Pakistan seems to be a victim of a chronic ailment called IMF Bailout Syndrome. Our economic planners and ruling elite for over 60 years have reduced this country to the status of a patient suffering from depression who goes to a doctor for treatment. Instead of seeking remedial treatment to rid the cause of depression, the patient gets addicted to drugs.

This is exactly what Pakistani state has been doing after seeking almost twenty such IMF Bailout Packages. Instead of taking measures to raise revenues through direct taxation and making use of the latest technology which has established over 3.5 Million tax evaders, owning assets beyond declared sources of income, the ruling elite prefers to seek more debts to plug ever increasing deficit. Everybody in this country is aware of the harassment the former NADRA head faced for identifying over 3.5 Million individuals, which included many within holy cows and members of the political elite and paid bureaucracy. Things have deteriorated to such an extent that this plunder has been legalised or regularised. Foundations which were created for purely legitimate welfare of employees were given tax reliefs and exemptions. Now they are involved in multiple profitable ventures owning fertilizer plants, banking, cereal, launching housing and commercial plazas for sale to the general public. Some of them are in nexus with the big Land Mafia Dons who illegally grab forest land and amenity plots, but never get caught.

As long as revenues are not generated through direct taxation and investment in manufacturing industry boosted, Pakistan can never come out of debt crisis. It was during the Musharraf tenure that Bata and Service Shoes which employed thousands in manufacturing units are now just importing them. Exports will only rise when the manufacturing industry survives.

MALIK TARIQ,

Lahore, May 18.