Stories about budget

Does Parliament care about fake degrees more than us?

June and July have been critical months in the national parliamentary schedule because of the federal budget presentation in parliament and then the discussion for its approval. Generally nations anticipate their parliaments to discuss national budgets and come up with ideas and proposals for their well being. I come across the findings of the report of Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) entitled FAFEN Parliament Monitor. The report reveals just how much our parliament took  discussed the federal Budget 2010-11 in the National Asembly in its 2pml-3rd budget session. According to the report: Only 114 out of 340 members took part in budgetary discussion i.e. 33% (June 3rd ...

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The mockery of education

Pakistan is a country of 170 million people with an average literacy rate of 57 per cent only. The education sector has always been treated like an illegitimate child when it comes to annual budget allocations. A great chunk of the federal budget goes to military and defense. It has been the same old story this year. The defense budget was raised by 17 per cent in the annual federal budget under the pretext of ongoing war against militants while the spending on education is less than 3 per cent. According to a recent report by Sharmila Farooqui, advisor to ...

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Degrees of reality

In the past two weeks, one of the issues to have gotten a lot of attention is that of fake degrees. From allegations to verifications to justifications, a lot of people have said a lot of things about parliamentarians who have made a space for themselves in the parliament to try to make a ‘real’ difference by using a fake degree. I recently read an article published in this newspaper about how the Punjab government had decided to remove the academic qualification for members of local zakat committees. The day after that, the Balochistan chief minister said fake or real, ...

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Dilemma: Only 1.7m pay taxes in Pakistan

As always, we have to blame the other for our actions. No wonder Pakistan is at the verge of being globally labelled as a “failed state” and many countries do not want to be diplomatically associated with it. Conspiracy theories are something we live for, and do not even have the courage to verify. Most conspiracy theories come from sources who feed on propaganda purposely or only for “speaking the public’s language”. But we will not learn and be truthful to ourselves. Because we just like believing in them. The media is talking about Pakistanis not paying taxes, that only 1.7 ...

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Pakistan: poor economy, rich country

It was January 2008, a relatively cold morning in Dubai. I was walking on Shaikh Zayed Road after parking my car about 300 meters from the meeting point with my client. I stopped suddenly before Crown Plaza upon hearing a Pakistani labourer arguing with a guy, claiming that UAE was not a rich country. I went up to the gentleman and said “Khan Sahab are you crazy? You are standing on Shaikh Zayed Road, the heart of Dubai and you are saying that this country is not rich?” He smiled and responded with a statement that I can never forget. He ...

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Post-Budget Pakistan (Part 1)

These days I am in Islamabad for a short visit to discuss investment opportunities in real estate with some international investors. Since I arrived in the capital, the business and investor community has been fixated on one big, scary word i.e. Budget. I would like to discuss some of the basics surrounding this fixation. One of Former president of the USA, Ronald Reagan’s best statements is regarding economic policy making. He said, “The government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: if it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if ...

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