and now had enhanced it further to 27 %, the highest proportion of tax ever levied on a single commodity.
He emphasized that the matter should be brought to national assembly for debate as input of the opposition may help in finding an amicable solution of the matter.
Rasheed Godail of MQM said impact of petroleum products decrease should be passed on to the masses. He said parliament is the supreme forum to discuss issues relating to public importance
but it is beyond thinking that why the tax has been imposed.
He said there are many other areas where the government can generate revenue but imposing taxes through SROs would not be right.
He also proposed that it is blessing of Allah Almighty that major deposits of iron ore and copper have been found in Chiniot,asking the government to conduct mining for betterment and ensure fair distribution of resources.
Sahibzada Tariqullah was of the view that the prices of petroleum products should be further decreased and masses should be provided relief.
He said although the government has slashed petroleum prices but its actual impact has not been seen on daily use items which are being sold at higher prices.
Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad expressed its pleasure over the reserves found in Chiniot and said the government should avoid further burdening the masses through imposition of taxes.
Impact of petrol prices directly influence common man, he said and added the masses should be provided a relief of low petroleum prices in the international market.
He said the gas prices in the world have reasonably come down and the government should keep in mind the current price status before importing the commodity.