Pakistan's new tax chief promises to name and shame

At the end of the second year, the tax rate will be re-evaluated and could return to normal rates, which run as high as 25 percent.

The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has profiled more than 2 million offenders, detailing their luxury cars and houses, bank accounts and overseas trips.

Hakeem, the tall, grey-haired head of the Federal Board of Revenue, says he will release the names of offenders to the media.

It's like a war, he said, displaying the profiles of offenders with their faces and names obscured. Foreign accounts, vehicles, trips and properties are listed.

If this fails, I have to go.

Some say Hakeem has embarked on mission impossible. Previous government amnesties have been criticised as rewarding tax evaders and punishing honest citizens without doing anything to broaden tax collection.


But if Hakeem somehow beats the odds, his campaign could help ease Pakistan's deep social inequalities.

The wealthy attend lavish dinner parties, drive luxury four-wheel-drive vehicles and vacation in the West during the blistering summer heat while millions of poor Pakistanis brave chronic power outages in slums or impoverished villages.

One in five people live below the international poverty line of $1 a day.

We'll eventually get each one of them. We must give people a chance to come and pay their taxes, said Hakeem.

It's a computerised system ... We even know what color shirt he (an offender) was wearing when he got on that flight.

Hakeem says evaders may have their identity cards suspended, although it's not clear if such action is legal. The cards are required for travel, banking and to validate any license.

The amount of tax collected has been going down in real terms even as the country looks to the West for help.

Britain has pledged to pay $1 billion over five years to upgrade Pakistan's schools. The U.S. is giving Pakistan's powerful army more than $1 billion this year to help fight the Taliban. The country also owes the International Monetary Fund $7 billion.

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