name='verify-v1'/>"> MediaTrial: Pakistani Eunuchs may become tax collectors

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pakistani Eunuchs may become tax collectors

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he Supreme Court’s advice that eunuchs be employed to recover loans from the defaulters may be read as a funny idea but this will only be due to little knowledge about the potential of this marginalised community.

Eunuchs are deployed in India not only for loan recovery but also for tax collection.

The court’s suggestion will definitely be bad news for the loan defaulters, it has stirred excitement among the eunuchs, who are waiting for the day when directed to go for recovery from the Sharifs, the Chaudhrys, the Wattoos and the like.

Almas Bobby, chairperson of She-male Rights of Pakistan, talking to The News said the country’s politics is rich with ‘political eunuchs’. “They say a man stands by his words, therefore, all those who back out from their commitments with the people are political eunuchs,” she said when asked to define eunuchs in politics. She never voted for a political party, saying the current political lot doesn’t reflect her aspirations and ideals.

Almas, who was born in Yorkshire (England) and returned to Pakistan when she was 10-year-old, belongs to Gujrat — the hometown of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Pervaiz Elahi. Her mother’s family is from Multan — the city of Prime Minister Gilani. Her brother is a government contractor and the sister’s husband runs a rice mill.

“I’m waiting for the day when the eunuchs will be asked to knock at the door, beat drums and dance outside the residence of Manzoor Wattoo to force him return the public money. We’d also love to go to the Ittefaq Foundary, the Hudaibia Papers Mills and the Zahoor Palace to take back public money,” she said, adding the political class in collusion with the Army has been plundering money and stashing them in Swiss accounts. “The PML-N, the PPP and the Army: they all are tied among themselves through mutual interests.” She said they don’t have any pain for people, instead they have a Dard-e-Disco (Disco Pain). “They rob the country, deposit their ill-gotten assets in Swiss banks and spend happy hours in disco clubs abroad.”

As regard the court’s advice, it is largely based on the utility of this humankind in India, where they are employed to recover loans and collect taxes.

The municipal corporation of Patna, the capital of Bihar (India), for instance, had hired eunuchs to go from shop to shop, asking the owners to pay overdue municipal taxes in 2006. They were hired after the tax arrears ran into millions and the authorities failed in collection. Dancing and singing to the beat of drums, the eunuchs in bright Saris would go to shops. As the eunuchs went to different places for collection, the revenue officials would accompany them to settle outstanding arrears. Instead of offering them salaries, the eunuchs were granted four per cent of the amount collected. On the first day, the tax collectors met with considerable success, according to the report of a US TV channel, MSNBC.

The model was replicated later in Rajasthan (India) in 2007 when a village cooperative society hired eunuchs to recover outstanding dues from defaulters. Newspaper advertisements were displayed to appoint the eunuchs. The appointed eunuchs would knock at the doors of the defaulters from morning till night; they would station themselves outside the houses until people deposited the outstanding money.

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