Charity whitens black

  • Both treasury and opposition Senators recently joined hands in the Senate expressing their outrage over the report on legislators who are alleged tax-dodgers and termed it a calculated bid to malign the politicians. They termed it a conspiracy and their character assassination both by media and bureaucracy and resolved their mind to put some limits on media rights.

    Senator Ishaq Dar asserted that someone was projecting this on payment and wondered how the secret information was leaked. He asked the FBR chairman to take notice of the issue. He said that he was a regular taxpayer and regretted to share with the House the fact that during the last four years, he had spent Rs74.6 million on charity from his own pocket and was taking care of 106 orphans under a trust. He said he had paid Rs 200,000 tax.

    I am a senior citizen. 1960s, 70s, 80s I was an active person. During Ramazan at about 1230 noon buses started receiving return rush mostly government servants and students going home earlier. An hour or two before Iftiar this rush used to thin. 15-30 minutes before it used to become very thin at an average 5-10 passengers at the most in the bus. On Iftar the driver would stop the bus on a bus stop, drop out, take mostly a glass of water to break fast. A few passengers usually had then 50 Paisa or a Rupee “pakora” taken while riding the bus and this was distributed or exchanged to all present in the bus. Just after 5 minutes the bus again moved for the final bus stop. Shops remained opened on iftar announcement. Mostly a group of 3-5 adjoining shopkeepers jointly did their iftar, prayed and again in about 30 minutes later the market activity started picking up.

    Now the whole system has changed. Three years back I had to walk on the University Road Karachi. Iftar arrangement for passer bys was present at each 200 yards or so. In front of Urdu Science Collage there were three separate big roadside stalls for Iftar. Gulshan-e-Iqbal Telephone Exchange sirens announced iftar and all a sudden life became to a standstill. The volunteers with their long shirts & shalwars, turbans and beard on these stalls swiftly started stopping passing buses and wagons offering the passengers fruits, cold milk with Rooh Afza. I saw these volunteers almost forcibly stopping high speed coming wagons by standing in middle of the road waving their jugs and glasses to drivers to ensure the passengers do have a taste of their offering. The mosque was just 30 meter from these stalls. After offering my “Faraz” in the mosque when I came out I could not believe my eyes that these bearded activists still were on their stalls eating and trying to offer any occasional vehicles passing by. It was clear without any doubt that these people had not offered their prayers as for them helping believers Iftar was more important for them than prayers.

    Since about 10-15 years attendance in Mosques, traffic for Umrah & Haj have tremendously increased despite ever increasing exorbitant costs involved. Donations to charities (announced ones) have tremendously increased. The size of Iftar parties is increasing with equivalent increase in dishes. Free iftars to passer-bys have not merely increased but specifically now with costly milk, rooh afza, chicken rolls etc. After iftar now markets become deserted in the name of “Trawih”. All these good “God fearing” deeds naturally in return should had brought a natural good collective impact on the society but in contrast temperament of people is rising, extremism is on increase, religious tolerance has reached to dangerous lower level, target killings, ever increasing corruption etc.

    Why this? Because major part of all this “charity” and visits to Holy places is by those having within night turned new rich including those “poor-rich” enjoying written off loans, tax evaders etc. A new belief has emerged that out of this illicit earning spare a “good” portion on charity, iftars and Umrah which according to this believe would whiten the haram and again equivalate good with sins.

    Apart from Ishaq Dars, on the recent Saga when Dr. Tahir ul Qadri refused to see Choudhary Shujaat in presence of Malik Riaz of Bahria Town, Choudhary Shujaat vehemently told Dr. Qadri that it is not possible to find a more respectable person who is committed to philanthropy and has build hospitals, charity houses and many other projects for the welfare of the poor. He said the same thing when Dr. Irslan case surfaced.