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Pakistan elections: how the tax man was forced out - for being too good at his job
The Telegraph - UK ^ | 05/05/2013 | Rob Crilly

Posted on 05/05/2013 8:10:56 AM PDT by Wuli

Ahead of Pakistan's election next week, there is little cause for celebration. [snip]

In a country where almost no-one pays income tax, including more than two thirds of MPs, it only took seven months for Ali Arshad Hakeem to become a hated man.

As Pakistan's newly minted chief taxman, he built a database designed to monitor the spending habits of millions of people, and work out how much tax they owed.


This [snip] came to a juddering halt last month, when Mr Hakeem was suspended by judges over allegations that his appointment breached government rules that demand each job be filled from a shortlist of three.

In Pakistan's murky world of political appointments and patronage systems, few believe that was the real reason. Instead, his supporters say he was simply too successful [snip]

A recent report {snip] revealed that President Asif Ali Zardari and Rehman Malik, interior minister [snip] were among those politicians who paid nothing.

It made gloomy reading for anyone wondering whether there was any will inside Pakistan to reform. "The problem starts at the top," the report stated. [snip]


The decision to oust him will worry international donors who have kept pressure on Pakistan to shake up its anaemic tax system. They fear that without economic growth and an expanding revenue, the country's growing population could tip what is a fragile state into a failed state.

Pakistan [snip] has the resources to build more than 100 nuclear warheads yet depends on handouts to keep its power stations, schools and hospitals running.

[snip] the UK is planning to inject almost £1.4 billion [snip] into Pakistan over five years, [snip] They [UK] concluded that any increases in aid must be tied to improvement in tax collection.


(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: elections; pakistan; taxes
There is more in the article at the link than just what I excerpted.

I didn't post this as a commentary on taxes in general; good, bad or otherwise.

For me the main issue the article highlights is the abject corruption at the top of the entire political class in Pakistan. Sure, we habe our own, and for us our issues are not mere financial corruption but corrupt political philosophies. That's true.

But, for our foreign policy concerns, vis-a-vis the world neighborhood of Pakistan, its internal corruption, the depth of it, cannot be ignored in how we set our policies regarding Pakistan, or if ignored cannot produce policies worth having.

While everyone in the west wants to support "secular" minded political groups in Pakistan it is many of those same groups who are part of the problem of corruption and the Islamists use the evidence of that for why their side should be supported.

To put it bluntly, our philosophical "allies" in Pakistan are among their own worst enemies in Pakistan and their own behavior undermines the support WE WISH the people of Pakistan would give them.

1 posted on 05/05/2013 8:10:56 AM PDT by Wuli
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To: Wuli

and here’s an update on the article in the Telegraph

among some Pakistani bloggers on FB commenting about the article, one said:

“This is bull shit. If he was so honest, why was he appointed in first place? Do you think Zardari [the current head of Pakistan’s govt] would make any honest person as chairman FBR?”

“During his stint as Chairman FBR, revenue collections nose dived and corruption sky rocketed in FBR.
Sales tax refunds on fake flying invoices increases by 400%,”

“Posting of officers were auctioned. His team included one of the most corrupt person in FBR . That bugger got extension after paying 320 M.”

“There are lot of stories. Above all Mr Hakeem resigned from CBR as DC customs because of NAB’s pressure on corruption charges. His father , former senior officer of important institution came to his rescue.”

Therefore, I think either way, whether Mr Hakeem is to be believed, or if his and his supporters views are just their spin on the issue of his tenure as Pakistan’s top tax man, the essential issue for OUR interests remains - the abject corruption at the top among the political elites of Pakistan and what that means to U.S. policies in the region.

2 posted on 05/05/2013 8:20:32 AM PDT by Wuli
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To: Wuli
Last evenings thread
3 posted on 05/05/2013 8:42:54 AM PDT by ASA Vet (Don't assume Shahanshah Obama will allow another election.)
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