Stories about bribery

How to get rich while saving billions in taxes in Pakistan

I’ve read a lot on how to get rich in a short span of time if you are living in a developing country like Pakistan. But all the writers of such articles have missed the easiest method of all – collude with the customs to cheat the government. One way of doing this is what an enterprising importer did recently. In this case alone, the company must have cheated the government of at least Rs100 million by importing 80,000 cell phones (which were recovered from the bungalow) without any payment of duty and taxes. In another raid, the authorities seized a container (belonging to the same ...

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If you want to survive in Pakistan, don’t stop at the red light!

A few years back, I stopped at a red light and my car was hit in the rear by a taxi driver. A crowd soon gathered and a traffic policeman came over and blamed me for the accident. “You’re not supposed to stop at traffic signals, even if the light is red,” he said. “You should slow down, look left and right and go across without getting hit, or hitting another car.” “But what about the traffic rules?” I protested. He laughed contemptuously. “Rules are made to be broken. If everyone followed the rules, the country would collapse.” By this time, the crowd was baying for ...

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Why are arms and ammunitions so easily available in Pakistan?

As per a recent news report, over 170,000 of the total 352,000 licenses in Pakistan could not be verified by NADRA. Acquisition of arms and ammunition in Pakistan has never been a problem for applicants who know the various back door options available in the market. Unless there is a blanket ban on issuance of new arms licenses, a common citizen bearing a computerised national identity card, can get more than one arm license issued under his/her name of various non-prohibited or prohibited calibers  if he/she has a direct connection in the federal interior ministry. Background interviews with some prominent arms dealers in ...

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Why isn’t Qaim Ali Shah’s name on NAB’s investigation list?

All words and no action is what can be best described for the old and incompetent Qaim Ali Shah. ‘Reshuffling’ of officers right before Eid holidays puts him in a category of his own, one which entails corrupt politicians and government officials the province has seen in the past 20 years. Words fall short to describe what this man has done to our province, Sindh. Dismissing qualified district commissioners will not resolve the issues Mr Shah is trying (but failing miserably almost every single time) to address. Just as offering holidays for government officials when the common people of Sindh are dying due ...

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“Pakistanis are known for taking shortcuts in life” – True or false?

On April 8, 2015, it was reported that blatant acts of cheating were underway during the yearly SSC-I and II examinations in four districts of the upper Sindh. The examinations were being conducted under Secondary Education, Sukkur (BISE) and the Board of Intermediate, Sindh. It was reported to The Express Tribune that about 210 centres had been placed for the examinations in all the four districts. Out of these 210, 174 had been assigned for male candidates while 36 for female candidates. The report suggested that 27 teams of invigilators confirmed 311 students who had cheated in various examination points while five ...

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24 absurd beliefs Pakistanis have

Norms are beliefs about how members of a group should behave in a particular context. They are informal and often ‘invisible’ understandings and rules that govern a group’s behaviour towards particular religious, social, cultural, political and socio-economic triggers. Norms generally define what is acceptable in a society or group and are the building blocks for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviours, ideologies and narratives. These rules are generally implicit. In addition to what is considered normative in societal, political or cultural context, there are smaller groups within a society which endorse a particular norm. On one hand, norms define how to move, what to wear, how ...

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Karachi Board of Education: What happened to the sanctity of honest earnings?

Recently, I had to pay a visit to the Karachi Intermediate Board of Education in North Nazimabad because I had lost my original Intermediate admit and enrolment card, without which my Intermediate Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) could not be issued. In other words, I knew that I was bound to suffer that day at the hands of inept and inconsiderate government workers. I took a day off from work to run my errand and headed towards the Karachi Board Office, where numerous students were sitting on the side-path, waiting for the administration office to open. Apparently, mornings at the Karachi Board ...

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Tip me or do it yourself!

“Tip tip karta main kamray main ata hun, ayenge mehman tip de jayeinge.” (I enter the room repeating my ‘tip tip’ chorus; the guests will show up and tip me before leaving.) I still cannot forget this eminent dialogue from Guest House, an old PTV drama from the 90s. The waiter and staff in the drama used to get tips from guests upon serving them. They did not consider it their prerogative to get the tip; it was requested and only given when the guest felt gratified with the work of the staff. The staff, however, would never get annoyed when gratuity was not given. This phenomenon was being ...

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Welcome to Hypocristan

“Feudalism is the root of all evil in our country, baita,” Ms Naheed, who runs a renowned non-government organisation (NGO), explains to Saleem, a friend of her son. “The worsening moral, social, economic and political crisis Pakistan is going through is due to the elitist mentality of the powerful feudal lords. They deny children the right to education and treat them like slaves.” Saleem jots down the key points of the discussion. He has to submit an article on ‘Feudalism in Pakistan’ for the campus magazine next week. As soon as she finishes her sentence, they hear the sound of breaking glass. Ms Naheed gets ...

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The Prado effect

Adam’s story I backed out of the driveway, closely monitoring the environment around me. This was the first time I was driving such a large vehicle and it was safe to assume that there was a very steep learning curve with regards to keeping the jeep on the road. “I need to pick up something for Natasha.” Amir squeaked from the backseat. There were around five people sitting atop each other. I nodded, glancing towards the road ahead before putting the jeep in gear. A slight tap on the accelerator and the monstrous engine roared to life, launching the vehicle onto the road. Sitting behind ...

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