Pakistan economist urges resumption of trade with India

Islamabad, Feb 16 (IANS) Pakistan political economist Pervez Tahir has called for revival of trade with India to decrease people’s woes, local media reported.
He said the federal cabinet’s size should be cut down in conformity with the requirement of the 18th Amendment. Since the federal development spending is financed by borrowing, it ought to be reduced to zero until the budget is balanced, he said, adding that defence expenditure “has a tail longer than… necessary”.
Dr Tahir was addressing the participants of the Third Asma Jahangir Memorial Lecture organised by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Former PPP senator Farhatullah Babar also spoke at the event, which was moderated by rights activist Nasreen Azhar, Dawn reported.
Dr Tahir suggested that income of big landholders must be subjected to normal income taxation. Wealth tax, inheritance tax and estate duties need to be re-imposed, he said, adding that there should be no increase in indirect taxes, Dawn reported.
Provinces should devote 50 per cent of their income to development budget and provide the corresponding current budget to fully comply with Article 25-A within two years, he said.
“Property tax should be fully devolved to local governments for effective public service delivery and trade should be opened in the region to deal with the current account deficit,” he suggested, Dawn reported.
Addressing the event, Babar said: “Everyone says that perks and privileges of parliamentarians should be reduced but even we cannot ask that how and why 90 acers of land worth Rs 5 billion was given to a general in Lahore at the time of his retirement.”

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