The corruption, nepotism and abuse of power which is rampant in Pakistan could not have become so enormous if civil and uniformed bureaucracy was not party to these crimes. PM Imran Khan’s decision to appoint Shabbar Zaidi is indeed wise and courageous. You cannot expect top bureaucrats within FBR and federal and provincial secretariat, most of who live beyond their means, to bring into the tax net others who lead an extravagance lifestyle.

These bureaucrats who earn in Pakistan own expensive assets located in UAE, Europe, America, Canada etc. How did they transfer money required to buy these assets or were they purchased from kickbacks deposited abroad?

What can be a bigger indictment of FBR bureaucracy than the fact that documented economy has actually contracted instead of expanding? It is an established fact that as long as real estate sector offers lucrative profits with immense tax reliefs, there will be no investment in manufacturing industries which generate employment and boost our exports. The 1992 Financial Bill which allows Pakistani nationals to buy foreign exchange from open market and deposit it in their foreign bank accounts can be transferred legally to their foreign bank accounts, no questions asked. Similarly foreign remittances will not be questioned, even if recipients have never worked abroad. It is this channel which has been abused and used by not just corrupt politicians and traders but also the elite civil and uniformed bureaucracy. These same channels were used for terror financing yet no government wanted to plug these loopholes. What stops FBR to probe known owners of properties abroad and in Pakistan which cannot be justified by their tax returns?

GULL ZAMAN,

Peshawar, May 8.