ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday deferred the approval of the much-awaited tax amnesty scheme after some of the ministers opposed it, expressed their reservations and sought further clarification.
To deliberate on the issue in detail, Prime Minister Imran Khan convened a special meeting of the cabinet on Wednesday.
Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed said he wanted to know the difference between the proposed scheme and the similar ones which had been launched by the previous government, according to the sources privy to the details of the cabinet meeting held at PM Office.
Expressing his reservation over the 15pc rate, Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda called for its reduction to facilitate taxpayers, the sources said.
They said Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry was of the opinion that there was a need for reforms in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Pakistan Customs department before launching an amnesty scheme.
According to the sources, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak also opposed the idea, saying the scheme would give no benefit to the government as well as to the people because all such previous schemes had remained useless.
Extradition of wanted people
In a landmark decision, however, the cabinet approved a proposed amendment to the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) to meet conditions of some countries and the European Union (EU) by waiving the death penalty for extradition of wanted people, including Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain, former finance minister Ishaq Dar, former premier Nawaz Sharif’s sons, Hassan and Hussain, and others.
“The cabinet approved proposed amendment to Section 302 of the PPC to meet reservations of the EU and countries like the United Kingdom which do not extradite wanted people to Pakistan because of the death penalty,” said Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry while addressing a press conference after the cabinet meeting.
The minister did not explain whether the proposed amendment would be implemented through an act of parliament or through an ordinance. “We are waiving the condition of capital punishment to catch our big thieves and robbers,” he added.
Mr Chaudhry said people such as Altaf Hussain, Ishaq Dar, and Hassan and Hussain Nawaz would be brought to the country for trial.