Amnesty scheme: Rs 100 billion so far; more money in the pipeline

Caretaker Minister for Information and Broadcasting Barrister Syed Ali Zafar has said that over Rs 100 billion have been generated so far from the tax amnesty scheme while more amount is expected to come under the scheme and also under the head of investment bonds. Speaking at a news conference here on Monday, Zafar said that till July 01, more than Rs 100 billion have been collected under the amnesty scheme while a lot of money is in the pipeline under the scheme, adding more money is expected to come in the national kitty under the head of investment bonds as the scheme has been extended till July 31.

Talking about the July 25 general election, he dispelled the speculations of any delay in the polls, saying that the election would be held on time at all costs. “Our mandate is till July 25 and it will end with holding of the general election. Let me assure you that election will be held on its scheduled time even if it is not possible in some parts of the country due to any reason,” he made it clear.

To a question about the ongoing cases against politicians and the Sharif family, he said that the caretaker government does not have any mandate to interfere in the investigations launched by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) or any other agency. He, however, advised to approach the Supreme Court if anybody feels that he or she is being victimized in any way.

“We as caretakers cannot interfere in the ongoing trials and if anybody feels otherwise, he/she should approach the relevant institution, which is the Supreme Court,” he added.

He also made it clear that all the political parties are being provided a level playing field, adding that nobody believes in favoritism in the caretaker setup. “The general election will be held in a free, fair and transparent manner and I also want to make it sure that there is no room in the caretaker setup for those who believe in favoritism,” he added.

To another query about putting the names of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and her daughter Maryam Nawaz on the Exit Control List (ECL), he said that they are now abroad and putting someone’s name on the ECL means to prevent him or her from leaving the country. “The question of putting their names on the ECL arises only when they return back to the country,” he said.

Briefing the media about the status of implementation on the FATA reforms, the caretaker minister said implementation plan will be deliberated on Wednesday (tomorrow).

He said that an important meeting of the implementation committees both at the center and the provincial level has been convened on Wednesday in Peshawar where all the stakeholders concerned have been invited to attend for the sake of further deliberations.

He also disclosed that an ordinance, the draft of which has already been finalized, will be promulgated soon at provincial level to cover all the issues relating to the merger, after the meeting of federal and provincial implementation committees.

He said that a schedule will be decided to release required funds for the welfare of tribal areas, adding that measures will also be undertaken for legislation regarding taxation and exemptions for the erstwhile Fata.

About the previous quota system for students belonging to formerly Fata to make sure their admissions in the education institutions and government jobs, he said that there is a consensus on the matter that all the previous concessions to the people of erstwhile Fata and students will remain intact.