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Tax on Agricultural Income a Demand of IMF, Says Zardari

President says provinces will impose taxes on farmers in line with profitability and expenditures

by Staff Report

Photo courtesy National Assembly of Pakistan

President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday said the government is planning to tax agricultural income in accordance with conditions of International Monetary Fund (IMF), adding provincial governments will spearhead this initiative.

Addressing a seminar in Lahore marking the death anniversary of Waris Mir, he explained the provincial governments would impose taxes on large landholding farmers in accordance with their profitability and expenditures. Emphasizing prevailing economic challenges, he said resolving the situation required a holistic approach and prudent financial policies that steered the country toward development.

To achieve sustainable stability, he said, various sectors of the economy, especially the agricultural sector, must be developed along modern lines.

The president also addressed the power of mainstream and social media, noting it had empowered the voiceless, but lamenting that recent years had seen “grouping” along political and ideological lines. Maintaining he supported the freedom of the press and had tolerated harsh criticism against him, he said citizens must recognize that a “strong religious lobby” was manipulating and managing perceptions to sow divisions in Muslim societies.

“Societies need to be careful against agenda-driven information. One has to face trials and tribulations in life but must stay steadfast in the face of such challenges,” he said.

During his speech, Zardari also paid tribute to the political struggle and sacrifices of Benazir Bhutto, noting the Pakistan Peoples Party had a history of fighting for democracy in the country despite pressures and assassinations. “Assassination attempts and political pressures could not deter us from our mission as we firmly believe that life and death are in Allah’s hands,” he said.

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