THIS is with reference to the letters ‘Corruption continues’ and ‘Fraudulent tactics’ (Oct 24) that aptly symbolised what is wrong in Pakistan today. The toll tax collector gave a receipt for Rs30 instead of Rs120. The excess amount of Rs90 is what is called black money.

Let us suppose after a few years, sufficient black money has been collected by the fraudster, and he wants to buy a house costing, say, Rs100 million. He has the amount, but only a quarter of it, or Rs25 million, is ‘white’ money.

Both the purchaser and the seller will declare the value of the house as Rs25 million, and the government will get only a quarter of what it would have received had the sale been recorded at the actual amount.

The only way to stop this loot and plunder is for the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to have its agents regularly visit property brokers, or monitor their websites, and ascertain the actual values of properties being sold, and to levy taxes accordingly.

Unfortunately, the property mafia has its supporters in both the government and the opposition, which is why amnesty schemes for whitening the black money are announced almost every year. If the government sincerely wants to meet its revenue target, it can easily get it from the property sector alone in which about Rs7 trillion of black money has been parked.

Shakir Lakhani


Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2021