Afghanistan visit to prove milestone for ties, peace: PM


Says those criticising ‘revolutionary tax reforms’ should reveal their own details

Our Correspondent


Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday said his recent visit to Afghanistan would prove to be a milestone for the bilateral ties and regional peace as it had helped overcome the trust deficit to a great extent.
“The discussion was held in a cordial atmosphere and we hope that this visit will prove to be a milestone for Pak-Afghan relations and peace in the region,” he said talking to media-persons here after inaugurating Khuzdar-Shahdadkot road and launching work on Kharan-Yakmach road.
He said now the leadership from both the sides would have to prove their sincerity for the prosperity of the region as well as the people with their actions.
He said during his meetings with the Afghan leadership including President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan chief Gulbadin Hekmatyar and others, it was agreed that there could be no military solution to the Afghan issue.
He said it was also agreed that peace and stability in Afghanistan was essential for Pakistan and the people of Afghanistan for what both the countries should jointly work.
He said the Afghan stakeholders must find out a solution to the issue by joining heads and Pakistan would extend its support to restore peace in the country.
He said it had also been decided to continue working on connectivity projects like roads, rail and power transmission, besides discussing water issues. Work on the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Pipeline) project was already underway, he added.
The prime minister said both the sides had agreed to jointly work on the projects for the prosperity of people in the region and to help Central Asian states use the Gwadar Port while passing through Afghanistan. Addressing a public gathering after inaugurating Khuzdar-Shahdadkot road and launching work on Kharan-Yakmach road Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the recently announced ‘revolutionary tax reforms’ would bring in record resources to the national economy and lead the country to self-dependence and those, criticizing the initiative, should first make public their last year’s tax details.
The prime minister said the tax reforms would make the people join course of national development by paying taxes and proving their patriotism.
He was accompanied by federal ministers Lt. General (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch, Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, Hafiz Abdul Karim and Chairman National Highway Authority who also briefed the prime minister on importance and scope of the projects.
“There is no room for criticism on it… I question them as what they are criticizing for – over reduction of tax rates?” he asked the opponents.
The prime minister who earlier unveiled the plaques of two mega projects worth Rs 25 billion along with Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and the federal ministers, said the critics would meet their political fate if they tell the masses that they were opposing the initiative of reducing tax rates and making people prove their patriotism by supporting the government in running the state affairs.
He said previous governments always increased tax rates but it was the PML-N government that reduced these by more than the half. It has been experimented worldwide that people do not pay 36 percent taxes and when resourceful people evade taxes, the poor have to bear the brunt in the form of indirect taxation on daily use commodities.
He said the tax reforms were meant to shift burden of indirect taxes from the poor to those who were not paying taxes despite earning millions.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the democracy would flourish and country would progress if the people elect a sincere leadership in next July election.
He said the PML-N government executed record development works across the country and questioned as why the previous political and dictator’s governments failed to carry out development projects despite having same resources.
He said currently around 1500-kilometer long roads were being constructed in Balochistan besides thousands kilometers long others which had been completed.
He said both Khuzdar-Shahdadkot and Kaharan-Yakmach road projects would cost Rs 25 billion and facilitate the people travelling from Iran, thus increasing the economic activity.
Khuzdar-Shahdadkot road provides link between Balochistan and Sindh, passing through Wango hills. The cargo transport moving from Gwadar to Sindh would be able to use this road that would be completed at cost of around Rs 15 billion.
The 200-kilometer Kaharan-Yakmach section connects three important districts of Chaghi, Washuk and Kharan. This is the closest link with Iranian border via N-25 and the project would reduce the distance by 250 kilometers.
The project would accelerate the economic activity in the mineral-rich districts as it would ease the transportation of the minerals from Chaghi to Karachi, particularly from Reko Diq. After its completion, the highway could be used by 3,000 vehicles daily with a set speed of 90 kilometers per hour.
He said the minerals of the resource-rich Balochistan would not benefit the locals if they were not explored. The exploration required peace, infrastructure and public share, he added.
He said Balochistan would become the richest province of the country but it required a government duly representing the public.
The prime minister said consequent to political unity and bravery shown by the security forces, peace had been restored from Karachi to Peshawar and Quetta to Lahore and people were leading peaceful life.
The prime minister agreed to the demand of Chief Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch for construction of Nok Kundi-Mashkehl and Kharan-Basima roads on priority. He said as committed by former
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, LPG-air mix plants were being established in every district of the province.
He also announced an additional Rs 300 million for a solarization project besides committing the construction of a stadium and launch of BISP and health card schemes in the area aftercompletion of poverty survey.
He told the gathering that in July election, they would have to chose either the politics of truth and service or that of falsity and abuses.
Referring to the Senate election, the prime minister said a party leader had alleged another party leader of buying his 14 Senators but they were found to be supporting each other in the election of Senate chairman.
He hoped that as the politics of negativity had failed to attract public applause, the PML-N would obtain even more seats than the past in next general election.
“People of Kharan are forced to pay on behalf of those who don’t pay taxes,” the premier said. “If an individual is earning in lakhs or more, and don’t pay tax, the burden of it falls on the poor,” he explained.

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