GUJRAT: Pakistan has been facing a default-like situation and is nearly bankrupt, Defence Mini­ster Khawaja Asif said on Sunday, attributing the crisis to widespread tax evasion by the big fish.

The minister said major sectors like retailers and wholesalers were reluctant to fulfil their tax duties, which he added was a primary cause of the country’s economic woes.

Talking to the media in his hometown of Sialkot, Mr Asif acknowledged that the government could not give immediate relief to the masses. However, he projected a bright future, insisting that the government’s current economic policies would begin to yield substantial benefits for the public within the next two years.

He lamented that the burden of taxation falls disproportionately on the salaried class while others neglect this critical responsibility.

The minister claimed that tax-related cases worth Rs2.6 trillion are stalled in the courts, with the judiciary showing little urgency in resolution. He accused the judiciary and bureaucracy of “playing politics in the country” instead of performing their duties.

However, Mr Asif hoped for an economic turnaround within 18 to 24 months, anticipating that successful implementation of the government’s policies would eventually lead to much-needed public relief from the ongoing financial strain.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2024

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