In a democracy public office holders like PM, members of parliaments, ministers etc derive constitutional powers from Constitution and can enjoy these privileges and powers as long as they strictly adhere to laws and serve as role models. Unfortunately the role model for our elected constitutional public office holders seems to be monarchies and rulers of states located in the Gulf instead of democracies in developed world or moral ethical governance standards adopted by Prophet’s(PBUH) companions, who ruled after his death. Why should it be fate of Pakistan that majority of its PMs, paid civil and khaki elite etc should have their assets and families located abroad?

The basic infrastructure vital to run a model state can only be sustained by tax collection, failing which system is likely to collapse because of widening Tax to GDP Ratio. Given our shameful statistics that not a single individual accused of not paying crores or billions in taxes has ever been punished, it seems tax evasion is not a crime. Tax evasion and money laundering are linked with criminal black economy, each aiding the other, benefitting individuals, harming both national economy and state security interests. It is considered a serious crime against state in countries where writ of law prevails.

Off-Shore companies offer their clients secrecy, facilitate tax evasion, or hide black money earned from illegitimate sources. If ruling elite and members of their immediate families are involved in tax evasion, than national debt will keep on rising and finally we as a nation will default with drastic consequences for country. Even Pakistan’s nuclear assets will be in danger. If Pakistan has to survive as a sovereign independent state, it has to treat tax evasion as serious crime against state, with punishments so severe that it would serve as deterrence for others.

MALIK TARIQ,

Lahore, April 10.