According to transcript of State Department on special briefing on Secretary of State Kerry’s two day visit to Pakistan, among other things related to Strategic Dialogue, a question was asked, “You guys have for about 10 years now not collecting any tax money from the rich.” This 10 year period spans Musharraf, Shaukat Aziz tenure, Asif Zardari government and now PML-N government headed by Nawaz Sharif. For any leadership with an iota of dignity, self respect or even shame, such lecturing by foreign leaders and journalists of donor countries should have yielded desired results, but alas love for personal wealth outweighs dignity.

It is deterrence for violation of laws and tax evasion, not enactment of new laws, or holding of seminars, which will achieve enough economic self sufficiency, enabling Pakistan freedom to make Foreign and Strategic Security Policies, which truly serve long term national interests. As long as establishment and political ruling elite does not realize that without tax collection and writ of laws, we will continue to be rebuked by foreign countries, in whose opinion, their taxpayers are being burdened to bridge fiscal gap created by deliberate nonpayment of taxes by those who earn above a certain threshold.

Without tax collection a state cannot fulfil its constitutional obligations to provide education, health, security of life and property, deliverance of justice, provision of employment etc to citizens making them vulnerable to recruitment by extremists and criminals engaged in terrorism. Why should state be held hostage to insatiable greed of elite, when existing laws make it mandatory for them to pay taxes, instead of being given subsidies, tax reliefs and benefits, which they have not earned.

MALIK TARIQ,

Lahore, January 14.