While musharraf - the self styled saviour, has burnt up billions of rupees from national exchequer for the sham referrendum, the common person in Pakistan is facing the tough question of basis survival.

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I am a middle class citizen living in Dastagir and earning around Rs15,000 per month. My ailing parents live with me and my two children study in the least expensive schools near home so that I can save their transportation cost, but still I have to pay their fees. My company has given me 'no' salary raise during the last three years on the pretext that the company is not doing well.

Successive governments have been continuously raising utility rates along with the rates of all consumer goods and transport fares. Now the time has come for me to take the biggest decision of my life: either to pull out my children from school and put them in a madressah to save school fees or let my parents live without medicines and die early. So, I ask the finance minister of Pakistan to make a monthly budget for me?


Salary Rs15,000

Income tax Rs736

School fees Rs1,000

House rent Rs3,000

Gas Rs400

Electricity Rs700

Medicines Rs2,500

Doctors fees Rs1,000

Bus fares Rs1,000

Food Rs5,000

Milk Rs700

Misc Rs2,000

Total Rs18,036

My expenses are more than my salary. I have not added unforeseen expenses like those of hospitalization, school books, clothes for my children and so on. With every passing day I feel more and more like killing myself and my family.

The government is determined to increase utility rates by 300 per cent in the next three years. All consumables like wheat, sugar, cooking oil, sugar, medicines etc are now much costlier than last year. Fifteen per cent GST has been levied on medicines. Also, the government has announced the introduction of a new finance bill that might increase my income tax by about 100 per cent.

There is no end for me: the only simplest thing that I am considering now is to buy poison, give it to all my family and go to sleep forever. If there is any other option or advice from the honorable minister of finance then please send it to me, soon.

A CITIZEN

Karachi

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From Letters to Editor - Dawn (April 17)

http://www.dawn.com/2002/04/17/letted.htm