This is with reference to much talked about imposition of Sin Tax on cigarettes which PTI government intended to impose but has withdrawn under immense pressure from lobbyists and powerful stakeholders of this country. It has been established beyond doubt that Cigarette Smoking causes cancer and numerous other ailments. Heavy taxation has been levied in Europe, USA and rest of developed world to prevent spread of this addiction amongst youth, yet PTI government surrendered to this cartel. In USA cigarette smoking is banned at all public places, shopping malls, restaurants and government offices, including the Pentagon.

In Pakistan industries such as Tobacco Manufacturers, Land Developers etc. employ services of retired super bureaucrats and retired generals to lobby for them in getting tax exemption benefits which otherwise would be almost impossible to get. For a country like Pakistan which offers no medical subsidies to citizens, the facilitation of cigarette sales by lowering prices is suicidal and criminal. Justifying such decisions to boost state revenues from sales tax levied is horrible logic, and those involved in making this decision would be responsible for death of millions who will suffer from cancer, cardiac and lung related infections. The names of members of Board of Directors of PTC will reveal the abuse and immense clout these people exercise.

It is such contradictions between practices and declared intentions of political ruling elite, the bureaucracy and establishment which makes a country what is called part of the Third World.

M. T. ALI,

Lahore, February 3.