Documentation of economy

Published Apr 28, 2013 09:52am

EVERYBODY talks about accountability and transparency in Pakistan. But every government, civil or military, that has ruled Pakistan since 1958 has effectively ensured that there would never be a complete centralised documentation of the economy, land ownership and tax records in the country.

In spite of claims by Nadra and passport-issuing departments, the fact is that even these two vital national statistic record-maintaining agencies have neither been documented digitally nor have their records interlinked otherwise, how could individual citizens hold two or more national identity cards or passports of the same person when their fingerprints and iris have to be compulsorily recorded for issuance of computerised national identity cards and digitalised passports?

Billions of rupees of taxpayers have been invested on the pretext of having computerised records, but the fact is that the powerful land mafia and civil-cum-uniformed bureaucracy, which directly benefits from the black economy and undeclared assets, have ensured that other than mere political rhetoric, holding of seminars etc nobody dares compile a fully computerised record of land, assets, bank balances, etc, which require an NIC number for registration.

With the exception of incomplete tenures of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, the hard reality is that Musharraf and the PPP-led coalition of the MQM, the ANP and the PML-Q had eight years and five years, respectively, which were more than enough to compile a centralised documentation of the economy and national data records of all citizens of Pakistan and foreigners, who reside temporarily, in the country.

Such records would not only have ensured an increase in tax revenue receipts, but also would have helped to control funding of terrorists and their entry into and exit from Pakistan.

The vital interests of this country have been compromised at the altar of the insatiable greed of the nexus between the corrupt bureaucracy, the land mafia, the FBR and security agencies, whose elite bosses, the majority of them holding foreign nationalities, benefit from black money and unchecked transfer of funds in and out of Pakistan.

MALIK TARIQ ALI Lahore

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