Govt trying to broaden tax net: Qureshi

MULTAN, May 12 (APP)::Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Sunday said the Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI) government was striving hard to enhance the tax net base.

The past regimes remained dependent on indirect taxation, however, the incumbent was trying bring more people into the tax net as it would help reduce burden on the common men, he said while talking to newsmen.

Qureshi said the government pursued the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to soften its terms and conditions for the financial package.

He said when the PTI came to power, there was difference of 19 billion dollars in imports and exports. There was no investment as well while there were no avenues for creation of jobs. The PTI government tried its best to settle financial issues without the IMF, he added.

Qureshi said the PTI government reduced sales tax on petroleum products to 17 per cents from 56 per cent during the PML-N tenure.

To a question, he said some powers did not want stability in Pakistan. They did not want to see the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) completed as it would enhance regional connectivity of China.

To a query about India, the foreign minister said Pakistan would never respond in an irresponsible way. “When we will have solid evidences then we will talk.” India had already faced humiliation internationally as it could not prove any evidence against Pakistan on the Pulwama incident, he added.

Qureshi said funds of Rs 680 million for south Punjab secretariat would be earmarked in the upcoming budget. He had talked to Chief Minister Usman Buzdar in that regard.

He said the PML-N was not interested in creation of south Punjab province and it wanted to create division among people of south Punjab as it had presented a bill regarding south Punjab and Bahawalpur province in the assembly.

He said three PTI MNAs- Sardar Nasrullah Dareshak, Samiullah Chaudhary and Zahoor Qureshi- had submitted a bill in the National Assembly Secretariat for south Punjab province. He himself had assisted the MNAs in framing the bill and they would urge the NA Sspeaker to consider the bill in the session to be held on May 13.

The PTI government would complete its constitutional term of five years, Qureshi said.
He said situation in Kashmir was not good and India would have to come to the dialogue table with Pakistan. Pakistan would present its viewpoint in an effective manner if India came to the dialogue table, he said.

About human traffic issue with China, Qureshi said the government was in contact with the Chinese government and would sort out the issues. He, however, added that conspiracies were being hatched to damage Pak-China relations.

He said all projects of the PTI would facilitate the masses. China and Pakistan would ink an agreement on agriculture framework which would benefit the country’s agriculture sector. The Chinese vice president was scheduled to visit Pakistan on May 26 in this regard.

He added that Pakistan was an agricultural country and transfer of technology with China would urely help enhance per acre yield. It would also provide relief to farmers and help minimising inflation in the country.

He said the Local Government act 2019 had been approved and it would lead to powerful local government institutions which would surely serve the masses. The local bodies would be given 30 per cent budget and the masses would feel relief at the grassroots level, he added.