Eye on Pakistan

Taxing the Rich, and the Friends of Pakistan Group

Posted in Domestic Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Political Economy by onpakistan on June 14, 2009

From the Dawn‘s editorial on the budget: “It is unfortunate that the rulers have again failed to tax the rich agriculturists.” “Unfortunate” is an understatement. It is a travesty, albeit a travesty we have seen repeated year-on-year. Arguably this year was not anyhow the best recent opportunity to tax the rich – that came and went under the strongest years of the Musharraf government.

Is it also not “unfortunate” that the so-called ‘Friends of Pakistan Group, who will be assisting the Pakistani government to the tune of Rs170bn, have not pushed for the taxation of the rich? Its not in their interests ofcourse.On the ‘Friends of Pakistan Group’, see, appropriately, this Voice of America news piece. The Group includes Britain, France, Germany, the United States, China, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Turkey, Australia and Italy plus the United Nations and the European Union. It doesn’t include, bizarrely enough, the single most interested-in-Pakistan nation in the world: Saudi Arabia. Does anyone know why not? Also, by the way, there is no ‘Friends of Afghanistan’ or ‘Friends of India’ Group. I am not sure if that’s good or bad news for Pakistan.

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