THE terms ‘tax and services bill’ are two different heads to be paid by citizens. Tax levied by the government is binding on citizens and to be paid mandatorily.
However, bills have to be paid on the provision of services. If some utility service provider, without provision of service, arbitrarily imposes bills on citizens to get payment under duress, it is neither justied nor tenable in the eyes of law.
Such forced bills are being imposed upon citizens for over decades by the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, while there is no water supply. Why should a citizen pay the bill when there is no water supply?
Despite the payment of bills, the citizens have to buy water from the tanker maa, which is provided water by the KWSB. In fact, water is being diverted to the tanker maa by the KWSB, depriving citizens of water despite bills payment.
Overseas Pakistanis are being invited by Prime Minister Imran Khan to invest and increase foreign remittance. When these expatriates visit Pakistan once or twice a year, they see their families deprived of water despite sending foreign remittances and regularly paying water bills-cum-tax forced by the KWSB.
The government should decide whether or not the KWSB is a utility service. If water bills are considered taxes, the KWSB should be ordered to ensure water supply.
When overseas Pakistanis remit foreign exchange, they expect the government to take care of their families in Pakistan.
Muhammad Faraz Hasan
Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2019