Den britiske regjering planlegger en massiv økning av hjelpen til Pakistan. Men nå slår en tverrpolitisk komite bremsene på; hvorfor skal britiske skattebetalere betale milliarder til Pakistan når dette landets rike selv ikke betaler en krone?
Krisen i Europa gjør at visse spørsmål trenger seg på.
The government is planning to double the amount of aid it provides to Pakistan from £267m in 2012-13 to £446m in 2014-15, making it the largest recipient of UK aid.
The International Development Committee said British taxpayers should not be paying for health and education in Pakistan while rich Pakistanis were paying little tax.
But the MPs said they could not support the use of British taxpayers’ money for aid in Pakistan without ensuring the new Pakistani government, to be elected in May this year, was committed to reforming the tax system.
The report said Pakistan had a lower-than-average tax take, with only 0.57% of Pakistanis – 768,000 individuals – paying income tax last year. In comparable countries, the level is about 15%.
Lib Dem Sir Malcolm Bruce, chairman of the cross-party committee, said there was no issue with providing aid to help Pakistan’s poorest people, but «it was a question of how justified it is to increase it rapidly at a time when wealthiest people in Pakistan are paying little or no tax».
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: «Unless [Pakistan is] prepared to work with us to deliver real improvements in health, education and poverty reduction, then we can’t be expected to go on providing money from taxpayers in Britain earning less than wealthy non-taxpayers in Pakistan.»
The committee also criticised the Department for International Development (DfID) for failing to put corruption, frequent absences in the rule of law and low tax collection at the top of the agenda for its governance work in Pakistan.
figures showed that 69% of National Assembly members and 63% of Senate members did not pay taxes in 2011.