Challenging the mighty
THOUGH Moeen Qureshi is only interim prime minister of Pakistan, he has dared to challenge the wealthy and influential landowners of the country by imposing a wealth tax on agricultural income. This is something that former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto did not dare to do, fearing a political backlash.
Moeen probably got his courage to tackle the landowners, who form with the armed forces the twin pillars of power in Pakistan, from his intention not to seek election to political office. His new fiscal measures include imposing an income tax on the country's wealthy farmers, some of whom own or control thousands of hectares. Many Pakistani politicians will be subject to the new levy.
But Qureshi's tax package has obviously pleased the International Monetary Fund, which is expected to give Pakistan short-term credit of $350 million to back the proposals.