The tradition of using theatre as a tool for mobilising people for social change was revived with the performance of Tax Aur Mohabbat (Tax and Love) at the Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, which drew attention to Pakistan’s unjust and discriminatory system of taxation.

The performance was organised in honour of Oxfam Chair of Trustees Caroline Thompson, who is visiting Pakistan from the United Kingdom and attended by students and faculty members of the university.  The play is written and directed by Rao Riaz under the initiative called Equality Threatre by International Youth and Workers Movement with support from Oxfam. The writer cleverly reminds the audience that even love and marriage in this country is not tax free. Packed with culturally relevant jokes, the play had many in the audience in fits throughout the performance and managed to entertain while tackling a serious and dry subject.

Speaking to the audience after the performance Ms Thompson said, “In the United Kingdom where I come from, tax havens and big corporations not paying taxes is a big issue. In particular, some of the big American corporations such as Amazon pay very little tax,” she said. Ms Thompson said she was happy to see that Oxfam is supporting such initiatives in Pakistan and appreciated the use of satire and humour to deliver an important message.

Oxfam Head of Programmes Javeria Afzal said that many Pakistanis do not understand how the taxation system works and Oxfam is making an effort to educate people about these issues using mediums such as theatre.

Published in Young Nation Magazine on September 23, 2017