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federal budget tough to inhale While those averse to cigarette smoke were pleased with the increased taxes on tobacco products for the annual Budget 2013-14, those hoping to get married were less enthusiastic over the new levies on wedding ceremonies. Mohsin Ahmed, a university student was delighted over the increased taxes on cigarettes, Paan and Chalia. He believed that this step could see the youth kicking the terrible habit of smoking. "The tax and duty on tobacco by-products should be further increased to discourage usage," said Maha Akhtar, who despises the fact that her husband-to-be is a smoker. On the other hand, the decision to impose further taxes on wedding ceremonies was met with less eagerness. Many families rejected the move, while noting that marriage was an expensive prospect in any case and the last thing needed was more taxes. "This new tax will directly burden the pockets of the working class," observed a lady named Mrs Razi. This was not the only levy that could take its toll on the common man. Suleman Shah, a small-scale businessman was opposed to the increased tax on withdrawing cash from banks. He believed it was a bad idea as it would encourage other illegal activities such as Hawala and Hundi. "Being a businessman, I always make my transactions through the bank to keep the records clean, but the increased tax is discouraging," he said. At the same time, Mrs Imtiaz Ahmed was disappointed to hear of more taxes on Hajj operations. She had been hoping to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina over the coming years. "Hajj is already so expensive and now the government has decided to impose further taxes," she said. Mrs Ahmed hoped that the administration would decrease the tax rate so that the pilgrimage could become more affordable. Some civil servants were also unhappy with certain budget announcements. An employee of the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research was saddened to learn that there was no increase in the salaries of government employees. "I realise that the government is facing financial constraints, but they need to take inflation into account. We have to pay utility bills, school and doctors' fees and in live on rent. How can we afford all this in such a meager salary?" he asked. He believed that if the government announced an increase in its salaries, then the private sector would follow suit. "More money always bring a smile to the face." Meanwhile, many in the city spoke on broader issues and gave their views on the budgetary allocations given to defence, education and health. "Pakistan has not seen progress in the health and education sectors for the last many years. These sectors, which build a nation, are ignored," said a teacher at the University of Karachi, while choosing to remain anonymous. Majid Ali, a private tutor, said that the government's prime responsibility was to provide better health and education facilities to the people. However, he added that due to the ignorance of the administration, private organisatons are minting money from these sectors. Many also hoped that the government would pay more attention to transport. "Our families used to travel upcountry by trains, but now we have to pay handsome amounts to travel by bus as the railway system is in shambles," said Adeel Lala. Like Lala, Naveed Gujjar also stressed on the improvement of the railways and the expansion of highways. The decision to impose a ban on new vehicles for the prime minister's office was also welcomed by many. A number of people urged the other ministries to follow along the same tracks. The Karachiites demanded that the government rely more on the national resources available in the country rather than import failed initiatives like the rental power projects. The overall view of people in the metropolis was that while this budget may not bring about miracles, there were some aspects that could bear fruitful results.