Tax hikes spark massive outrage in Pakistan

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The budget sets a challenging tax revenue target of 13 trillion rupees (USD 47 billion) for the fiscal year starting July 1, representing a nearly 40 per cent increase….reports Asian Lite News

There is widespread anger in Pakistan towards the government over the significant tax hikes that the authorities have levied to boost state revenues with an aim to achieve approval for an International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) bailout to prevent another economic crisis in Pakistan.

However, this move has sparked dismay and frustration among citizens in major cities who were hoping for relief but are now facing increased financial burdens.

Shaista, a resident of Karachi, said, “We’re taxed on even the smallest items like matchsticks, and the government relies heavily on our taxes. Despite paying taxes, we feel powerless and are sacrificing our livelihoods.”

The budget sets a challenging tax revenue target of 13 trillion rupees (USD 47 billion) for the fiscal year starting July 1, representing a nearly 40 per cent increase.

This includes a 48 per cent rise in direct taxes and a 35 percent hike in indirect taxes. Non-tax revenue, such as petroleum levies, is expected to surge by 64 per cent.

“It’s hard to call this a ‘people-friendly’ budget when salaried individuals like us are burdened with taxes. We were already paying numerous taxes. How will the poor and salaried survive? Electricity bills, gas bills, and various other direct and indirect taxes have been imposed on us repeatedly. We’re already struggling, and these additional taxes are pushing people to extreme measures,” Farooq, another Karachi resident, said.

Despite these measures, there are concerns about the government’s ability to implement reforms, especially amidst coalition politics and mounting public opposition to inflationary measures.

Moreover, the Pakistan People’s Party, an ally of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government, has expressed dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the budget.

Sharif’s administration also faces challenges from the continued popularity of jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan, whose party lawmakers protested vigorously during the budget presentation. (ANI)

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