Stories about taxes

Dear Murad Ali Shah, do you even know what Sindh’s tax collectors are upto?

Dear Murad Ali Shah, It is well known that if you want to get anything done in your province, you have to pay the right people. In most cases, the right people are the ‘baboos’ as they are the ones who can skilfully insert whatever you want in any document knowing that the person who approves it will do so without reading it. Sometimes, if a baboo is not paid anything or not paid what he wants, he can do the opposite; he can get a tax imposed or increased on a particular commodity or service. This is what seems to have happened in the recently announced Sindh budget. ...

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Why are you celebrating, Nawaz Sharif? It’s not over as yet!

The long wait is finally over. The honorable judges have announced the verdict in the Panama Leaks case, and the overjoyed followers of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are distributing sweets under the assumption that their leader has been exonerated and declared innocent of any wrongdoing. Dear Nawaz Sharif, they are wrong. It was a split verdict, and you escaped by the skin of your teeth. Two out of the five judges ruled that you should be disqualified, because you are not “sadiq” (honest) and “ameen” (upright) as required by the Constitution. The other three judges stated that further investigation is ...

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Will Careem and Uber be able to survive in Pakistan?

The government of Pakistan, both federal and provincial, remains in a deep slumber. It does not counter any illegal business activity but only takes action when the project strengthens its roots in society and provides an alternative to public woes in a certain segment.  It is the government’s responsibility to provide adequate, reliable and secure modes of transport to the public to commute from one place to another. Unfortunately, the government has completely failed to do any such thing and hence, most of the country’s transport is in total control of the private sector. The tram service, which was operating in ...

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Indirect taxation is a regressive move affecting the poor – make FBR independent instead

Taxes are what make governments work and allow other functions to operate smoothly. It maintains the country’s infrastructure, funds government operations, facilities and the logistics involved in running a country. All across the world, governments’ levy taxes from its citizens to generate revenue to run their affairs and benefit their subjects in ways untold. Taxes are the price paid by civilised societies for the opportunity to remain civilised. Being the lifeblood of governments, there is no concept of governance and socio-economic development without taxes. Paying taxes is our civic duty, along with a requirement of the law and its non-payment is backed by sanctions. Is ...

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Is IG Sindh trying to promote gun culture by rewarding a man for killing a criminal?

Some days ago, Sindh Inspector General (IG) AD Khawaja lauded and rewarded a Karachi resident for killing a robber. This seemed like an old West Hollywood movie where bounty hunters get rewarded for killing criminals. He further stated that citizens should possess weapons to defend themselves. I wonder if this statement depicts how weak our judiciary is or how helpless those whose job is to defend us are. Moreover, this statement comes at a time following a recent incident that shook people with horror – Karachi residents beat a street robber until he was unconscious and then dumped him in a sewerage hole to ...

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You forced me to break the law, Qaim Ali Shah!

I’m not the kind of person who speeds through a red light, even if the drivers of vehicles behind me honk loudly enough to wake up the dead. I have a healthy respect for the law. So, when my son was deprived of his smart phone and 10 thousand rupees last month, I advised him to immediately report the crime to the police and the CPLC. He smiled indulgently, saying that once you go to the cops they will never let you rest in peace and you’ll have to pay them a handsome amount to stop hounding you. I don’t blame him. The cops in Karachi ...

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You’re looking at Nawaz Sharif, but do you pay your taxes?

It is no secret that Panama, with its strictest financial secrecy rules on the planet, has been a long-time friend to crooks, dictators, corporations and the ridiculously rich. Turned into a tax and money-laundering haven in the 70s with the help of American banks, Panama’s financial laws remain extremely lax and welcoming. As a Panamanian lawyer put it in his 2014 VICE News interview, “When it comes to money laundering, we offer full service: rinse, wash, and dry. You can go to any law firm in the city, from the smallest to the biggest, and open up a shell company with no questions asked.” To ...

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Why Pakistan will soon become a water scarce country

Pakistan is almost water scarce today, with an alarming rate of 1,017 cubic meters water available per capita annually, which is dangerously close to 1,000 cubic meters, the threshold of water scarcity. Unfortunately, Pakistan has failed over the past years when it comes to improving water governance and taking corrective measures for saving the rapidly worsening water situation. Water governance mechanics in Pakistan are loose, out-dated, and inefficient. The federal government has not been able to reach a consensus for decades on the topic of building large dams. Similarly, Pakistan has also failed on diplomatic fronts, it has not been able to persuade or deter India from ...

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Nine reasons I no longer support Imran Khan

I had always admired Imran Khan. Even though I knew his party would not win in my constituency, I stood in line and voted for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate. But what has happened recently in the country has convinced me that Imran Khan is not suitable to be the country’s top leader and I have my reasons to believe so: 1. He is not consistent. He first accepted the results of the general elections, and then a year later claimed they were massively rigged. 2. He continues to backtrack. First he wanted elections only in four Punjab constituencies (one of which was not won ...

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Dear finance minister, your new budget is killing us

Dear Finance Minister, I belong to the class of ‘common men’; some people also call us ‘mango men’ or ‘aam admi’. Ours is a species that is found in abundance everywhere in Pakistan. If you ever look out of your bullet proof BMW, you will notice one of my fellow beings selling something or the other on a footpath. We are also found polishing shoes, unloading trucks, offering window covers during a traffic signal, pouring hot tea in a cup at a tea stall, pushing a fruit or vegetable cart or driving a donkey cart loaded with a number of things. There ...

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