Growing up in a small city in Pakistan, Tooba Khan overcame socio-economic constraints and biases against female education to pursue a career that would allow her to contribute to the development of her country.
Tooba had always known deep down that she wanted to serve her country, Pakistan, in some capacity. But her journey to be qualified to do so wasn’t easy, especially as a woman. “My resolve to overcome adversity, gender biases and societal expectations led me to where I am now,” said Tooba, adding that her family’s support and scholarships also played a pivotal role in her achievements.
Hoping to help make sustainable changes to society through policymaking, Tooba chose to set down her mantle as a teacher – a profession she still holds close to her heart – to further her own education, completing a Bachelor of Business Administration and later a Master of Business Administration (MBA) specialising in finance.
But Tooba didn’t stop there. Keeping her goal in mind, she sat for and successfully passed the prestigious Civil Service of Pakistan examinations and was placed in the Inland Revenue Service (IRS). “I’m currently a Deputy Commissioner for the Federal Board of Revenue and am responsible for helping to legislate and enforce tax laws in Pakistan,” said Tooba.
During her work as a tax officer, it became clear to Tooba that if she wanted to help Pakistan develop its economic policies, she would need to gain academic exposure to international tax practices that would complement her practical domestic experience. What drew her to Melbourne Law School was the “global subject matter promising a comprehensive analysis of tax laws across different jurisdictions,” said Tooba.
However, it was the potential to learn from and interact with one academic in particular that proved to be the final catalyst. “When I was searching for the best options to pursue my degree in international taxation, I came across an exceptional profile of the esteemed Professor Miranda Stewart, Director of Studies, International Tax and Tax, Melbourne Law School,” explained Tooba. “Her contributions to the development of international taxation left an indelible mark on my mind and in that very moment I decided to enrol in Melbourne Law School.”
As a recipient of an Australia Awards Scholarship, Tooba has been financially supported to complete her degree and take advantage of several additional professional development and growth opportunities. “I’ve attended multiple conferences, seminars and networking events with the scholarship support, including the 2023 Scholars Forum in Canberra and the Australasian Tax Teachers Association conference in Brisbane,” said Tooba.
“The validation and recognition bestowed upon me through this scholarship have instilled in me a deep sense of gratitude and purpose. It has allowed me to get a high-quality education from a highly ranked university that I may not have been able to afford otherwise.”
One of Tooba’s most cherished experiences was a tax policy subject that “brought together a vibrant tapestry of cultural diversity,” explained Tooba. “Each class session became a treasure trove of perspectives as tax officers, tax lawyers and policymakers from 15 different nationalities shared their insights on tax issues that sparked engaging debates on the complexities of tax policies on a global level.”
Looking to the future, Tooba hopes to utilise her deepened knowledge to meaningfully impact the realm of taxation through both academia and her role in shaping tax policies in Pakistan.