This refers to the report “Tax the Rich, Subsidize the Poor, IMF Asks Pakistan” (February 20). We often denounce the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for exploiting developing countries, but this time I want to thank the Credit Agency for the recent statement from its chief executive.
I thank Kristalina Georgieva for raising her voice in support of the poor and oppressed people of this country, which has been burdened with indirect taxes from the rulers and has been hit hard by runaway inflation and a high interest rate.
On the other hand, the government is unwilling to shift the burden onto the wealthy class and protects them by not taxing them in proportion to their income.
The unfortunate citizens have no voice in Parliament and in the corridors of power, while there is no forum where they can plead their grievances to the insensitive rulers. The ruling elite has always relied on anti-poor and anti-rich policies to keep the nation’s resources in a stranglehold.
It strives to suck the last drop of blood from the unprivileged masses. The widening gap between the haves and have-nots is undeniable proof of this. Inequality and the unfair distribution of resources are rising to new heights, and more are on the horizon. The IMF would be urged to step in and review its financial support to the country, linking it to the government’s decision to tax the rich and influential groups while lightening the burden on the poor.
I urge the IMF to ensure that the upcoming budget is pro-poor while imposing heavy taxes on the rich and privileged. It may sound ironic that the IMF is the only hope for the poor in Pakistan today because it is the only authority that can force the government to correct its policies. The opulent lifestyles of the elite and state officials – legislators, bureaucrats, generals, judges, etc. – must end. If the poor cannot have two decent meals a day, the wealthy cannot and should not have luxury automobiles, the latest cell phones, other imported gadgets, sumptuous meals in branded restaurants, and so on.
As the IMF executive director suggests, a course correction is inevitable if Pakistan is to function as a responsible state. Otherwise, the situation may worsen, because sooner or later mass social, political upheaval and anarchy may be unleashed. It looks like we’re pretty close to that critical point.
Published in Dawn, February 26, 2023