ISLAMABAD: The federal government of Pakistan is mulling over a proposal to impose tax on some 1.6 million registered Afghan refugees whose registration has recently been extended until December 31, 2015, reliable sources said here yesterday.
The official sources said tax could only be imposed on the registered Afghan refugees while the non-registered 1.2 Afghan refugees cannot be brought under the tax bracket, as their data is not available with any government department.
According to a survey conducted by Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) more than 70,000 Afghan refugees that possess the assets varying from one million rupees to one hundred million rupees, whereas some 40,000 Afghan nationals living in Pakistan have property worth Rs0.5m to Rs50m.
Similarly, some 250,000 Afghan refugees have moveable and immoveable property in their name that costs between Rs50,000 and Rs2m.
A senior official confided to this correspondent that any such policy would need consent of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Afghan government because it might invite criticism at the international level.
“Technically speaking, the federal government can impose tax on the Afghan refugees who have been living in Pakistan for the last three decades and are doing businesses in the open market instead of living in the refugee camps,” he said.
The sources said it is yet to decided whether the item regarding imposition of tax on Afghan refugees should be included in the proposed National Policy on Management and Repatriation of Afghan Refugees that has been finalised in coordination with the Afghan government.