MQM walks out of SA over one-time flood tax

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmakers walked out of the Sindh Assembly (SA) on Thursday over flood tax.MQM parliamentary leader Sardar Ahmed said his party would not accept any new financial attack on Sindh’s underprivileged people, adding that the MQM would oppose the one-time flood tax on every platform.He announced the walkout after Pakistan People’s Party’s members said the Flood Tax Bill would soon be tabled in the SA.SA members debated on Heer Ismail Soho’s adjournment motion on price-hike of petroleum products, electricity, and food items like sugar, milk and vegetables.Ahmed expressed his disappointment on sugar being sold at Rs 125 per kilogramme and milk at Rs 60 per litre, and buying vegetables was beyond the reach of people with low incomes.

Sindh Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah said the Sindh government was trying to tackle price-hike, adding that Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah had ordered district coordination officers to control essential food items’ prices.He said price-hike was the result of the recent floods that have destroyed Sindh’s economy, adding that the Sindh government had decided to impose a one-time flood tax to meet the economic challenges.Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro said flood tax was a good decision and a bill in this regard would soon be presented in the SA.Soho said prices of daily-use items had increased by 150 percent in the last two years due to negligence of the current government, adding that despite 78 functioning sugar mills, the country was facing a sugar crisis.She said there was no law for those increasing prices without the government’s permission, adding that magisterial powers should be given to deputy district officers and mukhtiarkars to control prices.

Marvi Rashdi said underprivileged parents were putting their children up for sale due to price-hike and unemployment, adding that some mafias had hijacked the government and were periodically creating different crises.Aisha Khoso opposed the motion and said the MQM talks about the underprivileged, but its frequent strike calls were depriving millions of daily wagers.Arif Mustafa Jatoi said when he was the food minister in the previous government, the price of wheat flour was Rs 10 per kg, but it is now being sold at Rs 40 per kg, adding that the sugar rate was Rs 25 per kg as opposed to Rs 125 per kg now.Housing Minister Agha Taimoor Khan demanded restoration of the old commissionerate system to control price-hike – Dailytimes