Our economic ills

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Pakistan’s acute economic ills and policies cannot be remedied unless those within the policy making corridors are competent qualified men of integrity, who have stakes in this country with no split loyalties. Those who by choice have sought foreign nationalities cannot be expected to deliver solutions to boost our economy, and rescue it from acute financial and security crisis that it today faces. When the system allows sons of former corrupt bureaucrats and khakis to retain their ill-gotten wealth and assets, they will surely acquire political power courtesy their newly acquired wealth.

Policies made by such men, in spite of their rhetoric, will continue to make it an ideal country for those who want to make tax-free quick buck and then transfer all of them abroad through loopholes created in the system by design. We need to analyse why such daylight plunder is not occurring at this scale just across the border, in a country whose citizens shared common cultural heritage with us before 1947.

No country in the world can survive if there are such extensive leakages in revenue and tax collection, as they have existed in Pakistan for past few decades. Every year the situation is becoming graver. Unchecked flight of capital has become sole privilege of political, khaki and bureaucratic elite. The FBR dominated by men with a history of financial indiscipline cannot be expected to meet targets. As long as tax evasion is not considered a conspiracy against the state and the guilty given severe exemplary punishments along with seizure of their assets, this crime against the state will continue unhindered and so will target killings and kidnapping for ransom.

The panacea to all our problems is rule of law where every citizen pays taxes for any income earned, with no exceptions or self-created immunities.

TARIQ ALI MALIK

Lahore