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Pakistan Today

Published Date: May 28, 2013

Experts demand tax break for divorced, disabled women

Underlining
the need for economic empowerment of marginalized women in upcoming budget,
experts at a SDPI seminar have demanded tax breaks for divorced, disabled and
unmarried women in Pakistan. The speakers were of the view that such tax
incentives can reduce financial burden from excluded group of women and they
can have a better way of life with more freedom and where they can positively
play their role in a more productive way in the society.
The experts were speaking at a seminar on “Tax Break for Economic Freedom: The
Case of Divorced Mothers, Divorced Disabled and Never Married Women in
Pakistan” organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on
Monday.

In
her remarks, Dr Rakhshinda Perveen, Executive Director, Sachet highlighted the
plight of divorced, disabled and unmarried women particularly over the age of
40, which she said are extremely neglected segment of the society. Advocating
for their economic empowerment she expressed that these women have lesser
options for a socially respectable life, obtaining their rights within
household or getting married and settling peacefully

She
expressed that this group is in dire need of policy intervention and government
must revisit the taxation with focus on providing relief to this excluded group
of women keeping in mind the stigma, discrimination and social poverty these
women have to face in the society. She said that proposed tax break would not
only serve as one of the means of freedom from stigma and servitude by
restoring and enhancing their self-esteem but also dilute different layers of
discrimination in a patriarchal society and culture.

Speaking
on the occasion, Professor Dr Huma Ibrahim, Deputy Vice President, African
Literature Association, USA endorsed the idea of tax break which she said was
very much practical and a step in right direction.

Dr
Usman Mustafa, Senior Economist at Pakistan Institute of Development Economics
(PIDE) said that such tax breaks would cost very little cutback in overall tax
collection but can substantially benefit the excluded women group. He said that
no charity, zakat or donation can substitute the respectable, dignified, and
honorable way of support from government particularly in the form of tax
rationalization or reforms.