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A Joint Declaration on the Importance of Collaboration, Open Trade, and Innovation in Tackling COVID-19 

As member states of the World Health Organization gather today in Geneva for the World Health Assembly, a global coalition of 31 think tanks today calls on governments to commit to open trade, collaboration and innovation in the fight against Covid-19.  Read

Work Ethics In The Public Sector (FreePakistan Newsletter # 126)

Protecting personal freedom and establishing rule of law can transform Pakistan already misappropriated by the elite classes into Sab ka Pakistan. The Blog contextualizes important news and developments regularly.
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Again and again, just when you think you’ve reached maximum possible cynicism about politics, you discover that, actually, you haven’t been cynical enough. It’s almost always worse than you think.
[Gene Healy, “Time for the U.S. to Get Out of NATO” (April 26, 2011)]
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By Huzaima Bukhari and Dr Ikramul Haq
[The article first appeared in Business Recorder on April 29, 2011. The writers, tax lawyers and writers of many books are Adjunct Professors at Lahore University of Management Sciences.]
Public service is meant to serve the public at large and public servants are commissioned to ensure the smooth functioning of government departments. The prime function of the State of looking after the interests of citizens, is not possible without this apparatus.
They hold a vital position in acting as intermediaries between the common man and implementation of the government’s policies. Their job is quite formidable as they have to perform their duties with respect to representing the government and simultaneously providing assistance to the public in dealing with different issues. These include services related to: defence, education, health, tax, police, courts, registration of vehicles; traffic; road safety, transport, registration/transfer of properties, permits/licences, utilities, trade and entertainment. (List is not exhaustive, only some essential ones have been mentioned).
In their everyday lives there are innumerable occasions on which people of this country have to interact with many public functionaries who are ideally required to extend their full support and facilitate in a way that helps to expedite work without putting members of the public in any difficulty. They should be equipped with necessary infrastructure, tools, facilities, a high level of competence, knowledge of their sphere of job, devotion to their work, needless to say above all dedication, commitment, sincerity, hard work and personal integrity.
There are a number of ways through which government officials are recruited and appointed. In addition to competitive examinations conducted by both the federal and provincial governments, lateral, ad hoc and direct methods are employed to appoint different persons to public posts, underlying criteria being the apparently usual “right man for the right job” i.e. qualification, competence, sound character etc.
To manage this massive public service, coded laws have been laid down that govern each and every aspect of the functions of public servants, from their initial appointment to code of conduct, to leave accounts, to rules pertaining to their salaries, benefits, promotions, transfers, postings, retirement, resignation, disciplinary proceedings and what not.
Once they sign the offer of employment issued to them by the government, they undertake to religiously observe all these regulations as failure could lead to harsh eventualities. Not only are they supposed to abide by their respective codes of conduct, they are also expected to assist the public in resolving their problems and issues. In simple terms, their status is merely to perform executive duties, control and manage different departments of the government so that everything works smoothly for the government.
They are not paid by the taxpayer to make themselves inaccessible to the public or exert undue pressure or show arrogance and indignation. The ghosts of British colonial masters, who laid the foundations of civil service in the Subcontinent, would be much amused at the state of their legacy in the hands of the Pakistani civil servants most of whom have not left any stone unturned to blotch this otherwise efficient system of administration.
The moment they adorn the robes of a public servant they become oblivious to the common man’s woes and find innovative ways and means to make his life miserable, forcing him to run from pillar to post to get his work done or worse, giving him no choice but to pay heavily under the table for solution of his problems and if none of these work, then to get hold of an influential person (sifarshi) for things that are essentially his legal rights.
Even though majority of the public servants are guilty of surrendering to their whims, bribery or undue recommendations, yet they manage to get promoted to their highest level after which they retire and either live a life of recluse or become advisors to ministers. Interestingly, if their annual confidential reports (ACRs) are examined, it would be found that those who have served well under their bosses, have been given outstanding remarks compared to those who have tried to do something innovative by breaking the status quo or daring to defy any undesirable command.
Thus, those officers who have gone out of their way to please their bosses at the expense of ordinary people, are the ones to get accelerated promotions and prized postings. Therefore if an officer is able to grant millions of rupees contract to beautify a particular road just because the Chief Public Servant frequents it, has certainly a lot to hope for. So what, if the poor residents of neglected colonies are forced to live like animals for want of a fraction of the amount spent to ensure a good ACR.
Besides, most ACRs contain nothing more than credentials of honesty and hard-work as if these traits were truly unique in the cadre of public servants. If so, then it definitely implies that there is something fundamentally wrong in the entire set-up. When competence, skill and better qualification cease to be the norms of merit what else is left to bank on for a prosperous society? If individuals aspire only to improve their own self then where does the concept of collective development exist? If merely pleasing the boss is the main objective then where is the wretched common to go for redressing his grievances?
If the huge public service sector is meant only for a handful, influential few then there is an urgent need to reformulate not only the entire system but the mother of the system, which is the Constitution itself. The Preamble then could be replaced by a one liner that, “The state of Pakistan stands created only for the purpose of serving the vital interests of its political leadership and its handmaid, combined forces of civil and military bureaucracy, the rest of the nation is required not to expect anything but highhandedness, subservience, humiliation” [One can keep on adding according to his/her own bitter experiences].
[Courtesy Business Recorder]
Letters to FreePakistan
[Yasir Arafat, Youth of Parachinar]
Wish all of your to be safe and fight for the justice and eliminate the darkness, and stop the killing of innocent peoples and Save the human beings. I would like to cry and draw your kind attention on the Issue of One of a Agency in Pakistani territory called Parachinar now famous as Gaza of Pakistan which is siege since 2006 but national international media is silent and not one dare to have a look their by mistake. People are slaughter there by enemy of humanity? The questions arising from Parachinar people are.
Where is national and International Press, media? Where is So called independent judiciary of Pakistan? where is Chief Justice of Pakistan who is famous to take suo moto actions on the doing wrong sof Govt? Where is Civil Society? Where is anchor persons of TV who are famous to loud their voice against the taliban? where is UNO? Where is Human rights wing? where is National Assembly? where is Law and order enforcement agencies ? where is ISI? Where is Pak Army who is front line force against the Talibans,Alqeada?
Now why the Road from Parachinar to Peshawar closed since 4 years? why more than 3000 peoples killed since 2006? Why the People of Parachinar are kidnapping and slaughter by Enemies? What wrong childrens womens and old age peoples of Parachinar did? When they will free to go their home via Pakistan? How long Parachinar People used to go their homes via Afghanistan? Why Afghanistan is safer then Pakistan for Parachinar peoples? Where they will go for their lives safe? where they will go and ask for help? Where is thier govt? where is the supreme court????
So on so many question from Parachinar peoples waiting for answer since 2006 is their any one who will answer to them???????????????????????????
EVERY Human loving Person can do a a lot of work for Pakistani Gaza>Parachinar>.Parachinar is facing 04 years continous inhuman Siege & Econmomic Blocade imposed jointly by taliban millitants and estibleshment…..People are slughtered by taliban and children are dying due to lack of medicines….
Where are the World & Pakistani Civil Society????????Human Rights Organizations and Civil Society?????We hope that U vl cover this HUMANTARIAN CRISIS
[Mahabat Khan Bangash, Peshawar]
Every Govt. in this country has played vital role in taking the burden of notoriety upon its head without taking into account the consequences. May it was infiltration in the held Kashmir, the military operation in East Pakistan, taking active role in Afghan war or permitting the drone attacks and allowing the black water personals to operate on this soil; all resulted with more complications and put this nation in further trouble. The recent episode of keeping Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan and then conspiring in his killing by the Americans in Abbott Abad, with the help of Govt. agencies, was yet another addition to the notoriety to this country. The mission of the recent visit of the ISI head to America and holding meeting with the US intelligence authorities can easily be presumed!
[Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd), Rawalpindi]
The Prime Minister tasted the bitter pill of his own VIP movement torture on 1st May Sunday evening at Lahore. His cavalcade coming down the Sherpao bridge had to go the Governor’s House. As per practice the entire traffic on the Jail road had been blocked by the police. After waiting for what looked hours in the sweltering heat and his car engine running eating up the costly petrol a person lost his patience and came out of the car waving his shoes at the oncoming Police escort motorbikes and cars. A few policemen rushed upon him and a scuffle between them ensued. The policemen started beating the person and that infuriated quite a few others who also came out of their cars to his rescue. A few policemen raised their weapons but the people started shouting, “Maro goli, maro goli”, which unnerved the force. This sparked off an instant reaction from all others in the cars and within no time a throng of 40 to 50 men was chasing the police, who by now had taken to their heels. Sensing danger PM’s escorts swerved left towards the Main Gulberg avenue while the PM was still on the Jail Road many cars behind. Somehow immediately every halted car started moving, some going straight and others turning right into the main boulevard. They were moving conspicuously slow to delay the PM for as long as they could, as if out of sheer vengeance. Completely blocked PM had to experience for himself what the people have always suffered from.
I think, the VIPs and the VVIPs must use helicopters for their within the city movement or else from here on wards it will not be possible to block the traffic for them. If it could be done in Lahore it can be done elsewhere too. Surprising this incident was not reported in the media – print as well as electronic.
[Abbas Kassar, Hyderabad]
Muno Bheel belongs to minority community, and had worked on farmlands of influential landlord Abdul Rehman Mari of Jhol in district Sanghar along with his family for years. He is seeking recovery of his family held by landlord as bonded labour and kept in private jail since May 1998. His family was once recovered by police on order of Sindh High Court on petition of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Sindh office in early 1998 but on 2nd May same year the landlord with his armed men raided home of Muno Bheel in village Jam Waryam Memon near Jhudo in Mirpurkhas district and kidnapped 9 members of his family who are missing since then. Muno Bheel had filed case of kidnapping of his family including his elderly parents,wife, daughters and son at police station Jhudo in Mirpurkhas district wide crime number 35/98 but police took no action to recover the kidnapped peasant family.
Since then he has run after post to pillar for recovery of his family and had observed the longest hunger strike in history of Pakistan in front of press club Hyderabad for 1287 days. Chief Justice of Pakistan
Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chowdhry had taken suo moto action in 2006 and had called to court Sindh chief secretary and Inspector General police, had ordered them to recover family of Muno Bheel yet Muno was still awaiting liberation of his family from private jail of landlord. Chief Justice had appointed DIG of Mirpurkhas division Rana Saleemullah Khan for recovery of Muno Bheel family and when, according to Rana, he was close to a place where this peasant family was kept, he was not only transferred but also suspended by then Sindh chief minister Arbab Rahim for the reason that if police put hands on landlord Mari his government might fall down as the Mari landlord is Khalifa of a politically influential Pir on whose support every successive government in Sindh survives.
In September 2003 an MPA of PPP Ghulam Qadir Chandio of Nawabshah district had raised voice for recovery of family of Munoo Bheel kept captive by landlord Mari and forced to work as bonded labour in Sindh Assembly. Then Sindh law minister Chowdhry Iftikhar (from Sanghar district) had assured the house for early recovery of bonded family but since those days government has taken no step to get release of the family.
Meanwhile an human rights body Peace and Human Rights Trust filed a petition in Sindh high Court Hyderabad circuit bench against landlord Mari who had got bail from district court Mirpurkhas against FIR
35/98 of Jhudo police station. On plea of advocates of PHRT Rana Aslam and Justice (retired) Rashid Rizvi, Sindh High Court cancelled bail of landlord who was then arrested in April 2006 and remained in Hyderabad central jail for 18 months. But yet police failed to recover family of Munoo Bheel from his private jail at his farm near Jhol town of district Sanghar. The landlords of Sindh are said to sell the peasants to their brethren landlords in Balochistan as such the family of Muno Bheel is also said to have been sold by Abdul Rehman Mari there.
Sindh being a feudal society, there is no procedure of any account of how much crop the peasant has raised and his share in it. And as is the practice that landlord provides ration to each peasant family as subsistence so that they can live and work for him as slaves. And at end of each crop tells them that the debt they had taken from him at time they had started working on his farms, has multiplied as such they are not allowed to leave his lands and have to work generation after generation to liquidate the debt that never comes to end.
They are not allowed to move out of landlord’s farms and many are kept in chains and under tight security of armed men of landlord. The bonded or forced labour is modern form of slavery. Though there is law called Sindh Tenancy Act under provisions of which landlord and peasant are to share production of crops on equal basis that is half share to each but the law is never implemented and Mukhtiarkar (the land revenue officer of Tehsil) is the sole arbiter under the law who always takes sides with landlord. Various organisations working for welfare of peasants had taken out historic long march from Jhudo town in Mirpurkhas district to Karachi on foot demanding the implementation and amendment in Sindh Tenancy Act but PPP ruled government shut its eyes and ears on the voice of thousands of participants of long march.
In 1992 (during rule of Nawaz Sharif) a law named Bonded Labour System Abolition Act was enacted yet the practice of bonded labour still continues in country and according to surevy conducted by
Comrade Ramzan Memon of Bhandar Hari Sangat even today there are around 2 million bonded peasants working on agriculture farms of landlords in Sindh. The worst affected areas with regard to bonded labour in Sindh are districts of Sanghar, Mirpurkhas and Thar. Majority of bonded peasants who till lands of big landlords of lower Sindh districts above mentioned and whose families are kept in private jails belong to Hindu minority people of Bheel, Kolhi and Meghwar communities.
Various human rights organizations including Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Peace and Human Rights Trust of Aslam Rana advocate and Bhagwandas advocate,Green Rural Development Organization of Dr. Hyder and Comrade Malookhani, Bhandar Hari Sangat of comrade Ramzan Memon and Ms. Shahina, Hari Porhiyat Council of Punhal Saryo and others have liberated through courts thousands of bonded labour from farm lands of landlords as well as from brick klins. The liberated families are living in 5 Hari camps around Hyderabad namely Sikendarabad Hari camp,Mukhtar Rana Hari camp and Baba Salahuddin Hari camp near Kotri and at Husri and Azad Nagar near Hyderabad. Aslam Rana advocate and president of Pakistan chapter of Peace and Human Rights Trust has said that under Bonded Labour System Abolition Act 1992 and rules framed under it the district governments were made responsible for liberation of bonded labour from their districts and for rehabilitation of liberated families including providing them homes, technical training to enable them to get jobs, schools and dispensaries at Hari camps but district governments of Hyderabad and Jamshoro have done nothing for rehabilitation of liberated Hari families who are living in Hari camps miserable life, many under open sky with no homes, no schools, no dispensary, no drainage, no jobs, no water for drinking and no electricity.
Under such cirsumtances scores of liberated families finding to source of livelihood and no human basic need at Hari camps, had gone back to rural villages and engaged again by landlords to till their lands as bonded labour. Dr. Ashothama, Sindh Coordinator of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has told that the commission can get release of bonded labour from private jails of landlords and brick klin owners through court orders obtained by their lawyers and with help of police but the commission has no resources for their rehabilitation. It was solely the responsibility of government (be it federal, provincial or district) under Bonded Labour System Abolition Act and as the governement has no intention to implement this law like other laws, the poor peasant community of Sindh, Hindus and Muslims are destined to work as bonded labour and continue to serve the feudal lords by remaining in their private jails.
Their plight can end only when the Jagirdari and big land holdings are abolished and land distributed among the landless tillers. This is impossible for time being as these very big landlords and Jagiradars continue to rule the country since creation. In democracies landlords, being members of big political parties, are elected to assemblies and become members of cabinets while during military dictaorships they are sold easily to Generals and picked up to serve them in their cabinets. The peasants had seen a ray of hope in MQM chief Altaf Hussain when he raises their voice in his public meetings by demanding abolition of Jagirdari system but within few days he succumbs to compromise under political considerations with feudal rulers. Muno Bheel is living in a katcha home in Hari camp Sikendarabad near Kotri town of Jamshoro district along with around 300 other families of liberated peasants moslty of minority community in a condition without basic needs of life. At 60 he is still hopeful that one day he could he able to meet with his family he has not seen since 1998.
We at the planning commission also presume that power and politics are an epiphenomena. That the market is the final solution as it will axiomatically resolve class differences. I hear the drums of neoliberal rhythms beating furiously within the coven that is the planning commission.
[Human Concern Burning Issues]
Q:-WHY Pakistani Private TV Channels are Not Giving COVERAGE to BAHRAIN Public Movement…??? Like they Cover EGYPT & LIBYA etc
Answer:-VIDEO Clip Link
clearly shows that it is due to Uncle Sam & its puppet Aale Saud & Aale Khalifa Funding(US $ & Riyals) & PRESSURE , Because uncle Sam America 5th Fleet(Biggest Army Base) is at BAHRAIN…And REVOLUTION in Bahrain can creat problem for American Occupation>>>>>>>>>
GO TO HELL>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>SO CALLED FREE MEDIA (PRIVATE TV CHANNELS….GEO >>>AMERICI MAAL PEO) with in Pakistan for Supprting Cruel Regime Uncle Sam & its puppet Aale Saud & Aale Khalifa…………………….(FORWARD & SHARE WITH OTHERS TO SHOW TRUTH TO EVERY PAKISTANI IF U R HUMAN)..
[Prof. Dr. Khawaja Amjad Saeed, Professor Emeritus & Principal, Hailey College of Banking & Finance, University of the Punjab, Allama Iqbal Campus, Old Hailey College Building, Opp. University Ground, 1 – Crust Road, Lahore]
I acknowledge with thanks the receipt of your email dated May 07, 2011 and thank you very much for sending interesting, educative and informative material to us. Kindly retain our name on your mailing list for sending material from time to time in future.
[Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd), Rawalpindi]
I wonder if it would not be appropriate and to put the record straight for the posterity that the Supreme Court of Pakistan also examines the legal aspect of ZAB taking over the country as its President on December 20th 1971. Apparently the PPP had participated in the general elections held in the ‘united’ Pakistan in 1970 and lost in it. No fresh elections were held thereafter in the remaining Pakistan. After the fall of Dacca, the sentiments of the people were highly volatile and quite a few of them held ZAB responsible for the secession. Had there were any elections held at that monumental period of our national history the results could have been any body’s guess. However, ZAB was sworn in as the President and the first and only civilian Martial Law Administrator ostensibly on the result of the 1970 elections that he and his party had lost.
Legally speaking, was his taking over of the country lawful and should it not be examined now along with his judicial murder case already under the hearing by the Supreme Court of Pakistan?
[Dr. Irfan Zafar, Islamabad]
Now that the top slot of al Qaeda has fallen vacant with the death of Osama bin Laden, we are sure that instead of ‘selection’, the said post will be advertised for the benefit of many desiring candidates to send their CVs for this coveted position. [Daily Times]
[Tanweer, Lahore]
The PPP’s Sharmila Farooqi said in a talk show on May 24 that the PPP-led government’s failures meant the failure of all political parties part of the coalition government. So this was the real motive for the PPP’s “mufahimat ki siasat.” The coalition is there to share all the corruption charges and shortcomings of the government. And what do the coalition partners get in return? Ministries of their choice and sons exonerated from all charges. [The News]
[Jawed Mirza, Lahore]
The unfortunate citizens have been suffering from the ills of mismanagement, poor planning and updating of the electricity powerhouses for the last so many years. Power blackouts are now a regular feature in both winter and summer. We are now used to it. The leaders, whoever it may be, remain quiet as bureaucrats put our leaders into a tailspin by using jargons and formulas that no one can understand. Two foreign firms have now been invited to study this rigmarole. The conclusion is that electricity companies have overbilled the public by about Rs3,500 million.
Does anyone understand circular debt? The Pakistani citizen pays for good for no services. My honest suggestion is: please close down Wapda, Pepco and all departments linked with them, sack useless, corrupt and outdated people. Let the president import small generators and ask all citizens to purchase and use them. We will get power as we need it, no bills and no circular debts. Please, let us be free. [Dawn]
[Dr Irfan Zafar, Islamabad]
No one seems to have told IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who has been charged with sexual assault and attempting to rape a New York chambermaid, that being director of the IMF does not mean you get to do to people what the IMF does to countries. [Daily Times]
[Dr Irfan Zafar, Islamabad]
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that the US has a “set of expectations” from Pakistan. Ms Clinton, we, Pakistanis, have none from the US. [The News]
Issue of the month: Killing the truth
[Malik Tariq Ali, Lahore]
Today we stand embarrassed, insecure and economically dented because of the wrong policies that were framed by men like Zia-ul-Haq and Musharraf. These rulers compromised our national security when they allowed Arabs, Uzbeks, Afghans, Indians etc to enter Pakistan just because they were Muslims and stay here indefinitely because it suited their myopic vision of national interest. As a consequence of such policies individual khakis and other opportunists like Zia-ul-Haq, Akhtar Abdur Rehman, Chisthi, Mansoor-ul-Haq, Musharraf etc became billionaires, while Pakistan ended up a country flooded with the menace of illegal weapons, drugs, terrorism, extremism, sectarian and ethnic divide. While these men overnight went from rags to riches, this country was made a safe haven for criminals, and murderers. It is because of criminal negligence of these men, that today this country suffers.
Had these so-called Afghan War warriors been forced to leave this country, Pakistan would not have had to endure the humiliation it suffered on 2 May in Abbotabad. Those who are guilty must be made to pay for their sins and in case they are dead, their ill-gotten billions should be confiscated, if we want to set a precedent that such crimes against the state will never pay in the long run. Any compromises on this issue will only encourage others to follow suit. As a nation we have to decide that this country was created to become a welfare state for the people of this country, where they could live as citizens of a free state without any discrimination as to caste, creed, color, faith or sex. Our security and sovereignty demands that our politicians, civil and khaki bureaucracy submit to rule of law and moral code of ethics laid down not only in the constitution, but are universally followed in other democratic societies. Every institution of the state must confine to the specific role assigned to them, and there should be zero tolerance for corruption and those holding public office but have their assets located abroad. [The Nation]
[Javed Husaini, Hyderabad]
I strongly oppose the government’s decision to hold the in-camera parliamentary session on the Bin Laden affair. What is its purpose other than keeping the nation in the dark about what actually happened on May 2? Why can’t we know the details of the May 2 security disaster, especially when the US security establishment already knows all about it? [The News]
[Salman Babar, Lahore]
The chief of army staff has ordered an inquiry into the Osama bin Laden episode of May 2, as reported in your newspaper recently. The adjutant-general is going to head it. Although the public does not know the terms of reference for this court, I am sure the judge advocate general department in the GHQ will suitably word it as per the legal requirement. However, one is forced to note that an earlier inquiry ordered by the GHQ, on the terrorist attack on itself, did not see the light of day. Should an independent inquiry be conducted, one preferably by either the parliament or the Supreme Court, because how can an institution order an inquiry into its own actions? [The Express Tribune]
[Sultan Shah, Lahore]
I think the PML-N is right in demanding a judicial probe on the May 2 incident. It is sad that the PPP, which never gets tired of talking about democracy, has chosen to go soft on the issue by agreeing to the idea of a military inquiry. [The News]
[Afzal Khan, Karachi]
In addition to independent probes into the Abbottabad raid, we also need to investigate the following: Where do our madrassas get their funding from? Why is nothing done to stop many prayer-leaders from spewing hatred and venom against co-religionists? Why is nothing done to halt the spread of hate/sectarian literature, mostly by jihadi organisations, often right outside mosques? Who’s funding the television channels that are disseminating the most vile form of misogyny and religious bigotry? [The Express Tribune]
[S T Hussain, Lahore]
The PML(N) Chief demanded the investigation of the Abbottabad incident by a high level commission headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan to find out the facts within 21 working days. The terms of reference of commission suggested by PML(N) chief is ascertaining the full facts regarding the presence of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan and the US operation on the right of May 2, 2011 to determine the nature and cause of failure of the civil and military authorities in dealing with matters relating to the Abbottabad incident establishing whether there were any agreements (tacit or explicit) for allowing such a US operation on Pakistani territory and if such agreement were legally and constitutionally valid and affixing responsibility for the incident proposing actions against those responsible and recommending remedial measures.
Every thoughtful Pakistani knows that there had been a security and intelligence lapse. I suggest that the commission should include the joint chairman of staffs, speaker of the senate and national assembly and opposition leaders in the national assembly and Prime Minister. The PML(N) chief is right in saying that how were US helicopter carrying US Navy SEALS able to penetrate deep inside Pakistan in the presence of a “prime intelligence agency” and the world’s fifth largest professional army. This shows that institution to whom the highest percentage of Pakistani tax payer money is allocated (over 400 billion rupees) every year from federal budget has failed to protect the Pakistan frontiers.
It is a known fact that since 1958 the balance of power in Pakistan is in favor of military establishment and the political governments do not have any say in the national security and foreign policy of the country. It is time for the army establishment to concentrate only on the jobs of defending the country’s territorial boundaries. They should leave the other subjects to the people’s elected government. It is also imperative to change the mindset regarding “No 1 Pakistan enemy”. Pakistan is being isolated in the world due to its current policies. It is hoped that all the state institutions will develop census about terrorism and extremism which is preventing Pakistan from becoming a prosperous, welfare state. [Pakistan Today]
[Iftikhar Shaheen Mirza]
I was taken aback on seeing large banners hung in Islamabad praising Pak Army and ISI and calling those traitors, who have raised questions about the efficiency and reliability of both departments. No doubt, after May 2 operation, we, the Pakistanis have rubbed our noses in the dust of disgrace. Pakistani government has failed to make clear its position on what US did in Abbottabad which is awful. Uncanny Silence of authorities has bred more contempt against them in public. People wonder why more than 60% of our budget is spent on forces, when they neither have ability nor resilience to combat any rival coming across the border.
Instead of admitting fault and stepping down; the management of our spy agencies is shamelessly hanging on with different conspiracy theories. Had this happened in any other part of world, the responsible heads would have resigned immediately. Latitude to the maximum extent has already been given to them, but praising them is, definitely, mockery of facts. An independent probe must be ordered by government to bring to light the factual position. Only lamenting on security issues would degenerate us badly among respectable nations of the world. [Pakistan Observer]
[Iftikhar Zaidi, Karachi]
This is with reference to a report in your newspaper on May 14, which said that the Shamsi airbase was not under the PAF’s control. ‘Terrain masking’ is a flying technique that has been used since the invention of radar in the 1940s. So, this wasn’t the first use of such technology, which the government would want all Pakistanis to believe. Was there a real point in making this briefing in-camera? Now we seem to be getting garbled versions of what was said anyway. Why not do something absolutely revolutionary and actually be upfront with the people of Pakistan and tell them what happened instead of trying to ‘manage’ the facts?
On another note, I’m hoping that the military will finally realise that they cannot hope to compete against technologically superior nations on purely military terms and that we are better off trying to use diplomacy and ‘soft power’ to secure Pakistan from external threats, while using economic and social development to secure it from internal threats. Surely any rational attempt at furthering Pakistan’s security and national interests must come to this conclusion? [The Express Tribune]
[Farooq Ahmad, Peshawar]
Every taxpayer in Pakistan has the right to know the details of the country’s security situation. The people of Pakistan must know the truth. [The News]
[Ahmer Ali, Gujranwala]
This is with reference to your report of May 21 titled “Abbottabad probe: Independent commission only to fulfil formalities?” An independent probe should be conducted not only to ascertain what exactly happened during the Abbottabad raid but also into the many past incidents of our history, which remain shrouded in secrecy. Some of these incidents may well have had inquiries into their occurrence but these were never made public. The time has come to stop deceiving the people and tell them the truth. [The Express Tribune]
Basic social services to all
It is for the people, especially for the think-tanks and NGOs, and no doubt for media also, that the big issue for the next election should be the provision of basic social services (water supply, sanitation, public transport, roads, paved streets, street lights, libraries, parks or playgrounds, and noise and pollution free environment) to all the citizens in Pakistan not only ensured in the constitution but binding on the next government also. If achieved, that will be a great step forward towards the unification of the ordinary and elite Pakistans. Is there any political party ready to take up this at the top of its agenda? [Editor]
[Javaria Ismail, Karachi]
Libraries are good places to learn. They are no doubt helpful but they will only aid people if libraries are constructed or at least the constructed ones are maintained. With less than 15 libraries in a city like Karachi, people especially students are suffering as they are unable to find libraries good enough to be visited. The ones maintained are far from the reach of lower middle class, and the rest are not functioning the way they should. It is a humble request to the authorities to take notice of this issue and build well-equipped libraries so that public can get assistance from them. [Pakistan Today]
[F. H. Mughal, Karachi]
According to the Unicef and WHO Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP, 2006), some 50 million people practised open defecation as of 2006 in Pakistan. Since the sanitation facilities have not improved over the years, the figure now is expected to be 100 million. Unicef estimates that some 20 to 40 per cent of hospital beds in Pakistan are occupied by patients suffering from water and sanitation-related diseases. About 60 per cent of the total number of child mortality cases in Pakistan are caused by water and sanitation-related diseases, says a USAID report.According to the Pakistan Strategic Environmental Assessment of the World Bank, 2006, about 2,000 mgd of wastewater is discharged to surface water bodies in Pakistan. The WB report estimates that the water and sanitation sector has the highest financial cost to Pakistan from environmental degradation at Rs112bn a year. This is based on health cost of only diarrhoea and typhoid and accounts for 1.81 per cent of the GDP.
While figures for Sindh are not available, considering the extremely low priority given to sanitation and the current dismal scenario of sanitation, a large percentage of population in Sindh is without proper sanitation. In Sindh, the bureaucracy is indifferent to sanitation. Nobody in the government wants to know how human waste is disposed of even when the surface water bodies in Sindh are getting polluted at an accelerated pace. Many have washed their hands of sanitation as the past development efforts have not resulted in improved sanitation in decades. The media has least consideration for improvement in sanitation. Even major English-language newspapers hardly print articles on sanitation. Discussions on sanitation are left halfway, due to lack of interest.
Women and young girls are often made vulnerable to violence because the lack of latrines forces them to relieve themselves in unsafe areas or in darkness. In some areas, young girls do not go to school because there are no lavatories for them — affecting not only their education, but their dignity and self-esteem as well. Recognising the important role of sanitation, the ADB has increased investments from $300 million for 2003-2007 to $710 million for 2008-2010. High population growth demands increased attention to sanitation. Absence of sanitation, in turn, breeds poverty. Poor sanitation and hygiene are causes for diarrhoeal and infectious diseases. Poor sanitation also limits the impact of drinking water quality improvements.
About 4,000 people, mostly children, die every day as a result of diarrhoeal diseases. This accounts for more than 40 per cent of the total number of deaths related to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation facilities and poor hygiene behaviour. Diarrhoea remains the second leading cause of death among children under five globally; killing more children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. Other water -, sanitation-and hygiene-related diseases such as trachoma, schistosomiasis and chronic infestations by intestinal parasites (nematode worms), affect over one billion people globally. There is a need for priority actions on the part of the Sindh government to boost sanitation agenda in the province, create momentum and enthusiasm so as to mainstream sanitation and make it everybody’s business. While the Target 7C of the Millennium Development Goals speaks of halving, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, the Sindh government should go for the initiative of sanitation for all,’ by providing 100 per cent sanitation in Sindh by 2015. [Dawn]
[Syed Butrab Ali Shah, Karachi]
Through the columns of your esteemed newspaper I wish to draw the attention of the Director, Water Board Karachi to the supply of bad smelling contaminated water and irregular supply of drinking water to Karachi East.The short and inadequate quantity of drinking water, smelling bad, has become a permanent danger to public health. Hence I dare to request the authorities on behalf of all the aggrieved Karachiites to look into this matter urgently and to do the needful to supply enough quantity of drinking water free from contamination. [The Frontier Post]
[Zartesht Baloch Bolani, Kech]
Reading is a process to be associated with the ancient and recent world since it combines humanism and realism, which are the signs of a civilised society. Moreover, besides having a good affect on the new generation, it also connects the people in several places like libraries, schools, colleges and areas where reading is commonplace. Today’s world is far from reading books and much more influenced by the internet. To reconnect our children to books, each area should have a public library so that our new generation is civilised and intellectual. [Daily Times]
[Muhammed Faiq Lodhi, Karachi]
Public libraries in Karachi are gradually disappearing and in many areas there is a complete absence of such institutions. The people of Karachi have been facing this problem for a very long time and the dilemma is that many people find this issue rather trivial. They do not feel the need of having public libraries as all information which one needs is readily available on the Internet. People, students in particular, feel deprived of this facility and wish to have more public libraries. If public libraries are built in every area, it would become very convenient for them to study. The city administration should take immediate action in this regard to help in making a brighter future for Pakistan. [Dawn]
[Asfia Khan, Karachi]
Knowledge is power. Today, in all the developed countries libraries are a major part of their culture. Libraries are the best source of getting information and knowledge as they provide a good place for study. Unfortunately, now a days our beloved country Pakistan is facing education emergency, the literacy rate is horribly low. One important issue in this regard is that we don’t have enough libraries to settle the quest of knowledge and develop interest of youth towards books, specially when most people live in joint families and have no quiet place at home. Even metropolitan cities are not equipped with enough number of libraries. [Pakistan Observer]
Edited and prepared by
Khalil Ahmad
[FreePakistan Newsletter, among other things, is a compilation of views and news taken from the national newspapers’ print and online editions. It is not possible to mention the source of every piece of news or view made use of herein; but as a matter of policy, where possible the source is mentioned with due thanks. However, no opinion expressed here should necessarily be taken as reflecting the view of Free Pakistan Newsletter.]
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