FINANCE Secretary Salman Siddique has said that the Value Added Tax (VAT) was not being imposed, and was thus no longer an issue. Meanwhile, to broaden the tax net the General Sales Tax would be reformed, he added while talking to newsmen at Parliament House on Saturday. He said that there would be no need to impose a VAT if the GST reforms yielded the money that had been promised to the IMF from the VAT collection. However, Mr Siddique should not expect that the imposition of a VAT under the guise of GST reform will get a smooth passage. The same groups that saw VAT as causing the collapse of the economy and led such a strong opposition that the government has had to back off and claim it was merely reforming the GST, would once again oppose this ham-fisted attempt to bring back a measure under another name which would not only be destructive of vast swathes of the economy, but also cause massive inflation. The need to keep in the good books of the IMF needs to be reconsidered. The Finance Minister has raised the spectre of default as the possible result of not following the IMF's conditions, but he has also said that there would not be any inflationary policies followed. These may not be the noises of a Finance Minister who has promised the IMF that he would bring in a VAT, but it seems that when he proposed the GST reforms during the budget speech, he had in mind that the VAT had not become more possible. Indeed, its inflationary effects had made it recede further from the realm of the possible than before. It seems the only way of avoiding the IMF diktat, and thus to impose only those taxes which would be good for the country, would be to make a break with it, as well as with the USA in its war on terror, an alliance it is using to impose Shylockian terms upon the Pakistani economy through the lending agencies, which are all in its control. Already, the IMF is reneging on its commitments, and has thus got Pakistan in dire straits at a time when the USA, after its own failures, is pressing it to 'do more' in the tribal areas.