Protest against electricity bills

We can understand the anger and frustration of tax-paying citizens, pensioners, orphans, and widows over the increase in elec­tricity bills, but not the loud pro­tests by those sections of society who are the root cause of the eco­nomic ills because they refuse to pay taxes. What more will it take for the state, politicians, and paid bureaucracy to realise that toler­ance towards tax evasion and their failure to recover taxes have finally landed this country on the brink of economic collapse? The IMF bail­out package will provide a brief re­spite, but the debt burden is simul­taneously increasing and is not the remedy. Can the traders involved in retail business, who live in self-owned houses and own expensive cars but don’t pay taxes propor­tionate to their earnings, justify taking part in protests? . Where else in the world are real estate in­vestors exempt from tax or the to­bacco industry exempt from pay­ing the sin tax that is levied in all major developed countries of the world? Tobacco smoking has been established as a major cause of cancer and cardiac-related diseas­es, yet manufacturers pay minimal taxes. A sin tax is levied to recov­er costs incurred by the state on medical expenses linked to smok­ing cigarettes. It is also an estab­lished fact that drugs like marijua­na, etc., are linked with smoking cigarettes. Levying exorbitant tax­es on selling cigarettes is to make them so expensive that they be­come unaffordable. Pakistan to­day has become one of the few countries in the world that tobac­co cigarette manufacturers con­sider friendly. Big landlords hold­ing more than 20 acres of irrigable land or 35 acres of unirrigated barren land must pay their share of taxes. We expect our lawyer community to realise that a few among them charge crores from their clients but pay just a fraction of what they earn. The bar associ­ations must rise above petty poli­tics and follow the ideals of Quaid for the good of Pakistan.



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