The Pakistanis include politicians and officers of armed forces, claims JI chief Sirajul Haq. February 27, 2023
Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq says he has a list of 18 Pakistanis holding Rs 4,000 billion (USD $15.52b) in their bank accounts, with the list including politicians and armed forces officers.
“Our country’s institutions are helpless to recover money from these people,” he told a press conference in Islamabad on Monday, adding that judges, generals, bureaucrats, and politicians should give sacrifice for the betterment of the economy.
Haq said that inflation had reached 34.3 per cent during the tenure of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government. “If the flour is being sold at Rs160 per kg, how can a head of a family feed 12 members?” he asked.
He said that the rulers were considering imposing a burden worth Rs 650b on the masses. “In the coming days, the government will also impose a tax on breathing,” he taunted.
The JI chief said PDM used to take out rallies against the PTI government regarding inflation, but like PTI, the PDM government had also failed miserably.
The statement from the senior poilitician comes at a time when Pakistan is battling one of the worst economic crises in its history, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) demanding withdrawal of subsidies from the country’s rich to resume a stalled $6.5 billion bailout program.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva says tax collected from Pakistan’s elites should be spent on those who need the government’s help the most, questioning why the rich should benefit from subsidies and not pay up in the face of tremendous challenges.
Over 22 per cent of Pakistan’s 220 million population lives below the poverty line.
According to a recent United Nation’s report, Pakistan’s richest one per cent own 9 per cent of the country’s overall income, while the poorest one per cent hold just 0.15 per cent.
The country’s richest 20 per cent hold almost half – 49.6 per cent – of the national income, whereas the poorest 20 per cent hold just seven per cent, according to the UNDP report.
“The poorest and richest Pakistanis effectively live in completely different countries, with literacy levels, health outcomes, and living standards that are poles apart,” states the UNDP report.
Read more: Taxing the rich
In a startling revelation earlier this week, Defence Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif claimed that a Pakistani bureaucrat’s daughter received Rs720 million (USD $2.8m) at her wedding in salaami—the tradition of parents, relatives and guests gifting money to the bride and groom.
The minister also claimed that a whopping Rs 1.2 billion (USD $4.6m) were collected in salaami at the wedding of the first daughter of the same bureaucrat, who he said is a grade 21 public servant.
.”Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi personally told me that he went to the wedding of a bureaucrat’s daughter. A person from his constituency was collecting salaami,” Asif said during a session of the National Assembly on Friday.
“Elahi asked him how much have you collected till now, to which he replied ‘Rs720 million and counting’. He was stuffing the money into a shopping bag,” he told Parliament.