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Pakistan must bring rich into tax net

CLINTONBRUSSELS: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday said Pakistan’s wealthy needed to follow in the footsteps of the international community in helping the ravaged nation’s long-term recovery.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable for those with means in Pakistan not to be doing their fair share to help their own people while taxpayers in Europe, the United States and other contributing countries are all chipping in,” Clinton said.

“The most important step Pakistan can take is to pass meaningful reforms to expand its tax base,” Clinton said in a public statement as she joined the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in pledging continued assistance.

“The government must require that the economically affluent and elite support the government and people of Pakistan,” she added.

The call came on the eve of a key meeting in Brussels on Friday co-hosted by Ashton and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

The ministerial session of the “Friends of Democratic Pakistan” — grouping 26 nations and international bodies — will be looking at the impact of this summer’s floods on Pakistan’s long-term recovery efforts.

Efforts towards “a safe, secure and prosperous Pakistan” aim to help the country battle extremism, both Clinton and Ashton said.

Clinton, in Brussels to attend a one-day Nato summit, said that as Pakistan shifted from relief to recovery from the floods that hit 20 million people, more help would be needed from the international community.

To date the US and the EU have provided around 450 million dollars each in aid.

Europe for its part this month offered a major trade boost, proposing to lift duties on 75 of its imports as part of an aid-linked package designed to help recovery from the catastrophe.

The unilateral suspension of duties, available for the next three years, concerns goods accounting for 27 per cent of Pakistan’s current imports to the EU

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