We were already facing an acute financial crisis, where rising debts piled by successive governments starting from the first IMF package signed in 1958 to the most recent Extended Fund Facility signed with them on July3-2019, is a sad reflection of abuse of power, poor governance and living beyond our means. 

As if this was not enough, climate change-infused rains and melting glaciers have dealt double jeopardy. Pakistan has over 7000 glaciers and there was a global warning that they would melt. Instead of preparing for these natural disasters, the path of water flow was obstructed by real estate developers in collusion with powerful people in the corridors of power. 

Hotels destroyed in the 2010 floods, located on edge of the Swat River, were allowed to be rebuilt and also new construction was allowed by corrupt government officials. Karachi, a metropolitan port city, has witnessed water drain systems that existed for decades, encroached in connivance with Clifton Cantonment Board and DHA, making life miserable for hapless citizens after even normal heavy downpours.

People pay taxes because of fear of the law and heavy penalties including imprisonment. Instead of punishing tax evaders, every government has encouraged them with endless amnesty schemes. Even smuggled non-custom paid expensive limousines were given amnesty. Research reveals that many countries launched Tax Amnesty Schemes to whiten black money and reaped lucrative financial dividends with an increase in tax base and improvement in Tax to GDP, but this has not happened in Pakistan. Voluntary Disclosure Programs exist in countries like Canada.

Over 450 children including infants and 1000 adults have died because of floods. Bodies of infants floating in flood water would melt the hearts of many, but this does not seem to deter a few, who are blinded by power politics and continue holding political rallies, instead of focusing on providing relief to over 30 million citizens who desperately need help. Food inflation is bound to increase when crops have been destroyed. Playing politics on these issues is inhumane, to say the least.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore.