At the time when educating children in Pakistan is a herculean task due to rampant poverty and unbridled inflation, the government taxed the education by imposing a tax on fee at the rate of 5 per cent wherever the annual fee exceeds Rs 200,000.
Makhdoom Shahab-Uddin along with a group of students from Islamabad have come together to raise their voices against this policy and launched a campaign called ‘TaxFreeEducation’ all over Pakistan to force the government to change the policy.
Makhdoom said that the tax makes life difficult for those students supporting their own education and the move would further add to their miseries.
He said that the tax amount can be returned to the families that paid it; however, there is hardly any awareness on this matter.
The government, instead of taking steps to improve the literacy rate in the country by making education cheap, have imposed an additional 5pc fee to further burden the poverty-stricken masses, making educating children harder for many families.
Education as a basic right being citizens of Pakistan is not something to be used for generating revenue in the name of ‘Advance Income Tax’.
The activists are using social media to spread their message to force the government to take back the anti-education move.
Despite the government’s claims to have invested billions in the country’s education system, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a British ranking agency, rated Pakistan the lowest ranking country among fifty countries included in the list.
Pakistan’s literacy rate has sustained at 58pc over the past two years and the country looks set to miss the millennium development goal (MDG) for education. The Pakistan Economic Survey 2014-15, unveiled that the literacy rate has gone down by 2pc in 2013-14 as compared to the previous year when it was 60pc.
Makhdoom said that the paperwork required for this makes it impossible for rural families to ever get repaid.
He said that students have always been neglected by the political parties but we want to change the way things are and want the voice of students to be heard by the government.
This applies to all university, college and school students of Pakistan not only NUST; students across the country should take a stand to block this move.
Makhdoom expressed optimism that the government will be forced to listen to their demands and this could, maybe, result in the change we all want to happen.
They were of the view that it is time to take a stand for TAXFREEEDUCATION, or God knows what else is going to be next in line for tax imposition.
They said that although this tax is adjustable and is an ‘Advance Income Tax’, but still there are a lot of students who are from backwards areas and also those who are supporting their own education by doing part-time jobs or working online.
With an illiteracy rate of 58pc, one would think the government would be clamouring to get to the core of the issue, but really, who are we kidding.
They said that education should not be such a huge burden on anyone; however, here we have this tax that immediately stacks the odds against most of the people in this country.
Economically speaking, most Pakistani families are suffering under the burden of paying their children’s tuition.
Talking to the Pakistan Today, Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Asad termed the imposition of tax as unjust and said that PTI had already tabled a resolution in the National Assembly against the move.
During his last year budget speech, he said it was recommended to remove the unjust tax, adding that it is quite surprising that the government, on one hand, did not spend on education, while on the other, it is taxing the poor parents who are paying from their own pockets to educate their children.
Despite repeated attempts and text messages, Muhammad Baligh ur Rehman, minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training could not be reached for his comments on the issue.
جس ملک کے حکمران تعلیم کے خلاف ھوں ۔انھیں تعلیم یافتہ عوام نہیں صرف کلرک احمق اور پڑھے لکھے جاھل چاھئے ھوں وھاں ایسی تحریک چلانے کا کام بہت مشکل ھے اگر آپ سمجھتے ھیں یہ ٹیکس ختم ھو جائے گا تو مشکل ھے۔ھاں یہ 5 سے کم ھو کر 2/3 پرسنٹ ھوسکتا ھے۔وہ بھی اتنی مشکل سے کے آپ خوش ھو کر شکر ادا کریں کہ کم تو کرا کیونکہ کہ ھمارے کوئی بھی حکمران اور اعلی افسران اس ملک اور قوم سے مخلص نھیں۔ اللہّ ٰ اس ملک کی حفاظت کرے اور مخلص افراد کو اس قوم کا راہنما بنائے
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