When a country is facing extreme economic crisis, it is forced to seek Bail-Out packages from international financial institutions like IMF, as a measure of last resort, to be followed with efforts to increase revenue collection through direct taxation, reduce non-development expenditure and boost exports. We have sought almost 21 such packages, starting from days of Ayub Khan, but instead of remedial measures, the reverse has been happening.

As a precursor to launching repetitive tax amnesty schemes by every civil and military regime, the State has justified them for widening tax net, but nothing of sort has ever been achieved, because there was never the will. Green agriculture land is disappearing to serve greed of few. Black economy has expanded while documented economy is on decline because of failure by State.

Ostentatious lifestyle of paid and elected civil or uniformed public officers at state expense has increased, and instead of levying taxes on rich, the burden has shifted on poor and lower middle class through indirect taxation. The irony is that Quaid’s modern democratic welfare state, has been reduced to a country serving privileged few who are paid to perform their assigned duties, become beneficiaries of leading an opulent lifestyle, gifted houses spread over several kanals. Billions of dollars have been siphoned out of country through loopholes built within system.

Our sovereignty has been compromised by giving sanctuary to private militias by military dictators, blinded by their vested interests. Instead of following example of adopting austerity measures set by Quaid, this country has witnessed abuse of state resources by paid public officers increase to unacceptable level. Almost every political party and state institution in Pakistan is controlled by powerful Land Mafia, and their interests override collective national interest.

ALI MALIK TARIQ,

Lahore, October 5.