Pak FO officers threaten to go on strike over tax on foreign allowance

Islamabad [Pakistan], July 31 (ANI): Officers of the Foreign Office (FO) threatened to go on strike over the imposition of income tax on their foreign allowance.

They warned of a pen-down strike against the imposition of income tax on foreign allowance to the officers posted in Pakistan’s missions abroad, as well as the denial of executive allowance to the officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reported Business Recorder.

According to media reports, it noted that the Ministry of Finance has attributed the imposition to a demand by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs further asked that has IMF ever demanded such taxation even from countries with greater economic difficulties than those of Pakistan.

They said that if this taxation were so important for IMF, why was it not discussed thoroughly with them and instead quietly slipped in on June 29th?They also questioned why did Ministry of Finance and Federal Board of Revenue not consult this Ministry and other concerned departments before putting the measure in place?, reported Business Recorder.

“The above aspects and some reported assertions of the Ministry of Finance have exacerbated the anxiety of over personnel. There is also a widely shared worry that the Ministry of Finance is using dilatory tactics due to which the Foreign Office has suffered on many occasions in the past,” the MOFA’s letter further pointed out.

Meanwhile, Special Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Raza Bashir Tarar, who is also chair of the Ad-hoc Committee of the Foreign Service of Pakistan Officers Association (FSPOA), conveyed to the Finance Ministry that the unprecedented, unwarranted, and unfair imposition of income tax on foreign allowance (and possible perquisites) on officers and staff members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as, other ministries/ agencies posted in Pakistan’s missions abroad has “shaken the morale of the personnel to its core.”Tarar further wrote that while the matter is being discussed with the Ministry of Finance and the Federal Board of Revenue, the FSP officers are worried that technically the tax has become collectable from July 1st, 2022, reported Business Recorder.

Accordingly, it added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs personnel are expecting the Ministry to insist that the matter be resolved at the earliest.

“They are also wondering what MOFA intends to do if its efforts do not succeed…For their part, our personnel see it as a redline and there are growing voices calling for a pen-down strike and even litigation,” it warned, adding that there is a demand among officers for an organised protest like a pen-down strike. (ANI)

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