By Muhammad Javed
The ever loudest slogans of love for Overseas Pakistanis (OPs) in the history of Pakistan are by Nawaz Sharif. It is however also a record that in practice, he always snatched something from these OPs rather than giving them practically anything. Yes; one thing he did and that was that he “opened” Green Channel. Bhutto opened “open access” to Passport for every citizen.
- For one example, in his second tenure showing implementation of his ever empty love, he imposed a “very heavy tax” on these very OPs in the shape of a separate national identity card for these OPs on the pretext that the existing Urdu language possessed by them was not readable by the authorities of their host employer countries. He introduced a new separate English Card at heavy fee renewable every two year by each member of the family. Pakistani Missions abroad for the first time protested on this levy and termed this unjustified but Nawaz Sharif did not listen as he was in need of ever increasing cash requirements and this English/Urdu pretext opened a new venue of cash for his cash hungry government. It was the heaviest financial burden these OPs ever had. Thanks to PM Zafarullah Jamili who realized the grave injustice and drastically reduced its issuance and renewal fees.
It is waste of this esteem space to mention how almost every night in talk show the nation listens how “expenses” of NS Government are ever increasing and how through new methods the new income to meet these ever growing expenses is being generated to which our Apex Court says it is a Government’s own policy matter not interferable by the Court.
- Though the Home Remittances by Overseas Pakistanis are said to be free from any taxes, effective 01 July 2015 silently a new Tax has been imposed. According to the banking staff verbally it is “Nawaz Sharif Tax”. However, as is the policy of the NS only to crush the poor, this tax has been imposed on poor only. Those who are sending upto Dinars 75 or less (Rs. 20,000) a new Tax of Dinar 1/- Rs. 270) has been imposed. Those sending Dinars 76/- (Rs. 20,460) or above are exempt. An average labourer gets monthly Dinars 70 to 100 here (Rs. 18,000 to Rs. 25,000 approx). Thus this tax is only on the low paid labourer. Yesterday I wanted to send Rs. 20,000 to someone in Pakistan. The bank official advised me, and they are on humanity ground for low paid advising everyone, that if you add this Dinar one in the remittance amount it would become Dinar 76/- and would save me from tax. Thus instead Rs. 20,000 my remittance to the one I was sending went at Rs. 20,455 i.e, Rs. 455 extra to the payee rather than for going to add in the amount where NS could buy bullet proof cars, travel with large baggage, buy steel bullets for any metro. Though it is claimed remittances are free from taxes, the fact is 10% withholding tax is imposed on the bank accounts of those OPs having only foreign remittances.
- The most unfortunately, Sheikh Rasheed who claims himself a “Bhumpoo” of Overseas Pakistanis and Imran Khan who depends on Ops are totally silent on this new tax. Our leaders including those of MQM though cry for Overseas Pakistanis but they are only interested to the extent of Ops voting rights but not at all on injustices like above new silent NS Taxes.