Leaders from PML-N, PTI, PPP and other parties selected via computerised balloting.
ISLAMABAD: As many as 44 politicians, including Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, have been picked for an income tax audit during balloting held last month, officials of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) told The Express Tribune on Friday.
Others whose expenditures will be assessed to determine whether they lawfully paid their due taxes and fully declared their assets and expenditures include Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, Sindh Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah, Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Babar Awan, Muttahida Qaumi Movement leaders Dr Farooq Sattar and Khawaja Izharul Haq, Balochistan National Party chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal and Ports and Shipping Minister Kamran Michael. PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s brother-in-law, MNA Mir Munawar Ali Talpur has also been picked for the audit, according to FBR officials.
On September 14, when Finance Minister Ishaq Dar pressed the button for the computerised balloting, he would not have imagined that 21 parliamentarians from his own party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, would be among the 75,871 individuals selected for the audit.
Of the 44 parliamentarians, 21 belong to PML-N, 10 to PPP, six to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, five to MQM and one each to Jamaat-e-Islami and BNP. These include seven senators, 10 members of the National Assembly, eight members of the Sindh Assembly, three members of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and one member of the Balochistan Assembly.
The list negates the impression that the federal government is targeting opposition lawmakers, as claimed by senators from opposition parties. However, it will be a test case for the FBR to resist political pressure and conduct an impartial audit.
Among the PML-N figures to be audited, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who paid Rs5.13 million in income tax in the last fiscal year, will be a test case in particular.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2015.