Islamabad: A total of 138 members of Pakistan's new National Assembly, including four federal ministers, have either paid no income tax in 2012 or do not figure in official records of tax-payers, according to a media report on Monday.

The figure accounts for almost 42.59 percent of the 324 new members of the Lower House of the Parliament. The tax of 40 members was deducted at source from their salaries during the previous term and they include five ministers.

Seventy-eight members paid less than Rs 100,000 a year as tax while the remaining 68 members paid over Rs 100,000. This latter group includes 18 lawmakers who paid more than Rs 500,000 and 11 parliamentarians who paid over Rs 1 million as tax in 2012.

"While billions are spent on the lawmakers, the 324 members of the Lower House, most of them rich, wealthy and part of the influential elite of Pakistan's society, paid a total of only Rs 54,089,198 as taxes in 2012, but the bulk of this amount was paid by about a dozen MNAs who paid in millions," the report said.

Among the major political parties, 56 percent of lawmakers of the ruling PML-N, 53 percent of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and 33 percent of the Pakistan People's Party either paid no tax or only a nominal amount was deducted from their salary.

A majority of PPP lawmakers paid large amounts as taxes. "Paying considerable amount of tax seems to be a trend among the politicians from the province of Sindh while in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, a majority of MPs known for their wealth evaded taxes," the report said.

PML-N MP is highest tax payer in Lower House

The biggest taxpayer for 2012 was PML-N parliamentarian Sheikh Fayyazuddin from Punjab. He paid Rs 12.32 million and was the highest tax payer in the Lower House.

Agricultural tax was not considered and all figures were based on income tax details provided by the lawmakers in nomination papers filed before the May 11 elections or released by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

Cabinet members Sardar Muhammad Yousaf, Pir Muhammad Amin ul Hasnat Shah and Abdul Hakeem Baloch paid no taxes while the FBR had no record of taxes paid by federal minister Rana Tanveer Hussain in 2012. Some famous names who paid no taxes last year include former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti, Pashtun leader Mahmood Khan Achakzai, and Tahir Bashir Cheema of the PML-N.

In the House of 342, 16 seats are vacant as bypolls are yet to be held while the results of elections in two constituencies were withheld. Thus data of only 324 lawmakers was available for analysis.


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