Pakistan anti-graft body introduces new legal amendments to access tax record of politicians

Islamabad: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Sunday asked the Pakistani government to allow the anti-graft body to access local and offshore tax records of all politicians, bureaucrats and their families by introducing new legal amendments before approval of the budget.

The anti-graft watchdog NAB has recommended four major amendments in the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 through the Finance Bill 2021, which the National Assembly is expected to approve next week on Tuesday, reported The Express Tribune.

These proposals, if accepted by the government, will allow NAB to even reopen the past and closed transactions of the last 20 years, official documents showed.

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The “request” for bringing these amendments in the Income Tax Ordinance with effect from the year 2001 is made at a time when the bureaucracy has already been complaining about overdoing by NAB. The opposition parties too have lodged protests over what they call “witch-hunting” by NAB, reported The Express Tribune.

The anti-corruption body – NAB has been mired in controversy over violation of human rights, character assassination and arresting people at the inquiry stage.

NAB has asked to end immunity in sharing of local and offshore tax records of politically exposed persons including the members of National Assembly, bureaucracy, public servants and people in service of Pakistan, the holders of public office and their spouses and children, the documents showed.

The sources said that the government’s top tier was reviewing NAB’s request and the decision will be taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The proposal is pushed to be included in the amended Finance Bill 2021, which Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin is expected to introduce in the National Assembly on Monday (tomorrow), reported The Express Tribune.

As a practice, any tax matter-related changes that the government wishes to bring after the introduction of the budget are then brought through the finance bill.

One of the reasons for delaying the amended finance bill is the government’s indecisiveness about NAB’s proposals, the sources said.

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