Haji Mubeen Yousaf, President All Pakistan Cigarettes and Cold Drinks Retailers Association said here in a statement that the announcement by the Minister of Health to introduce Sin Tax is shameful and derogatory towards all the people involved in the supply chain of the cold drinks and cigarette business.
He also endorsed the statement of the Chairman Sarhad Chamber of Agriculture Fazli Ilahi Khan who lambasted the Sin Tax announcement by the Health Minister.
Yousuf said such a derogatory term is a slap on the face of hundreds of thousands of retailers who earn their livelihood by retailing cold drinks and tobacco products. “I fail to understand how someone can be so insensitive towards his own people and blatantly disregard sentiments of the poor people of Pakistan,” he said.
He asked that who gave the right to the Health Minister to issue a Fatwa and call cigarettes and cold drinks a sin. “Is he suggesting it to be as bad as adultery or alcohol? Since when has the Health Minister become the Finance Minister,” he asked adding that Health Minister seems to be shifting from his role and becoming a Mufti as well.
He further said that everyone should go and hear the speech of the Prime Minister on his 100 days progress where he mentioned that there exists 40% illegal trade with cigarettes selling at Rs 25 a pack. “This is what you should be controlling instead of proposing taxes and measures which will further increase the illegal cigarettes from 40 to 60% or even more,” he said.
“Such shameless and irresponsible statements aimed at insulting and depriving poor farmers and retailers of their legitimate right to business are unacceptable. I demand an apology from the Health Minister and seek intervention of the honourable Prime Minister to put an end to such irresponsible proposal from his cabinet member,” he added.