Pakistan is finding it difficult to pay even its embassy staff revealing the dire economic straits that the country finds itself in, a media report said.
In a major embarrassment for the country, Pakistan Embassy in Serbia through its official Twitter handle recently disclosed that the government had not paid its dues for three months. It was also claimed that the children of embassy officials had been forced out of school due to non-payment of fees, Al Arabiya Post reported.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry tried to cover it up by saying that the embassy’s social media account was hacked. However, the firefighting by the government turned futile when similar demand for funds came from the Pakistani embassy in Argentina, the report said.
The embassy in Buenos Aires was forced to raise the alarm when the school which the Pakistan ambassador’s children were attending served final notice to clear the dues. Similar problems of non-payment of school fees of Pakistan Mission’s officers’ children in Bangladesh have also been reported in the past, the report added.
Recently, the Pakistan Embassy in Washington too was reportedly in a dire state and was unable to pay the salaries of its contractual employees for several months. A report disclosed that local hires were paid out of the Pakistan Community Welfare (PCW) fund, which collapsed in 2020 after its funds were diverted to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. In October 2021, unpaid staffers wrote a letter to the ambassador urging him to resolve the issue, the report said.
The economic figures reveal the poor economic scenario in the country, the report said, adding that, despite the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP)’s ‘sunny side up’ approach. Pakistan’s total debts and liabilities have crossed PKR 50.5 trillion, an increase of around PKR 20 trillion under the current PM Imran Khan government. SBP data further shows that the current account deficit has increased to 4.7 per cent of GDP, far above the target of 2-3 per cent for 2021. Moreover, the rupee has plunged to cross the mark of PKR 183 against the US dollar, indicating bleak fundamentals.
Former Chairman of Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue, Shabbar Zaidi during his speech at a university in Karachi in December 2021, noted that the country was clearly bankrupt and “not a going concern”. He further held that it’s rather more than unusual for a country that is not at war, either with itself or anyone else, to run itself to the ground, the report said.
Recently, a staff mission of the international lender held the first round of discussions with tax officials in Pakistan and raised the issue of reforms in the personal income tax to raise maximum revenue and address the continuing economic downturn in the country, the Dawn newspaper reported.
While being startling, the revelations made by embassies do not appear to be limited to these countries only, the report said, adding further that, the misplaced economic priorities of the Pakistan government have extended the financial vulnerability of its common people to its diplomatic community throughout the world.
Courtesy : ANI