The FBR should avoid delaying tactics: PANAH

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Islamabad,  (Parliament Times) : Panah Legal Team clarified that health is a fundamental right of the people, the provision of which is the first responsibility of the government, The application of tobacco practice is not a matter of provinces but of the federation. The Federal Board of Revenue should refrain from confusing the issue, Even before the delay tactics, the non-implementation of tobacco and sugary drinks practices has cost the government billions of rupees in terms of revenue. The application of tax should be ensured so that the people can get rid of diseases and the government can collect billions of rupees in revenue.

Mohammad Akhlaq Awan, Advocate, Supreme Court of Pakistan, in-charge of the legal team of Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH), told reporters at a joint press conference with PANAH General Secretary Sanaullah Ghumman and others. As a result of the joint efforts of Panah and Tobacco Activist, a bill was passed by the government proposing a health levy on sugary drinks and tobacco, the implementation of which would not only help keep people away from harmful health factors, but also increase government revenue, But the FBR is using delaying tactics to justify the implementation of the 18th Amendment. They say that according to the 18th Amendment, the health levy is not a federal issue, it is a matter for the provinces, but we are talking about imposing a tax on tobacco, not health. The provinces are not connected to the federal Government. (According to Articles 73 and 77 of the Constitution)

Assuming that the matter is under the 18th Amendment, the provinces should have the right to object, not the FBR, we are talking about imposing a tobacco practice which is under the jurisdiction of the federation. The Federal Ministry of Health is the controlling authority. If it is a matter of the provinces, then the provinces should formulate a strategy on this serious issue in collaboration with the federation, just as the education syllabuses were consulted with each other. There is FBR have no legal or constitutional justification for it

In response to a letter from the FBR to the Law Ministry, Akhlaq Awan Advocate said that the Ministry of Law has already given its verdict in this matter and there is no reason to ask the Law Ministry again.

Malik Imran, Country Head, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, said that the FBR has already been pressing for the imposition of cigarettes and sugary drinks for two years. As a result of the delay, the country has already lost Rs. 70 billion in revenue. The health of our young generation and young children is at stake.

Sanaullah Ghumman, General Secretary, Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH), said that smoking and sugary drinks are a major cause of various diseases besides heart disease, and there is an urgent need to prevent factors that could harm human health, according to WHO and other investigations said that tax was the best weapon to reduce the consumption of anything, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan should take steps to protect the people from diseases and take note of the FBR’s delaying tactics.