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PM Gilani fails to woo Altaf, Asfandyar on RGST

Thursday, November 25, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday telephoned the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain and the Awami National Party (ANP) president Asfandyar Wali Khan, asking them to extend support to the Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) Bill.

Altaf Hussain told Prime Minister Gilani that the MQM had some reservations on the RGST Bill and until they were removed, he would not support it. He said the suggestions given by the MQM must also be considered by the government.

The prime minister assured the MQM chief that the economic team of the government would give a detailed and a methodical briefing to the MQM lawmakers to remove their reservations in this regard.

Sources said that Altaf Hussain had a clear-cut stance that the government, instead of tabling the RGST Bill, must impose agriculture tax. In this regard, the MQM private member bill must be supported by the government.

It merits mentioning here that the MQM also tabled its dissension note on opposition to this bill, which stated that the government, instead of introducing the RGST, could earn billions of rupees by imposing tax on the agriculture sector.

The sources further said that Prime Minister Gilani also telephoned Asfandyar Wali Khan and also asked him to support the bill. However, the prime minister failed to get the support of the ANP.

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