The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has suspended the membership of around 150 Parliamentarians for not submitting their annual tax returns.
Those who lost their memberships include National and Provincial assembly members and senators.
Federal Ministers Fehmida Mirza, Hammad Azhar, Shafqat Mehmood and Noor-ul-Haq Qadri lost their National Assembly memberships.
The list also includes 36 members of National Assembly members, 69 of Punjab Assembly, 14 of Sindh Assembly, 21 of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and seven of Balochistan Assembly. Three senators also lost their memberships.
However, this action doesn’t amount to much as the ECP only has the power under the constitution to suspend members. Parliamentarians whose membership has been severed cannot take part in the sessions of their respective houses.
Other than that, they will still be members assemblies and the Senate. Federal minister will also keep their portfolios and perform ministerial duties.
Under the constitution, members are bound to submit their tax returns every year till December 31. Those members who do not submit it lose their membership.
However, it will be reinstated as soon as these members submit their returns.
Parliamentarian’s tax directory
Earlier this month, yhe Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) released the tax directory of parliamentarians for the year 2019, providing details on how much income tax was paid by each of the Senators, members of the National Assembly (MNAs) and members of the provincial assemblies(MPAs).
The data reveals that the income tax paid by Prime Minister Imran Khan jumped to a staggering Rs9.8 million in 2019 from just Rs280,000 in 2018. The prime minister received Rs38.9 million from normal income (business income, salary, dividends) and Rs2.28 million from presumptive income (rental income, profit on debt, exports). He also received Rs2.36 million from agricultural income.
In total, the prime minister earned Rs43.5 million in a year.
Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz’s Javed Latif, speaking on Nadeem Malik Live, demanded a probe to determine how the prime minister’s income had increased.
Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, who was a member of the economic and finance committee in 2019, paid Rs26.6 million as income tax.
Law Minister Farogh Naseem paid Rs4.2 million while Minister of Science and Technology Shibli Faraz paid Rs900,000.
The biggest taxpayer among the parliamentarians was PTI’s MNA from Karachi Najeeb Haroon. He paid Rs140.7 million in income tax.
Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam (F) Senator Muhammad Talha Mahmood paid Rs32.28 million in income tax.
Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Shehbaz Sharif paid nearly Rs9.73 million in tax in 2018 but the figure came down to around Rs8.24 million in 2019.
Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz Sharif paid Rs8.7 million in 2018 but the figure slumped to Rs7.1 million in 2019.
Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had paid an income tax of nearly Rs300,000 in 2018 but the payment went up to Rs535,000 in 2019.