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How to be an Islamic Republic

19 0 0

The government is planning a new mini-budget where it will impose new duties and taxes on smart phones (especially Apple products), leather goods, imported cars and the like. In doing so, Pakistan will no doubt fall foul of the WTO and this will turn out to be yet another hare-brained idea by our honourable Finance Minister. The duty on smart phones especially is a ridiculous idea considering that we need these products for a truly modern knowledge based society.

There is one product, however, that remains untaxed in Pakistan and otherwise unregulated. It is alcohol beverages. Despite the prohibition since 1978, many Pakistanis consume alcohol regularly. Bootleggers and smugglers make a killing but no revenue makes to the exchequer. Then, we come up with schemes of taxing smart phones instead.

What Pakistan has failed to understand over the last 41 years is that it is impossible to stop people from consuming a good altogether. Monarchies like the Gulf States for the most part have reconciled themselves with this fact and chosen to work around it. Islam considers alcohol a taboo because of its social externalities. Thus, instead of blanket prohibition, the emphasis should be on regulation through age limits and laws against drunk driving. What is the point of having prohibition laws when these end........

© Daily Times