"Can anyone name one service in Sindh that justifies use of taxes?" The Friday Times, Plot No 52-53, N-Block, Main Guru Mangat Road, Gulberg II, Lahore, Pakistan. 042.35779186; Fax: 042.35779186, email: tft@thefridaytimes.com *Letters must carry addresses and ...


Bahadurabad crime


Two policemen were killed in May in Bahadurabad near Dawood Public School. This place is near my home and street crime like mobile snatching and dacoities happen here. My relatives and friends have been deprived of their valuables on many occasions.

Many letters in newspapers, blogs, and posts on the ‘Halaat Updates’ group on Facebook have been published on crime here but now the police has disappeared since two of them were targeted.

I request the law-enforcement agencies look into this and deploy patrols here.

Mubashir Mahmood,


Taxing surgery?


Before he made his speech, the headline screamed, “CM’s Sindh Budget to have 14 billion deficit.” (Dawn). In a cash-strapped province where we orphaned citizens are being eviscerated to fuel the mafia, there are no prizes for guessing how that will be filled—or, as TV showed (June 15) a Sindh assemblyman with the outraged innocence of an honest broker, how it will be squandered!

I do not know how many have successfully managed to “Say No to Corruption.” In my 40-something years of bonded labour here, I would be hard pressed to recollect the occasions it has worked. And let’s not even get to the taxman! I am one of some 1.5 million captive direct taxpayers who fund the entire burden of greed, dishonesty, nepotism, incompetence, lawlessness, utter abuse of power, and through the funneling channels, probably even terror. The CM’s recent announcement “SRB to be made sole revenue collecting authority” (Dawn) continues. “This would not only help taxpayers, but would improve the efficiency of tax collecting agency.” The latter was not needed! The tax base is not widened because corruption, a mercenary governance system and the knowledge that indiscriminate indirect taxation on everything, including the sewerage overflowing on our potholed roads as we suffer in darkness, makes a killing for the government.

We are mercilessly bled so they can steal and fritter away the nation’s hard-earned wealth. The SRB motto might better read, “Generating money for suitcases”! There is no difference at the Federal level.

Some months ago a segment of physicians and dentists, many if not all who are NTN-holding taxpayers, were assailed by a flurry of notices, show cause orders and threats of punitive fines to come under the SRB sales tax on services under“Cosmetic and plastic surgery” as defined in Section 2 Clause (29A) of the Sindh Sales Tax on Services Act, 2011.

I believe there is difference between qualified, professional and licensed health care providers, who may perform such generally irreversible and potentially life-threatening procedures, and a beautician whose similar cosmetic skills are usually product-related, temporary and barring allergy or reaction, do not impact health.

As with many others, this was an utterly irrational money-generating tactic decided upon without determining the difference between surgical procedures that may/may not improve aesthetics and pure cosmetology. This knee jerk avarice is typical of a rapacious government and a machinery without controls. Taxation on taxation on taxation! The matter is now in litigation.

I did not know the staggering range, at least 38 heads, of collections (read extortions) of the SRB until (Dawn June 3): “SRB collects tax on telecom services, training and coaching other than education, services by warehouses or cold storages, sports, business auxiliary advertisements, medical practitioners and consultants, travel agents and tour operators, indenters and call centres, renting out of immovable commercial property, labour and manpower services, life insurance services, educational services, hospital services, construction and land developer services, renting out of movable machinery/equipment, services on farm house. During the current financial year its revenue collection target was Rs78b.” It also, “collects taxes on application fees, demarcation fees, annual rent, royalty on production and through auction and security deposits while the excise and taxation and narcotics control department collects taxes on motor vehicle registration, transfer fee, luxury tax, cotton fee, infrastructure cess, property tax, entertainment duty, excise enactment licence fee, and hotel tax. Its total collection target for the current year is over Rs12b”. Can anyone name one service in the province that has shown justifiable use of these revenues? Let us not even begin to talk about the quality of life of citizens of Karachi who contribute the most to the corruption bowl.

Recently in Italy, a group of politicians was forcibly thrown into a garbage dump. For a government that is not accountable, is unable to provide Constitutional law and order or good governance, this is what is needed in Pakistan. If not, our politicians and officials should be taxed for their lack of service! Adding insult to injury in the meantime, the Federal Tax on Tobacco, one of the world’s greatest health hazards and the leading cause of a variety of fatal diseases in Pakistan, has been reduced! Like the artificially maintained stock exchange (on which further taxes have been added) our leaders realize there are killings to be made both ways.

Dr Mervyn Hosein,


Edhi drivers


This refers to the letter “Society’s conscience” (June 4) which tells us about how the driver of an ambulance of a reputed charity organisation asked for a tip. A long time ago, we called an Edhi Ambulance which didn’t charge anything. When we arrived at the hospital, we gave a tip to the driver. He refused, put his hands up and said: “I pray the patient gets well.” Times have indeed changed.

Hafsa Naseem,


Champions Trophy


Through your esteemed newspaper, I would like to congratulate Pakistan and its players on giving such a marvelous gift to this nation which was otherwise deprived of good news for a long time. The more important thing is that this victory over arch-rival India was celebrated throughout Pakistan and around the world not only by Pakistani people living abroad but brotherly people of Indian-Administered Kashmir and Turkey as well. I thank them all and would also urge the nation to remain humble and bow in front of Allah Almighty and pray two ‘rakat namaz nafal’ thanking Him for this victory.

Umar Khalid Dar,

Manchester UK.

Remand culture


As per the guidelines set by the Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan, a Magistrate who grants remand, is under a strict legal duty to satisfy him or herself, if under the circumstances, remand is to be granted or not. The liberty of a citizen of Pakistan cannot be curtailed and he/she has a legal right to explain their point of view before the Magistrate when remand is to be granted. It is the sacred duty of a Magistrate to safeguard the rights of the citizens. Article 9 of Constitution of Pakistan 1973 guarantees that no person would be deprived of life or liberty, while Article 10 provides safeguards to arrest and detention. Courts must be mindful of this before remanding accused to police custody.

Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898, provides that the Magistrate should satisfy himself that there are grounds for believing that the accusation against the person sent up by the Police is well founded and that there are good and sufficient reasons for remanding the accused to Police custody instead of detaining him in magisterial custody.

In order to form an opinion as to the necessity or otherwise of the remand applied for by the Police, the Magistrate should examine the copies of the diaries submitted under section 167 and ascertain what previous orders (if any) have been made in the case, and the longer the accused person has been in custody, the stronger should be the grounds required for a further remand to Police custody. In various cases reported in PLD 1969 Lahore 1020 and PLD 1992 Karachi 358, it has been laid down that remand is not to be granted automatically after the police makes such a request.

The duties and obligations cast upon police functionaries and Magistrates are highlighted in the landmark judgment of the apex court reported in 1995 SCMR 429. “This Court (Supreme Court) expects the presiding officers to perform their duties with their eyes and ears open as required under the law and pass orders after judicial application of mind and not in a perfunctory and slipshod manner allowing room for mistakes because these mistakes whether they are inadvertent or not reflect upon the conduct of the Judge and can be considered as a minus point.”

Furthermore it is a well-established law in terms of PLD 2007 Karachi 429 that, the Judge/Magistrate is required to give due attention to the complaint of maltreatment. If the accused has injuries on his person, it is the duty of the Judge/Magistrate to inquire as to how the accused had received the injuries before remanding him to police custody. The Judge, then is required to scrutinize the record and act of the police to see whether the act was legal, proper and if formalities required by law had been complied with.

When the Judge/Magistrate is satisfied that the arrest of the accused was justified, then the question of remand to police or judicial custody arises. Judicial officers are supposed to know that the arrest of a citizen without any legal justification and his detention through unjustified remand besides being illegal creates a sense of injustice and insecurity in the minds of people and no greater mischief than this can be imagined.

The superior courts have laid down several principles for the guidance of subordinate courts. In Ghulam Sarwar v. the State which was reported in 1984 in Pakistan Criminal Law Journal 2588, the High Court held that, “It is really unfortunate that the Magistrates are playing with the liberty of human beings in routine. They think as if they are accountable to none.” The High Court had also held that the Magistrates should realize that they are answerable and accountable to the High Court for the illegalities and irregularities done by them and that the High Court under section 439, Cr.P.C. is quite competent to examine the correctness of the orders passed by them and in case they violate the instructions given by High Court, serious action may be taken against them.

The main reason for separation of Executive and Judiciary was the fact that remand was not  being properly granted by Executive Magistrates and sometimes bail applications were not attended to seriously.

Arsalan Raja,

Advocate High Court,

LLB (University Of London),


Gwadar’s water


Gwadar, one of the most peaceful cities of Balochistan, has been suffering from many problems one of which is a water crisis. For several years, as the population of Gwadar almost doubled, the shortage of water has become more serious. The government has yet to find a solution. Its citizens don’t have a drop of water to drink.

A citizen,

Via emal.



The heartbreaking  tragedy that occurred near Ahmedpur Sharqia reflects our deteriorating social life. The agony and pain the victims suffered is inexplicable. We live in a society where economic conditions are so crushingly bad that a few drops of free petrol were enough for 140 people to risk their lives. Time and again such tragedies have taken innocent lives.

Gathering petrol in pots and household utensils was risky and belied the lack of awareness.  Unfortunately, we do not have systems that instill civic sense in cities what to speak of villages. It is more shocking that no proper burns facility was available in the two main hospitals of Bahawalpur. We have not figured these basics out even after 70 years of independence.

The more tragic news is that despite repeated requests by the police to stay away from the scene,  people kept  pouring in to try to score some free petrol. People are not used to listening to law-enforcement. Our government must devise a plan to overcome such disastrous situations and educate people. May their souls rest in peace. Ameen.

Iftikhar Mirza,


Modi in Israel


The tour of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel is being called historic but consider this:

In April 2016, Russia recognized west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.“We reaffirm our commitment to the UN-approved principles for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, which include the status of East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state. At the same time, we must state that in this context we view West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” said Moscow in this unexpected statement. “East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state” signifies that Russia supports two-state solution. Many Israelis saw this as an achievement for Israel, but many were displeased by this statement.

After this ambivalence towards Russia, Israelis were looking forward to American President Donald Trump to fulfill his promise to declare the whole of Jerusalem as their capital, but to their added dismay, Trump signed a waiver to abstain from moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May. It was shocking because Trump had promised several times that he would move the American embassy to Jerusalem. But due to pressure from US officials, he had to delay this move.

In the same month, Trump slammed Iran for backing what he said were extremists in Yemen and Syria. It seemed like America and all its Arab allies were clearly confronting Iran. At that time, Iran realized the importance of having some (strong) allies in order to face team Trump. Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme Iranian leader, mentioned Kashmir among those who were being oppressed by tyrants.“Muslims the world over should also openly support the people of Bahrain, Kashmir and Yemen and repudiate oppressors and tyrants who attacked people in Ramadan,” Khamenei said in his Eid sermon. This statement was shocking for Indian analysts, as mentioning Kashmir with Yemen and Bahrain signified India as a tyrant and oppressor of Kashmiris. Iran was making it clear to India that if they supported the Trump administration against Iran, Iran would not support the Indian perspective on Kashmir.

Indian foreign policy is known for its good ties with both Iran and America. So they didn’t protest against Khamenei’s statement. But now Modi is going to spend a lot of time with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, but he will not meet Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas during this visit. This has caused insecurity among the Palestinian authorities. Although Modi has “reaffirmed” his two-state approach to the Palestinian president in a meeting (in the same month of May), the gathering of these two big leaders in Tel Aviv has not allayed Palestinian fears.

In order to have someone on their side, the Palestinian president called Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz sharif. He expressed grief over the massive loss of life in Bahawalpur, and reminded the Pakistani PM that he is there for Pakistan in bad times. (Of course he expects Pakistan to be there for Palestine too).

After what Trump and Putin expressed as their stance on Jerusalem, it makes sense that Israeli media is viewing Modi as an important PM as they are looking forward to teaming up with the leader of more than a billion people. Similarly, while Iran and Palestine are teaming up with Pakistan, India definitely needs the backup.

Rubab Zahra Malik,

Via email.