A few days ago, Gilgit Baltistan Chief Secretary lost his temper on a poor local farmer. By writing this letter I intend to represent a local sense of resentment at this act and for him to be held responsible for his acts. His act has indeed brought shame to an already scarred face of Pakistan’s bureaucracy.
Share it if you feel the same emotions.
The video in question can be found here: https://youtu.be/o-i7xp5VRds
I am a Renal Specialist currently working in United Kingdom. I recently came across a video of yours in the social media where you had a fallout with one of the poor citizens of Gilgit Baltistan (GB). It was to my amazement that you deemed to stoop down from your level of professionalism to becoming an intolerant unprofessional. I would rather blame it on the way you have been trained, having been made to think like an occupant. Sadly the British legacy continues, and you are no different to them.
Now that my emotional response is out of the way, let’s come to hard core facts. You asked one question in your reply to the poor man, and I quote “how much tax do you give to the state”.
For your enlightenment, The GB council passed income tax adaptation act In 2012 and since then, GB officially falls into one of the taxable regions as is rest of Pakistan. Given this, it would only be fair to compare GB with rest of Pakistan’s performance with regards to tax collection, while later has had a huge advantage in terms of a big Infrastructure to collect tax. As stated by GB chairman public accounts committee recently, and I quote “Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government will generate nearly Rs10 billion from taxes on the corporate sector, registered firms, corporations and salaried class.” Since it has only recently been added to the tax net, it would not be fair to judge them on this so soon. Rest of Pakistan on the other hand, has been plummeting over past many years. According to FBR, punjabs property tax collections (main means of collection against a land lord) has dropped to 2.66 billion from 3.88 billion which is a whopping 31 percent fall and the trend continues. Sindh also witnessed a drop down to 1.45 billion while KPK and Baluchistan observed a slight rise only because of low volume of transactions. (1)
Out of the 8 million plus eligible and taxable Pakistanis, only 0.5 million pay the taxes and this is a well known cause of crises for the whole country. Out of the whole population, only 0.3 percent pay the tax. Also, only 21 percent of the registered companies paid tax according to a recent report. Agriculture only helps in 2% of the total tax collection which is ironic, as Pakistan is an agricultural country while industry carries most of the burden at 73% (2). Given GB is hardly industrial and struggling with agriculture, thanks to Pakistan’s policies over the years, it will be extremely unfair to expect GB to come back with a huge tax revenue any time soon. I am tempted to do an unfair comparison between Pakistan and Britain in the amount of tax generation per year but that is as unfair a comparison as it is between Pakistan and the newly born so called province of GB. I will still leave a reference to it so you can learn something useful from them. (3). So with that in mind, I find it amusing how a federal 22 grade officer who is deployed in a remote and poverty struck region like GB, who’s office acts as a King’s court room and who enjoys unlimited power and percs of the government while ruling and riduculing an already oppressed locality, almost a demigod for the people, comes back to the innocent, uninformed locals with such a shameful and disrespectful response.
Indeed sir, you have not only let yourself down but also what Quaid e Azam stood for. I hope this letter is taken in a positive spirit and the people of GB apologized for the mentioned act of disgrace.
Dr. Shoaib Saadat
Renal Medicine Specialist Registrar
Southampton, United Kingdom