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Pak-India Dialogue Process on VOA Urdu News

NOTE: The following video is in the Urdu language. Pakistan and Indian Prime Ministers held a meeting in Bhutan Thursday on the sidelines of the SAARC (South Asian Association for RegionalCooperation). All important issues, including terrorism, Kashmir and water, were discussed in the meeting. Both sides have termed the meeting a positive development in the […]


Shaukat Proposes. Who Disposes?

Some people have their destinies written in the wind, ephemeral in character this disappears like chaff in the face of any crisis. And in any case the wind cannot read. This may or may not be so for Shaukat Aziz, Finance Minister-in-waiting for almost every government in the last decade. With full-time cover of a military regime Shaukat finally got his chance to define how he would govern the economic health of the nation and look after the well-being of every individual citizen, if not till Kingdom Come, maybe for the next three years, or at least for the next year. As “Mission Impossible(s)” go, Tom Cruise had it much easier, and then he had distractions of the other kind, the kind that is anathema to the Ulema who hold Pakistan hostage intermittently. Abandoning the “best dressed list” for the standard bureaucratic white shalwar-kameez, black waist coat outfit was out of character but symbolic. Whatever magnificent plans Shaukat may have had for Pakistan when in faraway land, like the Romans do when on Pakistani soil you do exactly as the bureaucrats want you to do. And when you have the fudgers-in-chief of the last 4 regimes surrounding you, one hardly has any choice.

The abolition of the wealth tax was absolutely brilliant, however this was “a Pindi-dictated” initiative not a Shaukat Aziz one. Wealth tax has been the subject of misuse of discretionary powers by the CBR personnel and the abolition of it must have left CBR shell-shocked (maybe of the self-propelled kind). He came up roses in consolidating of Provincial taxes from 30 to 9. If you own a business you would know how different Departments can drive you crazy taking full advantage of levying some unknown tax, harassing and intimidating you with penalties, incarceration, etc till you cough up. However CBR had the last laugh, importers will now be held to blackmail for “under-invoicing” at the discretion of the Principal Appraiser (PA), the threat of confiscation by Customs Collectors (who will never dare disagree with the PA’s observations) will be very real.