Whenever something like this happens, people are bound to assume that it was not an accident but caused by enemy agents. Even though thirty six years have elapsed after Zia died in an air crash, we don't really know who did it. We do know that it was sabotage. When it happened, an American expert immediately said, "It was done by the Soviets". Even Eric Margolis has written twice that it was executed by the Russians, yet if you ask any Pakistani, he will say it was the Americans who killed Zia. They can't explain why the Americans would kill two of their own (one of them a Jew) along with Zia.

The recent helicopter crash in which the Iranian president was killed (together with his foreign minister and others) raises many questions, the first of which is that there were three helicopters yet only his copter crashed due to bad weather. Obviously, the president's helicopter would have been the most advanced and the most guarded, so why only this one crashed? Secondly, everyone knows that Azerbaijan is closely allied with Israel, so isn't it possible that the Jewish state targeted him? It may be a long time before we'll know, if at all. 

The riots by locals targeting all brown students in Kyrgyzstan revealed that besides Egyptian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi students, there are many from India in that country. Why? One can understand that Pakistanis can't study in their home countries, due to lack of medical and other universities and the high cost. But Indians at least have enough opportunities to study in their home country, if the "shining India" image propagated by Modi is true. But then, everyone knows that India is a desperately poor country where more than half the population lives below the poverty line.

It's still not clear what really provoked the locals to attacks on the foreign students. One report says that locals tried to rape an Egyptian girl student, which led to retaliation and from there, the riots spread. Many students have returned, an have spoken of the harsh conditions there. It seems that local police were not able to save the foreigners from being targeted. Whatever happened, I hope Pakistanis at least will not send their children to Kyrgyzstan (or any other third world country).  

Not-so-hidden wealth

Saturday, May 18, 2024

In response to this week’s property leaks, some politicians have said that their properties abroad were declared and denied any wrongdoing. One must ask if the properties were declared under the many amnesty schemes our governments have come up with. If so, did the government investigate how the money was transferred abroad?

What about those who say their properties were gifted to them? Were such properties declared before being gifted? We should re-visit such cases and award suitable punishment.

Shakir Lakhani




The major surprise in the Dubai property scandal is that the list does not contain the names of any Pakistani judge. Of course, they may have bought properties in the names of their relatives, so we can’t be certain. It’s surprising that none of our crooked judges have a house in Dubai. Perhaps they have kept their wealth in Swiss bank accounts.

The notorious cop Rao Anwer has enough wealth to last him a hundred years. All he has to do is to sell his Dubai properties and keep the money in a bank account, the interest from which will enable him, his wife and children and even their grandchildren to live in luxury for their whole lives.

No surprise that Imran Khan’s favorite (Farah Gogi) too has properties there. She’s the one who decamped after facing arrest for her corruption. And another Imran’s accomplice (Sher Afzal Marwat) is also listed as an owner. Of course, Nawaz Sharif too is there, his son Hussain owning a bungalow. But that shouldn’t be a surprise, seeing that the Sharifs have been looting the country for so long.

It proves that Pakistan is a failed state, considering that 17,000 persons were easily able to transfer their wealth (eleven billion dollars) out of the country so easily.



Documented economy

IF there is one good thing the current opposition party did when it was in power, it was to introduce the point-of-sale (POS) system whereby people had the incentive to buy from shops that were paying sales tax. Every month there was a prize draw and many people benefited. But the government that came in place of the ousted entity stopped the prize draw, and for the last two years, customers have been paying a rupee for every invoice without a draw being held.

Not only that, the current government has made it even harder for people to register their invoices. Previously, one had to register only once on the ‘Tax Assan’ mobile phone application (app), which used to take less than a minute to register an invoice.

Now, people have to enter their CNIC and mobile phone numbers along with the invoice numbers. A verification code is then sent to their cellphones. This whole procedure often takes up to 15 minutes before the invoice is verified.

Why is a simple and easy process made difficult and time consuming? Perhaps, this has been done by someone in the government who is not in favour of having the economy documented.

Shakir Lakhani


May 13, 2024


 My neighbor Bachani earns at least ten times more than I do, yet he doesn't have to pay income tax. This is because his income is derived from farming. Many businessmen have bought small farms and are easily able to avoid paying income tax, claiming that they earn most of their income from their farms. Naturally all honest tax payers feel bad about this. Similarly retired government officers, judges and generals get pensions worth more than a million a month on which tax is not levied. Why should they be exempt?

This time the IMF has recommended that income tax be imposed on all annual pensions greater than a million. I don't think our bureaucrats will like this. They're sure to stampede all efforts to do so. 

All income, whether it is from agriculture or otherwise, should be taxed at the same rate. Presently incomes of up to fifty thousand rupees a month are exempted. Why? Whether a man earns twenty thousand a month or fifty thousand, he should pay tax, even if it is nominal. Unfortunately our leaders can't do it, because they fear they will not be able to win the next elections if they do so.

 It's an open and shut case (like the others) against Imran Khan. Despite all the evidence of his involvement in the attack on army installations a year ago, no judge has the guts to sentence him. In fact, it seems that most of the high court judges in the country love the man and think he's the only thing that can save Pakistan. Perhaps it's due to the constant barrage by his party that it was deprived of its mandate in the recent elections.

Imran Khan says he will talk to no one else but the army (whom he calls the real rulers of the country). The army says that he has damaged the country and should apologize sincerely to the nation, but of course the narcissistic Imran Khan refuses to do so. In fact, he has demanded that the army should apologize to him for staging the May 9 attacks! The man is crazy if he thinks he can fool all the people. 

I wonder why the establishment is not releasing the incriminating videos which it reportedly has. But then, despite all the videos of PTI personnel indulging in attacks not only last year but in the past years, the judges have not been convinced.  No wonder most people in the country have lost faith in the judiciary!


CASHLESS SOCIETY: It is high time the government transformed the country into a cashless society. The use of cash over a certain amount must be prohibited.  The government should reward those who pay their utility bills via cheques or make online payments. Unfortunately, there are some banks that charge a fee on online payments. I started paying my credit card bill online and was shocked to find that the receiving bank charged a rupee for every thousand rupees on electronic transfers. Needless to say, this encourages people to make payments by cash, which is surely not what the government wants. Or is it?

Shakir Lakhani


May 6, 2024