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Stepping back over fear of traders’ strikes would be traitorous to Pakistan: PM Imran

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said Wednesday he considered stepping back over the fear of strikes by Pakistan’s traders and the business community to be traitorous to the country.

If anyone believed that he would backstep consequent to the countrywide strikes by Pakistan’s business and trading fraternity, Khan said, they should that he would do no such thing.

Addressing an event organised by the Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce & Industry (GCCI), he said he did not campaign about the religion to win over the people’s votes but that he had talked more about the state of Madina after winning the election and assuming office.

The premier said the important rules of the state of Madina included mercy, fairness and justice, and delivering the weak from oppression but that, at present, those who stole billions were getting airconditioned rooms in the jails. Everyone knew how those involved in small crimes were treated in jails, he added.

On the other hand, Khan said he did not have any property or business abroad, his life was devoted to Pakistan, and that he was not like others who took billions of rupees abroad.

They had other interests, he stressed referring to some of the Opposition politicians, adding that their wealth grew when rupee experienced devaluation. All of their relatives who face cases in Pakistan were abroad, he added.

The PM said the country would be unable to progress into the future if it remained in the same conditions as it was today.

“Some 300 companies pay 70 percent of the total tax while the service sector pays one percent only,” he said, adding that people assumed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) was an institution where people’s money was stolen and, therefore, people did not trust it.

“We are going to bring reforms in the FBR,” Khan added.

The premier said those who believed that he would backstep consequent to the shutter-down strikes by Pakistan’s business and trading fraternity should kindly understand that they would not force him to take such a step because that would be akin to being traitorous to the country.

The country could not go on without taxes, he warned, and things could not be how they were in the past.

“We have to bring everyone into the tax net because only 1.5 million of the 220 million people pay taxes,” Khan said. “If we all pay taxes little by little, we will have enough money to pull the country out of the quicksand of loans.”

The premier said his government was creating convenience for the traders and industrialists.

“We are in talks to stop smuggling from Afghanistan,” he noted, adding that the country’s industry could not progress without putting a stop to smuggling and “if the industry was unable to operate [smoothly], how will we pay off the debts” the country is mired in?

Khan reiterated that for next year, his government had to collect Rs5.5 trillion. “We will resolve all of the industrialists’ problems.

“The country became prominent in the region when the government in the 1960s helped the industrialists,” he underscored.

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