Veiled threat



The move reflects on the desperation of the government, most of all the prime minister who by virtue of his office is supposed to take the fall for his economic team’s failure.

The Prime Minister Imran Khan just a day before the budget has once again urged the non-filers of tax returns to avail off the asset declaration scheme and help government meet its revenue targets.

In a message broadcast on national television on Monday morning, Khan requested people to declare their assets and accounts under the amnesty scheme by June 30. The request sounded as a threat when he added that the government institutions have sufficient information regarding the assets of Pakistani citizens inside the country and abroad. He also referred to various agreements his government has signed with other countries.

As usual, brushing all talk of incompetence aside, he said most of the loans are utilised to repay installments due from earlier debts recalling that the country’s debt soared to Rs30,000 billion from Rs6,000 billion over the last decade.

He stating the obvious said that half of the collected amount goes into paying up the debts and what remains was not enough to run the country.

He sounded more of the same when he said that Pakistan is ranked higher on the list of charitable nations but lowest on taxes. The nation that in his view has the capacity to generate Rs10, 000 billion in taxes pays up only 4,000 billion.

Sire, let us remind you the umpteen references you gave in your speeches that the nation was willing to pay if there was an honest leader at the top. Now the statistics say that under your able leadership, people have paid far less taxes. Does that mean they no longer consider you an honest person? Or is it purely a management issue? Going by this logic, the previous two governments did better against various economic indicators and where the PTI government is finding itself woefully wanting.

Your government has been very loud on announcing austerity measures but most of them remained at best the cosmetic measures that they were and just the other day there was an argument between your all-powerful chief of staff (of sorts) Mr Naeemul Haq and the Railways minister Sheikh Rashid over the latter using the protocol.

This one year has been a huge disappointment for a worker and a businessman alike. And they dread what awaits them during the next one.