revenue


1. Issue a clear, categorical statement that BNP has no objection to transit — to any country — if it is demonstrably in the national interest.  Conversely, the statement should also say that BNP will oppose any transit — to any country — if national interest cannot be demonstrated.

2. To demonstrate national interest, an all-party parliamentary committee must be formed.  AL can pack the committee with its members — the number doesn’t matter — as long as there is at least one BNP MP in the committee, and crucially, the parliamentary committee is assisted by a technical expert committee whose composition is unanimously agreed by the parliamentary committee. 

3. The parliamentary committee, with the assistance of the technical committee, should produce a report by a certain date demonstrating the national interest.  The report should be made public.  The report should be debated in and out of parliament.

4.  BNP should issue an ultimatum about creating the committees.  If no committee is formed before, say, Jan 2011, BNP should call a hartal on the issue. 

5. If the government continues with its transit policy without demonstrating the national benefit, then BNP should make another categorical statement that should be re-elected to power, it will postpone all transit facilities until national interest is demonstrated as par 1-3 above.

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The ex prime minister of the country did not pay taxes. Now, deposed from power, she attempted to take the opportunity of an amnesty. The tax Jihadi ex Finance minister too did not pay his tax dues. So he also tried to do the same. If one wants to remain on the right side of the moral watershed, he or she must condemn this sort of behavior and demand a punishment. And this event is a glaring tetimony of the moral bankruptcy our political and administrative leadership are often accused of. And naturally I support the NBR decision not to extend the amnesty to these big leaders. Let law take its own due course.

But the law also

1. Must be a pragmatic and practical law which is updated to the current standard. We can never expect a total religious compliance if we stick to a century old tax law enacted by British Raj. This specific law has evolved over the last century to support tax evasion rather to enforce revenue collection.

2. Treat all in the same way. If Khaleda Zia/ Sheikh Hasina’s tax returns are investigated, so also Fakhruddin Ahmed, Generals Moeen, Masud, all the advisors of the current government and their backers’ tax returns must be investigated with equal effort and vigor.

Law simply can’t be permitted to see two classes ( the rulers and the ex rulers)  in two eyes. What is mandatory for Sheikh Hasina must also be mandatory for Barrister Moinul or Tapan Chowdhury.  Also please investigate tax return of Dr Kamal Hossain, and all the newspaper editors. On what logic ACC chairmen rests the issue on the goodwill of the government advisors?

3. Must not be used as a tool to intimidate professionals work in favor of the government. There have already been serious allegations about government threat of tax charges to senior lawyers if they take part in high profile cases against the government.

4. Must be applied by very non-political, honest, professional trained government officials.  I am getting a little sick of the daily TV comic by NBR chief Bodiur Rahman.

And again, Khaleda and saifur confessed their tax evasion. As the national leaders, the national standard bearers, role models, they must not have done so. They committed a crime. If they can’t give reasonable explanation in a court of law, they must be punished.

We expect a moral standard in our highest constitutional positions. I hope the current and future standard bearers would uphold the moral standard and open themselves to mandatory extensive tax investigation.