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Archive for February, 2016

۔۔۔۔میں رہ گیا

کر دیا مجھ کو مکاں خود لامکاں میں رہ گیا

میں زمیں پر اور وہ خود آسماں میں رہ گیا

کُن میں اور اُس کے فیٰکون میں ذرا وقفہ نہ تھا

ایسی عُجلت میں بہت کچھ درمیاں میں رہ گیا

گرد اتنی کہکشاؤں کی تھی دورانِ سفر

میں بھی خاکی سا غبارِ کہکشاں میں رہ گیا

قوتِ قطبی ، جدائی اور کشش کا کھیل ہے

یوں خلا یہ اس زمین و آسماں میں رہ گیا

کارہائے بزم ِ ہستی کا تصور کیا کرے

جو اُلجھ کرمذہبوں کی داستاں میں رہ گیا

حالِ دل اقباؔل کیا وہ خاک سمجھیں گے ،ترا

حرفِ مطلب چُھپ کے جب حُسن ِبیاں میں رہ گیا

 

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India’s penchant for false flag operations by Brig.(Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India’s penchant for false flag operations

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

 

 

India’s notorious intelligence agency RAW has mastered the art of spy warfare and has earned an ill-repute of interfering in neighboring countries through covert means for the achievement of India’s sinister objectives. It carries out covert and psychological operations to weaken target countries and create conducive conditions for the Indian military to deliver the hammer on the internally weakened foe in war. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldive, Bhutan, Sikkim have all been lacerated by RAW. And now it is actively involved in three zones of Pakistan using Afghanistan, Iran and London as bases of operation. Among the many tools employed to unravel the target, RAW employs the tool of false flag operation to put the blame of the crime committed by India at the doorstep of its foe to build pressure and to defame its opponent. RAW has been resorting to this immoral activity against Pakistan since long.

RAW in complicity with former KGB masterminded the creation of Bangladesh. In January 1971, RAW conducted a false flag operation in the form of hijacking of Ganga passenger airplane from India to Lahore supposedly by Kashmiri militants. Purpose behind it was to cut off east-west air flights of Pakistan so as to give free hand to Mujibur Rehman and his cronies to speed up its secession plan and create Bangladesh. Once Mujib created a state within state in East Pakistan in March 1971 and soaked the streets of Dacca and other major towns of East Pakistan with non-Bengalis blood with the help of Indian trained, equipped and brainwashed Mukti Bahini, Pakistan had to send reinforcements through long circuitous air route via Colombo to restore law and order. East Pakistan remained cut off from West Pakistan till the very end and enabled Indian armed forces to barge in against a small marooned and fatigued military force heavily involved in fighting province wide insurgency for nine months. Battle of East Pakistan had been won on the psychological plane before the military instrument was applied.

In 1999, an Indian plane was hijacked to Kabul. The then Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh carried out negotiations while the ruling Taliban became the mediators. Maulana Azhar Mahmood, leader of Jaish-e-Muhammad involved in Jihad in occupied Kashmir and three others jailed in India were released in exchange of releasing the passengers and the plane. This event gave a handle to India to intensify its propaganda that Pakistan was supporting terrorism in Kashmir and India was a victim of cross border terrorism.

Chittisinghpura incident was played in occupied Kashmir on the occasion of visit of Bill Clinton to India in March 2000. A dozen Sikhs were gunned down by RAW operatives but the blame was put on Kashmiri Mujahideen and Pakistan. Objectives were to present Kashmir freedom movement as terrorism, Pakistan as abettor of terrorism and to antagonise Sikhs against Pakistan.

Terror attack on Indian Parliament by a handful of militants on December 13, 2001 was again a false flag operation to extract concessions from Pakistan. Indian propagandists termed the attack as another 9/11 and blamed Pakistan even before carrying out preliminary investigations. India carried out biggest ever deployment of Indian forces along the entire length of the border and activation of forward air bases and moving forward naval battle ships in the high seas. Pakistan military responded with equal grit and determination and forced the fire breathing Indian military to pull back after 10 months military standoff. However, on the political plane, Gen Musharraf gave in to Indo-US pressure.

In order to appease India, he banned six Kashmir-focussed Jihadi groups, ceased their funds, thinned out troops in Azad Kashmir and took effective measures to prevent movement across the Line of Control (LoC). Pakistan also allowed India to build a fence all along the LoC and fortify it. Kashmir desk was made redundant. (This had been done earlier on in 1995-97 when uprising in occupied Kashmir had peaked and Pakistan opted for reconciliation and composite dialogue). This unwise policy had reduced the combat strength of Kashmiri freedom fighters from 15000 to 1500 when Kargil venture was launched). Another fall out was that RAW with the help of Mossad succeeded in penetrating Harkatul Mujahideen and several leading Jihadi groups in Kashmir to defame Kashmiri freedom fighters. Faran group was RAW created which targeted foreigners in occupied Kashmir. India then adopted draconian measures to break the movement.

Musharraf gave a unilateral commitment to India that he will not allow Pakistan soil to be used for cross border terrorism against India or occupied Kashmir, or Afghanistan. All these one-sided concessions were doled out to please USA, appease India and to induce India to sign a peace treaty and resume composite dialogue. Pakistan is paying a very heavy price for those myopic decisions. India silenced the eastern front and made our leaders swim in the pool of smugness that all core issues including Kashmir will be resolved through talks. Having duped them, India then activated western front by opening up four Pakistan-specific Indian Consulates and deploying 14 intelligence units in Afghanistan. Indian Consulates in Zahidan, Siestan and Mashad also became operative in Baluchistan.

From 2001 till 2008, all acts of terror taking place in India which included Samjhota Express train blasts killing over 50 Pakistanis, blasts in Mecca mosque Hyderabad and mosque in Malegaon were all put in the basket of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Pakistan. Purpose was to keep Pakistan under pressure; establish a link between LeT and ISI and brand the latter as a terror abetting outfit. This was done despite the fact that LeT was operating in occupied Kashmir and had been banned in 2003 and its offshoot Jamaat ud Dawa was operating as an educational/technical/charitable institution under Hafiz Saeed in bustling town of Muredke, which was open for all.

Mumbai attacks by ten terrorists on November 26, 2008 was yet another false flag operation designed to achieve several objectives. It was aimed at deflecting the attention of the world from occupied Kashmir where armed movement had suddenly transformed into unarmed movement after Amarnath land issue and had flabbergasted the Indian policy makers; to halt composite dialogue which had covered ground and had reached a stage of taking decisions; to get LeT declared as terrorist organization by the UN and the US; to brand ISI as a rogue organization; to carryout air strikes against alleged training camps in Muredke and Azad Kashmir; and lastly to destabilise Karachi with the help of MQM and TTP

 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Directs RAW’s Terrorism Against Pakistan

 

 

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The other important objective was to get rid of Maharashtra chief inspector of anti-terrorism Hemant Karkare who had made a stunning revelation that Hindu terrorist group Abhinov Bharat and some other groups under the patronage of Indian military intelligence were directly involved in acts of terror from 2000 to 2008. He had gathered sufficient evidence to get them convicted and punished. In this, Lt Col Srikant Purohit was the main character, who confessed that he was involved in bombing of Samjhota Express. Absconding Jatin Chatterjee belonging to Abhinov Bharat was arrested for his involvement in Mecca Mosque blast that had left 9 people dead.

Karkare was bumped off in Mumbai on the night of November 26, 2008. The case compiled by Karkare has been dumped even after Satish Varma of Home Ministry of Manmohan administration submitted affidavit in the Indian court that Hindu terrorists were involved in acts of terror. Hindu priest Aseemanand was another culprit who confessed to the magistrate on December 18, 2010 of his involvement in Samjhota Express incident and other terror acts. He has been released on bail. Former Indian Home Minister Suchil Kumar’s article published in Washington Post dated January 20, 2013 gave detailed account of Hindu terrorism in India. There are over 100 Hindu terror groups in India under the patronage of RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP, Shiv Sena and BJP, all part of Sangh Parivar who have communalized Indian politics and unleashed forces of terrorism. They are patronised by RAW and Indian Military Intelligence to promote Hindutva in India. None has been added in the UN or US terror lists.

Dialogue suspended in the aftermath of Mumbai attacks have yet not restarted since India has made terrorism and not Kashmir as the core issue for discussion to promote peace and friendship between the two archrivals.

In January 2013, another drama of beheading of two Indian soldiers along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir was played up to reinvigorate cross border terrorism charge against Pakistan. It was alleged that the attackers dressed in uniform had come from Pakistan. This was made into an excuse to heat up the LoC and carryout merciless firing on the villages located along the LoC and the deployed Pakistani troops. Offensive statements were hurled by the then Army chief Gen VK Singh (the one who claimed to have raised and trained a special technical unit for cross border terrorism in Pakistan, and after retirement joined BJP). That was the year when the incident of Indian spy Sarabjit Singh awarded death sentence since long was drummed up when he was killed by a prison-mate in Kot Lakhpat jail. In reaction, Pakistani Sanaullah Niazi interned in Jammu jail and set to get released was murdered by Hindu prison-mate at the behest of RAW.

After the change of government in India in June 2014, when Nawaz Sharif attended Modi’s coronation ceremony in Delhi and extended a hand of friendship, it was generally opined that the atmosphere had improved and the scheduled foreign secretary level talks in August 2014 would take place under better atmosphere. India however cancelled the talks on the flimsy plea as to why Pak High Commissioner in Delhi had invited the Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders whereas it was a norm. This act infuriated the Indian leaders and on the false pretext that Pak soldiers had carried out ceasefire violation in Kashmir heated up the border and undertook massive firing and shelling all along the LoC as well as Working Boundary in Sialkot sector from August onwards till as late as last quarter of 2015. This offensive military posture was further made vicious by acrimonious statements of Indian political leaders and vandalism of Shiv Sena activists against Pakistani sports persons, media persons, artists, book writers and exhibition holders in India.

During this period, three false flag operations were carried out to keep the charge of terrorism against Pakistan alive. One was in the high seas across Gujarat coast by declaring Pakistani fishing boat as terror boat and destroying it. Indian DG Coast Guard revealed the whole truth for which he was sacked. The next was a manipulated drama in which three gunmen dressed in Army uniforms allegedly crossed the border, and opened fire on a bus and then attacked a police station in Dina Nagar, Gurdaspur District on July 27, 2015. This was followed by another one in Udhampur on August 5 in which two terrorists attacked a BSF convoy. India blamed Pakistan for both but the ill-conceived dramas backfired.

Now the banned Jaish-e-Muhammad has been blamed for the recent attack on Pathankot airbase on January 2, 2016. This was done without carrying out preliminary operations and tackling the eight terrorists. It took the Indian security forces which included commandoes and army four days to clear the airbase. India has been unable to give an explanation to such a poor response particularly when information about the impending attack had been received two days before and 200 commandoes had been deployed for the security of airbase, counter terrorism force and internal security force inside the base kept on high alert and the deployed infantry division made more vigilant along the border.

Indian national adviser Ajit Doval who was personally overlooking the counter operation came under pungent criticism on his abject failure. He is to be held responsible for a blotched up false flag operation if it was so, while Indian security forces are to be blamed for their inept response action. Although Pakistan is extending full cooperation, it is suspected that Pathankot attack was engineered to counter the heavy dozier of RAW’s involvement in FATA and Balochistan handed over to the UN by Pakistan and also to find an excuse to put off dialogue.

India is extremely concerned about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which she says is unacceptable. One cannot over rule the possibility of another false flag operation by RAW on a bigger scale to give India a reason to carry out yet another massive deployment like in 2002 and force Pakistan to do the same at a time when the Army is heavily engaged in the three conflict zones and is also taking care of the CPEC while the politicians are squabbling over petty matters and Pak media is spreading gloom.

The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst/columnist/book writer, Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors. He is a Defence Analyst and among founding Members of Pakistan Think Tank.

asifharoonraja@gmail.com

 

 

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The Nazi in Hindutva Mind of Narendra Modi & BJP eyes Indo-Pak-Bangla-Afghnistan unity to form ‘Akhand Bharat

Editor’s Note: Pakistanis born after 1947,should understand the psychology of the Hindutva mind. In this article in Times of India,Ram Madhav,a Hindutva Nazi is exposed (Symbol of RSS is a Swastika).

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The Hindutva Mind

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BJP eyes Indo-Pak-Bangla unity to form ‘Akhand Bharat

 

 

India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will reunite to form ‘Akhand Bharat’: Ram Madhav aka Saffron Bandit

TNN | Dec 26, 2015, 05.05 PM IST

 

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS
• India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, who were separated 60 years ago, will reunite, said the BJP general secretary
• Ram Madhav also speaks about the issue of intolerance, says returning of awards bid to defame India
• He also speaks about bringing peace in J&K, says Kashmir an integral part of India
India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will reunite to form ‘Akhand Bharat’: Ram Madhav-India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will reunite to form ‘Akhand Bharat’: Ram Madhav
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav has said that parts of India – including Pakistan and Bangladesh – which were separated 60 years ago, will reunite to form “Akhand Bharat” (undivided India).
“The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) still believes that one day these parts, which have for historical reasons separated only 60 years ago, will again, through popular goodwill, come together and Akhand Bharat will be created,” Ram Madhav said in the interview to international news network Al-Jazeera.
He also said that as an RSS member, he also holds that view.
Ram Madhav, however, clarified that this will not happen through war, but through “popular consent”.
“That does not mean we wage war on any country, (or that) we annex any country. Without war, through popular consent, it can happen,” he said.
Top Comment

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p style=”text-align: center;”>Why did you leave out afghanistan sirji??! afghanistan is also part of Akhand Bharat and it was ruled by Mauryas until 1… Read More

He also spoke about the issue of growing intolerance in India saying the returning of awards by artists and intellectuals is a bid to defame the government and in turn to demafe the image of India. He also said that the method of protest adopted by these intellectuals is wrong.
Madhav, an RSS leader, was deputed to the BJP after the general elections last year. He played an important role in Jammu and Kashmir elections and formation of a BJP-PDP coalition government in the state.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera about bringing peace in the region. “The only outstanding issue with regard to the Kashmir problem is the Kashmir under Pakistan occupation,” he said. “The Kashmir that is an integral part of India, it has been proved time and again that it’s an integral part of India.”

 

 

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Sham Democracy under Nawaz Sharif

 
 
 
 
 
 
 This is how we ruin the country under this Sham Democracy and demand that nobody to interfere 

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STOP NAWAZ SHARIF’S WILD SPENDING: PAKISTAN’S DAUNTING DEFICITS

PAKISTAN’S DAUNTING DEFICITS

DR.ISHRAT HUSAIN 

 Former Governor
State Bank of Pakistan

 

 

 

 

The writer is dean and director at the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi.
The writer is dean and director at the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi.
Pakistan’s daunting deficits The government of the day has to answer these questions and satisfy its critics.

But this excessive preoccupation with short-term issues leads to the neglect of long-term issues that responsible governments must address. It is hard to predict where we would be in the next 10 to 20 years but evolving global trends do leave some pointers. Action will follow only if the gravity of the situation is realised. Benchmarking Pakistan of 2015 with other countries at the same level of development in the past and taking stock of the future determines that a few big deficits are critical for our future development.


Action will follow only if the gravity of the situation is realised.


Coping with climate change

The risks to energy, water and food security arising out of patterns of climate change are now well documented and substantiated by strong scientific evidence. The vast network of irrigation canals, barrages, headworks etc. has allowed us to be self-sufficient in food. But the global warming that will melt the Himalayan glaciers — the source of our rivers — would result in floods and then prolonged droughts. Already a water-stressed country, the non-availability of irrigation water for our major food and cash crops would be simply devastating. Population growth by that time would add another 100 million mouths to feed. International trade in food would be minuscule as the extreme weather would hurt the harvest in the surplus countries also. Pakistan has hardly done any preparatory work to develop drought-resistant, high-yield varieties of major crops that can be grown in a highly water-scarce environment.

Governance deficit

Underpinning most of the challenges and crises facing Pakistan is the deep-rooted governance deficit. Energy shortages are not due to inadequate generation capacity but to theft, losses, non-recovery of dues, and mismanagement by electric and gas companies. Low-tax revenues accrue due to inefficiency, lack of effort and connivance between taxpayers and tax collectors. Public enterprises incur heavy losses subsidised by the exchequer because of nepotism and favouritism in the appointments of chief executives. Poor law and order, arms, drug smuggling, terrorist hideouts all owe their sustenance to the auction of thanas to the highest bidders. A neutral, competent civil service imbued with a sense of public service can alone fill this deficit.

Trust deficit

Pakistani society has become more fragmented, highly divisive, excessively polarised and stubbornly intolerant. Mistrust, intolerance, sectarian rivalries, religious and ethnic divides have gradually eroded social capital, the glue that binds diverse communities. In a deeply divided, suspicious and insecure society the transaction cost becomes high and the speed of the economic vehicle is slowed down. Post-9/11 events have exacerbated these cleavages and nurtured new forces of violence, extremism, radicalism and terrorism throughout the country.

Skill deficit

The average schooling years of the labour force in Pakistan is low and the demographic dividend is unlikely to be cashed if the present educational policies and management practices continue to persist. Thousands of unemployable graduates produced by the universities are either attracted to terrorism, crime or suffer misery and deprivation.

Conversely, garment factories are looking for stitchers and construction companies are short of welders. Technical and vocational enrolment is less than 1pc while the country needs five times more technicians, mechanics, welders, HVAC operators, nurses, paramedics. These can be absorbed not only in the country but also abroad. Internet penetration, mobile phone, broadband wireless and fibre optic backbone have not been used for training or upgrading the skills of the existing workforce or others living in the country’s remote areas.

Gender deficit

Gender disparity (only 20pc of women participate in the labour force, most of them unpaid family workers in rural areas) has sapped the economy’s vitality. Bangladesh which was lagging behind until the early 2000s has been able to overtake Pakistan in key economic and social indicators. High rates of female literacy and female labour force participation explain much of the variance. Unless one half of the population is empowered to take part in production and services sectors, economic stagnation is likely to persist.

Technology deficit

Japan, Korea and China have been successful because of technology diffusion and application in their production processes. They went through a cycle of learning by doing, by reverse engineering, imitating and adapting the techniques of production to their factor endowment and selling them at competitive prices. New firms and start-ups replaced old firms. In Pakistan, the industrial production base has remained unaltered for several decades. Rent-seeking and extracting concessions by existing firms have become commonplace. Innovation, new start-ups and entrepreneurship are sadly missing. R&D institutions are mired in red tape and academic-industry interactions are almost non-existent.

Competitiveness deficit

Pakistan inherited one of the world’s finest irrigation systems covering 80pc of arable land. The Indus Basin Works, dams and reservoirs, barrages and link canals and a large reservoir of groundwater added to our capacity. Any other country would have utilised such a scarce resource for producing high-value crops and their industrial derivative for exports. But we are contented with producing low-value crops. Water losses, neglect of maintenance and desilting of canals, the poor state of barrages, absence of lining water courses, waste and inefficient utilisation, inadequate assessment and weak recovery of water charges have eroded the natural resource-based comparative advantage. Cotton yields in India have more than doubled in the last decade while our national average has remained stagnant. The productivity gap between the average farmer and the progressive farmer, if narrowed, could restore this advantage. Pakistan’s export structure has remained unaltered since 1990. Consequently, our share in the markets is declining while that of India and Bangladesh has doubled and tripled.

The writer is dean and director at the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2016

Additional Reading

Pakistani Elites Must Pay Fair Share of Taxes For National Independence

 
As Pakistan’s ruling elite and its ghairat brigade, led by PML’s Sharif brothers, engage in loud empty rhetoric about infringement of their national sovereignty by the United States, here is something to ponder:

Pakistan runs chronic budget deficits of around 5% of its GDP, and its government collects less than 10% of GDP in tax revenue which is among the lowest in the world. A big share of these deficits is funded by foreign aid and loans, making Pakistanis beholden to the interests and whims of major foreign donors and lenders.

Pakistan’s tax policies are among the most regressive in the world. Direct taxes make up less than 3.5 percent of GDP, with wide ranging exemptions to powerful segments of society coupled with governance issues at Federal Board of Revenue, according to former finance minister Shaukat Tarin. The bulk of the tax receipts are collected in the form of sales tax, placing the heaviest burden on the lower-income people who spend almost all of their income on their basic needs.

The other major weakness in public finances is the lack of fiscal effort by the provinces. With some of the largest segments of economic activity such as agriculture, real estate, and services in the provincial domain, the provincial tax receipts total an abysmal 0.7 percent of GDP.

Farm income, mostly earned by the nation’s feudal ruling elite, accounting for about 20% of the GDP is entirely exempt from any income tax under the law. Only about2 million of 180 million Pakistanis pay income tax. Of them, 1.8 million are salaried and paid Rs.27.37 billion in taxes during ended fiscal 2008-09, according to a report to the Senate by Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar. The government runs large current account deficits, forcing it to beg and borrow to meet the budget needs. The budget deficit for2008-09 was 4.3%of GDP and it is likely to grow with lower revenue amidst slowing economy in 2009-10. The tax evasion in Pakistan is estimated atRs500 – 600 billion a year, almost half of the total tax collection of about Rs1200 billion during 2007-08. The untapped amount is almost equivalent to the country’s annual budget deficit.

In a country where majority of the transactions, including purchase of big ticket items, occur in cash, there is widespread tax evasion and a sizable informal economy. The estimates for Pakistan’s underground economy vary from 25% to 50% of the formal economy. A recentWorld Bank (WB) report concluded that every Pakistani citizen evaded tax amounting to Rs 4800 in the year 2007-08, while the total tax evaded in the period stood at Rs 796 billion.

Food prices have dramatically increased since the current PPP government took power in 2008. These higher food and commodity prices are resulting in the transfer of additional new tax-free farm income of about Rs. 300 billion in the current fiscal year alone to Pakistan’s ruling party’s power base of landowners in small towns and villages in Southern Punjab and Rural Sindh, from those working in the the economically stagnant urban industrial and service sectors who pay bulk of the taxes. The downside of it is an even bigger hole in Pakistan’s pubic finances which is being funded with increased foreign aid and loans.

During the height of corruption under Bhutto-Zardari-Sharif governments in the 1990s, the size of the underground economy rose to almost 55% in 1999, by one estimate. As the military regime of President Musharraf cracked down on tax cheats, the nation’s revenue collection doubled from Rs. 500 million in 2000 to to Rs. 1.04 trillion in 2007-08.

While the income, assets and taxes of the president and top government officials are publicly disclosed and heavily scrutinized by all in the US, no such transparency exists in Pakistan. In fact, tax cheating in Pakistan starts at the top. The richest and the most powerful politicians in the ruling elite pay little or no taxes, setting a horrible example for the rest of the nation.

For example, Benazir Bhutto, Asif Zardari and Nusrat Bhutto declared assets totaling $1.2 million in 1996 and never told Pakistani authorities of any foreign bank accounts or properties, as required by law in Pakistan. Zardari declared no net assets at all in 1990, the year Bhutto’s first term ended, and only $402,000 in 1996, according to a report in the New York Times.

Bhutto’s family’s income tax declarations were similarly modest. The highest income Bhutto declared was $42,200 in 1996, with $5,110 in tax. In two of her years as prime minister, 1993 and 1994, she paid no income tax at all. Zardari’s highest declared income was $13,100, also in 1996, when interest on bank deposits he controlled in Switzerland exceeded that much every week. In June 2008, a senior PPP leader and president of Pakistan’s Supreme Court Bar Association, Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan, who was interior minister in Benazir Bhutto’s first government, told James Traub of the New York Times that most of the corruption and criminal cases against PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari which were dropped recently in Pakistan were justified, and that the PPP was a feudal political party led by a figure (Zardari) accused of corruption and violence. After a moment’s reflection, Ahsan further added, “The type of expenses that she had and he has are not from sources of income that can be lawfully explained and accounted for.”

It was only in 2007 that President Asif Ali Zardari returned to Pakistan under an amnesty, euphemistically called National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), sponsored by the Americans. However, the Americans know that the corruption charges against  Zardari were credible and he, along with his late wife, was convicted in at least one case by a Swiss judge. The conviction was under appeal in Switzerland when Pakistan government withdrew all charges pursuant to the NRO signed by then President Musharraf under pressure from the Americans.

The PPP leadership is not alone in evading taxes. The PML leadership appears to be just as guilty. The entire Sharif family paid a nominal income tax of Rs 250,000, wealth tax of Rs 550,000 and agriculture tax of Rs 130,000, considering their vast assets and properties of at least 23 sugar and textile mills and huge agricultural land, according to the News. The tax evasion by the Sharif family was the reason that the donor agencies giving aid to Pakistan in late 1990s insisted on publishing tax records of all lawmakers and senior bureaucrats, The News said, adding that for this reason, the donor agencies insisted on broadening the tax net to prop up government revenues.

As Pakistan faces a severe economic crisis and the current leaders appear ready to mortgage the nation’s future, the chances of the ruling elite setting a good example by paying their taxes in full appear rather remote. In fact, the feudal politicians are fighting the current IMF condition for even a modest tax on farm income. The only hope for a fairer tax system and improved collection from the rich and powerful to fund education and health care lies in serious and sustained pressure on Pakistan’s ruling elite from the donors and lenders, backed by the United States.

To conclude this post, let me quote former finance minister who said the following in a recent op ed: “At the heart of it, these issues are related to governance. This state of affairs is a manifestation of a broader challenge that Pakistan has grappled with virtually since independence– the shifting of the burden of responsibility by a small, self-serving and venal elite to the rest of the population.”

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