Pakistan has consistently been at bottom of list of countries viz-a-viz public welfare and human resource index. A state cannot exist and function nor possess fiscal capacity to fulfill its constitutional obligations of providing education, health, justice, equal opportunities, security of life and private property etc to citizens if it fails to collect taxes. 

This failure assumes severity of a cancer when media reports and available data reveal that federal secretaries heading Economic Affairs, Petroleum, Power, Planning Commission etc have not filed their tax returns for 2017, inspite of orders by PM. This will give you a sense of culture of tax evasion that afflicts paid bureaucracy. It seems as if “state exists within state” and sick mindset which prevails considering themselves above law. An FBR exists to collect direct taxes but in reality the documented economy is merely a fraction of black economy. 

Countries in developing world appoint specialists with administrative skills to head various departments. Nowhere in developing world would you witness a bureaucrat serving as Secretary Environment and after two years the same individual given assignment of Secretary Finance, Chairman CDA or Chairman FBR, or Secretary Health or Secretary Law etc. 

The civil bureaucracy is trained for administrative jobs to ensure rules of business already laid down are strictly followed in accordance with statues and laws in existence. They are neither qualified, nor trained to serve as economists, town planners, architects, specialists in various fields of engineering or health services, nor management of commercial organizations, neither as head of regulatory agencies. 

Just to highlight extent of damage inflicted just review courageous decision by CM Punjab almost three decades back to demolish several petrol pumps located on Jail Road Lahore to facilitate public. Even an illegal section of a mosque was demolished. Within years the bureaucrats appointed as DG LDA gave permission to build numerous private hospitals on Jail Road where three major women colleges existed for decades alongwith Punjab Cardiology Hospital, a Mental Hospital and a public park, where once existed Lahore Race Club. Similar is situation when you exit Walton Road to enter DHA Lahore. Islamabad Master Plan has been wrecked. Karachi has been reduced to garbage dump. Merely building signal free roads with underpasses and overhead bridges will not serve the purpose. 

ALI MALIK TARIQ,  

Lahore, March 19.