The next big scam: our annual budget

.. by Javed Khan

The next big scam in the offing is our annual budget which is around the corner. As usual figures will be fudged and bureaucracy will throw together a plan to protect their own perks while passing on the burden to the already burdened who find it not difficult but impossible to make two ends meet.

the IMF has thrown some curve balls recommending that electricity rates should be increased and pensions should be taxed , they conveniently forgot to advise our spoiled government functionaries to rein in their lifestyles or for that matter reduce the government footprint and outsource most of it’s functions to the private sector which would on one hand save precious funds and also improve functioning. Why should we have a railways ministry , aviation ministry , petroleum ministry, water and power ministry, information ministry or for that matter a ministry for religious affairs, there is certainly no one needed to tell us how to interact with the All Mighty .Why didn’t the IMF tell us to make smaller provinces rather than have four different governments bigger than nations each being ruled by governors , chief ministers behaving like royalty, in fact most royal houses barring Britain live like ordinary people.

Today government is short of funds and wants to increase taxes , this does not need rocket science or reinventing the wheel, do what others are doing who don’t need the IMF or take dictation, tax evasion is a crime so take discretionary powers away from the FBR and give incentive for people to pay their taxes , reduce rates rather than increasing them , tax consumption of luxury , make cars cheap but tax those who keep more than one. Singapore does this , tax large houses be they government or private, a governor who wants to live in a palace should pay for his servants , food , electricity and transport, ditto for all other baboos be they military or civilian.

Pakistan is missing out on the tourist trade , we want to attract foreigners who want to come and enjoy our food , our mountains so make it attractive for them , reduce our security checks and harassment by our LEAs , if they want to bring in a bottle of liquor or buy it locally don’t give them grief , in fact why does the government want to enforce prohibition, it has not worked anyplace in the world not even where imbibers were threatened with harsh punishment so why are we , if it violates religious injunction then let it remain between the Creator and his creation.

The government loses billions in revenue in this futile exercise of enforcing prohibition; instead of making consumption a crime make misbehavior after consumption punishable, as we all know no-one who wants and can afford to buy alcohol has stopped drinking, in fact those who can’t, have taken to easily available hard drugs and this is ruining our youth because drugs are being openly peddled outside schools and colleges, why because it has not been specifically banned in our Holy book. The same is true for gambling or betting, if it has not deterred our overpaid spoiled cricketers from betting who else will you stop, today private homes have become casinos and nightclubs, we have ruined a perfectly good and decent activity like going to the races on a Sunday; today all over our rural areas people are betting on cock fights , bear baiting, dog fights and bull racing so who is government trying to fool, only themselves but the fallout is being suffered by the nation, we have no funds for quality education or quality health and without these two an exploding population is just that -a ticking bomb. .. Javed Khan, 13 May 2024

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