“Why should I pay taxes?” screamed an article published a few days earlier.

According to the writer, despite paying taxes, we don’t get the facilities available to the common man in developed nations.
Despite what our leaders say, we are taxed heavily due to indirect taxation. Everything that we buy has some kind of tax attached to it.
Electric bills, gas bills, petrol, you name it; everything you buy is taxed. It’s different in rural areas where our feudal lords can get millions of tonnes of water virtually free. Even the electricity they use is stolen through illegal connections provided by linemen who dare not offend them.
I recently came across a news story about an Australian couple who had consistently refused to pay any kind of tax. According to them, taxation is forbidden in the Bible and as Australia is a country with a Christian majority, they should follow the injunctions of the Bible. They even claimed Australia is in such a bad state because the government refuses to follow the teachings of Christianity. The judge disagreed and ruled that they should pay about two million dollars they owed the government.
I’ve heard something similar from some religious Pakistanis. “A man has ten children and earns a hundred thousand rupees a month. Another also earns the same amount but has only two children, yet they have to pay the same amount of tax. This is unjust.”
Well, the state didn’t tell the first chap to have ten children. He should have known he couldn’t support such a large family on a low salary. But you can’t point this out to such people. You run the risk of being lynched if you do so.
If you ask traders in Pakistan why they don’t get themselves registered with the tax department, the response invariably is, “Tax department employees are bloodsuckers, once they get to know you, there’s no end to their demands.”
This is true. If an honest man declares his true income (say a million), the tax inspector immediately assumes his true income is thrice that. He then tells the taxpayer to pay a third of the difference between three million and a million (amounting to 67,000 rupees), or he will send him a notice to pay tax on three million.
If the taxpayer loses his temper, he will soon find himself in trouble. In a couple of days, the tax department will ask him to pay the tax due on three million together with a penalty.
The poor taxpayer will regret to his dying day why he ever went there to get his business registered.
In the recent budget, a procedure was announced to complain against harassment by tax department officials and other worthy and honourable citizens.
But only a madman in this country would dare file a written complaint against these mandarins. It would just be like a citizen of one of those Arab kingdoms filing a suit against one of those five thousand princes. He would most likely be cut into pieces and fed to the dogs!
The writer is an engineer, a former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College