Stories about taxes

While the masses suffer under austerity, PTI’s Shaukat Yousafzai enjoys his new Rs8mn car

In August 2018, while addressing the nation, Imran Khan said that his government, unlike its predecessors, would not spend tax money on luxury items. In fact, he stated that an austerity drive would be implemented across the country when he assumes power. In the past, Imran and ministers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have repeatedly criticised previous regimes for their lavish spending on bulletproof cars and other luxuries at the cost of the public exchequer. Yet, it appears that PTI is now falling victim to the very behaviour it once condemned, given that the expenses of the PM Office have ...

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For how long will you blame the previous government for your failures, PTI?

It has been only seven weeks since the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government took over the reins of the country and it is already evident that the government, especially its finance minister, has no clue of the direction the economy is taking. It is, of course, the fault of the PTI leadership, who brainwashed its followers into believing that Imran Khan could change the face of Pakistan by eliminating corruption and recovering the looted money immediately after winning the elections. Perhaps the slogans were deliberate; Imran and his associates knew that it was impossible to achieve so much in such a ...

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Pakistan’s black economy: The case of curbing the non-filer

As the government is mulling over sustaining the curbs on non-filers to buy automobiles and property that costs over Rs500,000, the time is ripe to make a case against the non-filer category. Any scheme that is directed towards eliminating this category will undoubtedly face a strong backlash from the non-filers. They would probably argue that making everyone a filer is unnecessary in a country where 24.3% of the population is living below the poverty line; it would introduce unwanted hassle of documentation for businesses and it would waste their man-hours doing tax calculations. Moreover, it would incur costs of ...

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For PM Imran Khan: A guide on how to fix the unfixable

There is a new sense of optimism in Pakistan. Many in the country are looking to the government of Imran Khan to reform the way the country works and put it back on the track of development and prosperity. The new government has signalled a willingness to think outside the box. This means trying to do what has not been done before. It means going against vested interests, the ‘rent seekers’ who have used their influence to accumulate power and enormous wealth. And finally, it also means going against established international ‘norms’ of behaviour as defined by the ‘Washington Consensus’. First ...

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Why Kalabagh Dam is not the answer to our water woes

A few days back, my views on the futility of Kalabagh Dam published in a national daily evoked a very strong and hostile reaction from many people. I had posed a simple and pertinent question: “If, as is evident, Pakistan will have very little water in future, what will we fill Kalabagh Dam with?” Some people said Pakistan will have enough water forever, while others called me an enemy agent. Before delving deeper into why the dam should not be constructed, I would like to share my own experience of water consumption. Up until 10 years back, I had no idea how much ...

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I run a private school in Islamabad, and here’s the truth behind summer school fees

Those who are all daggers against private schools and are celebrating the Islamabad High Court’s decision to stop private schools from charging a summer fee, can stop reading because a private school owner is writing this blog. But then again, it might be worthwhile for you to hear the other side’s perspective too. I find myself to be a very small player in the private school industry. A newbie, who perhaps four years ago might have been bashing private schools from the other side too. Today, I am here not to make a case for myself but for the Citys, Roots, ...

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Khursheed Shah should take a look at PPP’s abysmal economic performance before pointing fingers at PML-N

Any accusation, any labels of incompetence hurled at Pakistani politicians have a very easy retort – the other guy is worse. Since a new election is on the horizon, our politicians have taken to this time honed art of mud-slinging with a new fervour. Khursheed Shah has come out with a statement that Pakistan’s economy has significantly deteriorated during the tenure of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government. Perhaps he’s forgetting Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) very dismal economic performance during its last stint. There are many facets of governance and politics which are hard to measure. Fortunately, economic performance is not one of them. ...

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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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