There's a thread these days on Telecom Grid Pakistan mailing list about the proposed 20 paisa per SMS tax. A poster hinted on how cheap SMS make them the ideal easy way of mobilizing a mob, for instance, in the long march case. The post as well as my reply are way off topic, so I'm posting a reply here.
May I suggest that roads, railways, and telecom are the enablers of growth and development. Branding SMS as the easiest mass mobilization instrument is a flawed argument. For that matter, cars and trucks have been used to carry explosives. Shall we ban them, too? Notice how this discussion is headed way off topic. Every facility has a way to be misused. You can't justify taxing it to lower the risk. Besides, if the government is going to play foul, they should be willing to see the mobs on the streets. To be fair, they haven't seen anything.
I would like to see a million percent tax on cigarettes, cigars, tobacco in general, paan, chewing gum. Those are non essential items. Instead of making wheat, onion and phone calls more expensive, tax these items by the millions of percent. These are luxuries, as are the beamers and the mercs. Oh, but the industrialists would halt that move fearing loss of revenue. We've seen several examples lately of when the ministers talked about rationalizing the prices of local cars (Suzuki Moron, for instance). What did we get? Nada.
Again, if the telecom sector fears loss of revenue, they'd try to fill a few pockets to scrap this bill. But the telecom sector, apparently, isn't doing well anyway.
2 months ago