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Tax 'crime' in Ramzan

world Updated: Aug 18, 2012 00:22 IST

During Ramzan, Muhammad Tashfeen Khan does what millions of other Pakistanis do: tries to keep his money from the government's religious tax collectors.

The wealthy businessman pulls all his savings from his bank account right before Ramzan starts so the government cannot deduct 2.5% as zakat, the annual donation many Muslims are required to make as a basic tenet of Islam.

Khan and many other Pakistanis do this, not to avoid paying zakat, but to make sure the money doesn't go to the government, which is viewed as incompetent and corrupt.

For many years, Pakistan required all Sunni Muslims to pay zakat straight to the government. That regulation changed recently, but many Pakistanis seem unaware and continue to pull their money out of the banks to elude the state.

Instead, they pay zakat to needy individuals and hundreds of private charities - some of which are fronts for Islamist militant organisations.