ISLAMABAD: At least six parliamentarians including a minister, four senators and one member of National Assembly have been found defaulters of property tax in an investigation carried out by Daily Times. Parliamentarians who are avoiding property tax are State Minister for Capital Administration and Development Division (CA&DD) Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, MNA Ibadullah Khan and Senator Nuzhat Sadiq of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Senator Haji Saifullah Khan and Senator Islamuddin Shaikh of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). An independent senator, Sajjad Hussain Turi, is also named in the list of tax defaulters. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) charges property tax from those individuals who own residential and commercial properties in the sectoral area of the capital city. Documents available with Daily Times show that the aforementioned lawmakers are holding properties worth millions in various sectors of the capital city but are not paying property tax outstanding against the same properties. The CDA is controlled by the Ministry of CADD but it is quite unfortunate that the minister responsible for collecting tax is himself a tax defaulter for last many years. An amount of Rs 114,544 and Rs136,932 is pending against Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry on account of his two shops number 191-A, 192-A in fruit and vegetable market of I-11/4. Senator Haji Saifullah Khan Bangash is property tax defaulter for last five years and an amount of Rs 396,241 is outstanding against his house in sector F-8/1. Senator Sajjad Hussain Turi has failed to pay Rs 11,288 as property tax against his house in sector G-11. An amount of Rs 33,595 is pending against Senator Islamuddin Shaikh, Rs 191,711 are pending on the name of MNA Ibad Ullah against a property in Sector G-10/4 and Rs 1,313 are pending against Senator Nuzhat Sadiq for his property in G-9 Markaz. Although, an amount of Rs 57,178 remained pending against MNA Aftab Khan Sherpao against a house in E-7; Rs 46,801 against MNA Iftikhar Uddin against a house in F-10/4 and Rs 38,018 against MNA Asad Umer against his apartment at Silvar Oaks in Sector F-10 for over a year, they cleared the outstanding dues along with surcharge amount in October 2017. At present the property tax recovery ratio in Islamabad is not much satisfactory. According to the Revenue Directorate of CDA, the annual property tax collection of residential properties is around 80 percent while it is around 40 percent in case of commercial properties. According to Article 63 (O) of the constitution of Pakistan and Section 12 of the Representation of Peoples Act, a person shell be ‘disqualified’ from being elected as member of the parliament if he has defaulted in payment of government dues such as property taxes for over six months at the time of filing of his nomination papers. When contacted, former secretary of Election Commission of Pakistan Kanwar Dilshad while referring to the abovementioned clauses of law said, “The payment of taxes is an obligation and the parliamentarians who are at default in the payment of taxes may be barred from contesting next general elections if they do not deposit their outstanding dues immediately.” When contacted, Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry said that the property in question was inherited and his siblings were supposed to look after the same. However, while accepting his negligence, he assured Daily Times to submit the dues. Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, Senator Sajjad Turi, Senator Haji Saifullah Bangash, Senator Islamudin Shaikh and MNA Ibadullah were also tried to contact for their responses. Senator Sajjad Turi said that he missed the voucher of property tax so that’s why he could not submit it. A son of Senator Haji Saifullah Bangash responded on behalf of his father and claimed that he had already paid the tax, but could not provide any receipt of payment even on demand. Rest of the parliamentarians did not respond. Published in Daily Times, December 26th 2017.