This is with reference to the report ‘Tax the rich, subsidise the poor, IMF asks Pakistan’ (Feb 20). We often denounce the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for exploiting developing countries, but this time I would like to thank the lending agency for the recent statement by its managing director.
I thank Kristalina Georgieva for raising her voice in support of the poor and downtrodden people of this country, further burdened by the rulers with indirect taxes and hit hard by the galloping inflation and a high interest rate.
On the other hand, the government is not ready to pass on the burden to the rich class, and is protecting them by not taxing them in relation to their income.
The hapless citizens have no voice in parliament and in the corridors of power, while there is no forum where they can air their plight to the insensitive rulers. The ruling elite have always tended to rely on anti-poor and pro-rich policies to maintain their stranglehold on the nation’s resources.
It is bent upon sucking the last drop of blood from the unprivileged masses. The ever widening gulf between the haves and the have-nots bears undeniable testimony to it. Inequality and unjust distribution of resources is scaling new peaks, with even more peaks in sight. One would urge the IMF to intervene and review its financial support to the country by linking it to the government’s decision to tax the rich and the influential groups while lessening the burden on the poor.
I urge the IMF to ensure that the forthcoming budget should be pro-poor in its spirit while imposing taxes heavily on the rich and the privileged. Ironic thought it may sound, the IMF is the only hope for the poor in Pakistan today because it is the only entity that can force the government to correct its policies. The opulent lifestyle of the elite and the state functionaries — legislators, bureaucrats, generals, judges, etc. — must cease. If the poor cannot have two square meals a day, the affluent cannot, and should not, be allowed to have luxury cars, latest mobile phones, other imported gadgets, sumptuous meals in branded restaurants, etc.
As insinuated by the IMF managing director, course correction is inescapable if Pakistan is to function as a responsible state. Otherwise, the situation may get worse because a mass social, political upheaval and anarchy may be triggered sooner or later. By the looks of it, we are already quite close to that critical point.