As a nation we beg from the international community, and to make the public get used to the idea, we sanction programmes such as the Benazir Income Support Programme started by the Sindh government, or some Langar (free food) programmes which the Punjab government has initiated along with the Sasti Roti scheme to relieve the poor. Moreover, in Karachi an organisation called the Saylani Welfare Trust provides free food to the passersby that include people who work as taxi drivers, rickshaw drivers, scavengers and so on. It is a never ending list of people taking advantage from this free food programme, with stalls all over the city, at public hospitals, roundabouts, signals etc.
According to Jan Muhammad, he has stopped using his own money to buy food. “When they are providing me with free food, why should I spend money?” he asks with amazement in his eyes. On the other hand a taxi driver feels offended with the whole idea. “I buy a plate of daal and roti everyday, along with a cup of tea. It costs me Rs 50, if I had chicken the amount would be Rs 100. But I would rather eat daal then go ahead and eat the mutton provided by Saylani,” he proudly reveals.
Another man said that this is the government’s plan to desensitise us towards their growing loans they take from the United States or the World Bank or IMF. It has been a general attitude by the Pakistan People’s Party to buy people with cheap gimmicks. Instead of subsidising basic necessities and making tax recovery their priority, they take loans, reason being that they would be the first one’s who would have to pay the highest taxes. Therefore, taking loans is a better option as it fills their pockets rather then paying, which would reduce their wealth.
An owner of even a small organisation understands that he cannot spend more then what he earns, moreover even a schoolboy knows he cannot spend more then his pocket money; but unfortunately people at the helm of Pakistan’s financial affairs have not learned this. Perhaps they need to be taught through simulation games like Sim City, Age of Empires and Stronghold where the coffers of a state are constantly filled with taxes in order to provide the civilians with facilities.
The recent disclosures regarding the over-expenditure of the Sindh Chief Minister’s House by at least Rs 133 million, was a clear indication of how much our politicians are concerned about the current state of beggary.