It is time for major structural reforms in taxation, non-development expenditure and a balanced budget, otherwise, Pakistan faces a grave crisis. This present status quo cannot be sustained any longer. India’s first financial assistance from IMF was in 1957 and its last was in 1993. By 2001 they had paid all outstanding loans to IMF. On the other hand, Pakistan signed a package with IMF in 1958, and we continue in 2022, with no signs of improvement, irrespective of which government is at the helm.

This PDM coalition government, like its predecessors, stretching for many decades, seems to be bent on levying indirect taxes which impact both rich and poor uniformly. IMF and other international financial agencies would have no objections to allowing targeted subsidies if our revenues were to meet total state expenditure by levying uniform tax on all sources of income. If every government were to give repetitive amnesty schemes to benefit the real estate sector, where 90% of black money is parked, Pakistan will never get out of this debt crisis. Borrowing from international agencies to pay salaries, pensions and perks of the paid elite is suicidal. Sanity must prevail before chaos occurs.

Every government, including PTI and PML-N, PPP, Musharraf etc. gave tax amnesty schemes to the affluent few, passing the burden through indirect taxation to the poor and middle class. Tax waivers to powerful commercial cartels operated under the garb of welfare foundations are another abuse. Even smuggled expensive cars have been given repetitive amnesty schemes. Cartels have not passed the benefit of subsidies to farmers and other citizens. Even GIDC levied by Federal Government, to be collected by these powerful cartels and deposited in the national exchequer was resisted by them.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore.