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Voice of people

Articles and letters may be edited for purposes of clarity, space and should carry the writer’s address, CNIC and phone numbers. Postal address: Daily Pakistan Observer, Ali Akbar House Markaz G-8, Islamabad, Pakistan. Email: editorial@pakobserver.net

Shabar Zaidi’s appointment

The corruption, nepotism and abuse of power, which is rampant in Pakistan, could not have become so enormous if bureaucracy was not party to these crimes. PM Imran Khan’s decision to appoint Shaabar Zaidi is indeed wise and courageous. You cannot expect bureaucrats within FBR and federal and provincial secretariats, most of whom live beyond their means, to bring into tax net others who lead an extravagance lifestyle. These bureaucrats who earn in Pakistan own expensive assets located in the UAE, Europe, America, Canada etc. How did they transfer money required to buy these assets or were they purchased from kickbacks deposited abroad?
What can be a bigger indictment of FBR bureaucracy than the fact that documented economy has actually contracted instead of expanding. It is an established fact that as long as real estate sector offers lucrative profits with immense tax reliefs, there will be no investment in manufacturing industries which generate employment and boost our exports. The 1992 Financial Bill which allows Pakistani nationals to buy foreign exchange from open market and deposit it in their foreign bank accounts can be transferred legally to their foreign bank accounts, no questions asked.
Similarly foreign remittances will not be questioned, even if recipients have never worked abroad. It is this channel which has been abused and used by not just corrupt politicians and traders but also the elite civil and uniformed bureaucracy. These same channels were used for terror financing yet no government wanted to plug these loopholes. What stops FBR to probe known owners of properties abroad and in Pakistan which cannot be justified by their tax returns?

Kudos for Fawad

Ever since I have grown up, there has hardly been an occasion when moon sighting for Ramadan and two Eids has not become a controversy. The Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry deserves praise for having courage to stand up and challenge the monopoly by so-called religious clerics. Unlike Christianity or Judaism there is no role for professional clerics as an institution in Islam.
Over the years we have witnessed, opposition by clerics of three monotheist religions to adapting and accepting developments in science and technology; be it invention of printing press, the microphone, radio or even acceptance of the fact that earth is round, or that man has finally landed on moon. Similar has been the attitude of polytheistic religions like Hinduism where even today caste system exists and the accident of birth to Dalit parents condemns their children to lifelong abuse and racial discrimination.
Science is not based on fantasy but merely discovery of what Almighty has created and adapting that knowledge for betterment of human beings and the environment in which life is sustained. The moon orbits in a defined manner and through knowledge of science and astronomy we can determine the exact time when moon will be sighted at different locations on the earth. Unfortunately the conflicts between Ruet-e-Hillal and others like Popalzai have denied the Muslims of Pakistan to even celebrate Eid or observe Ramadan on a single accepted date. It is failure of the State to exercise its writ and nexus of a few within Establishment and clergy that has been cause for disunity and sectarian divides in Pakistan, while the rest of Muslim world observe these religious days on days declared by the state.

Know your limits please

Some days back, PML(N) President, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly and Chairman Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, who for last some couple of weeks is holidaying in London on health grounds, threw a bombshell on his own party leaders and others as well by announcing stepping down from all these offices and also nominating his successors as well. Without going into details here, this is to point out that he could step down as PML(N) President and name anyone as his successor. He could also get anyone named as the Opposition Leader in the NA in his place provided the other opposition parties also endorsed that.
But he cannot nominate anyone as his successor as the PAC Chairman because Speaker of the National Assembly, the ruling party PTI and many others have to be consulted and involved in the naming of the new PAC Chairman if Mian Shehbaz Sharif is stepping down at all. This is not his discretion as such as he is no longer Chief Minister which he had ruled for 10 years in accordance with his sweet will and desire.
There are limits which go with every office and the former Punjab Chief Minister should know this soonest the better it will be for him and his party. The party leadership itself is in doubt about his returning home from London where he had gone with the permission of the Accountability Court for treatment of his ailment, which somehow could not be treated in the country, and to see his new-born grand-daughter there. The sooner he realizes the limits which go with every office the better it will be. Does he want to take everyone by surprise by keeping them unclear about his future plans?

and exams

Ramazan is very important month for all the Muslims all over the world. During the holy month, Muslims wake up early to eat a pre-dawn meal called Suhoor and they break their fast with a meal referred to as Iftar. Muslims also believe the Quran was revealed in Ramazan.
As Ramazan has started, all the Muslims are having fasts nowadays. Ramazan brings new challenges for students when it coincides with exam seasons. You might be wondering why we don’t just stop fasting during exams. The thing is, observing Ramazan is a really important part of being a Muslim, but we still have to study, work and do all the things we normally do, just with a few exceptions.
Think all the students deserve to be relaxed during Ramazan and exams. Pakistan is an Islamic country and in Ramazan, universities, colleges and schools should have vacations. So that the students and teachers and other supporting members can have fast and offer their prayers properly! Students are not able of perform their 100% in exams while having fast.

Justin Trudeau thank you

The video message of Canadian Prime Minister welcoming Ramadan and congratulating Muslims all over the world for fasting during the month, he spoke against Islamophobia and categorically rejected it. It is nice to see that voice has been raised against Muslim bigotry and prejudice. US and Europe should follow the suit and deescalate the tension Muslims are facing there.
This holy month is another example of how tolerant Muslims are in their life and how do they exercise self-restraint and sacrifice themselves for the happiness and well being of their fellows. There is no place for aggression and unnecessary retaliation in Islam. Justin Trudeau message is an eye-opener for biased leaders of our neighbourhood who are always out against Muslims. Thank you Trudeau for being fair in looking things transparently and speaking the truth,

Avoid creating controversies

It is a bitter fact that on coming into power Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government had inherited number of challenges and issues on internal and external fronts which he was trying to address determinedly and committedly to set things right at the earliest and providing relief to the people at large in an all possible manner.
It is also a bitter fact that some of his cabinet members like current Minister for Science and Technology and former Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawwad Hussain Chaudhry have been creating controversies and problems than helping the Prime Minister in tackling the challenges and issues squarely and boldly.
The latest controversy in which Chaudhry Sahib has got himself involved and causing more problems for the PM is his taking objection to spending out of public exchequer huge amount of Rs 40 lakhs every month on the meetings of the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee for sighting of the new Moon at Karachi, Lahore or elsewhere. He has suggested developing “Qamri Calendar” for 10 years to dispense with the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee and saving the expenses so occurring. This is not all, he also, quite unnecessarily, attacked Ulema by saying that the country has to be run by the youth and not by the Ulema who had opposed creation of Pakistan. What role Ulema and Mushaikh had played in the Pakistan Movement is well-known to people by and large.
In this way, he had trespassed the domain of the Federal Religious Affairs Minister and also created unpleasant controversy at a wrong time. It would have been better if he had asked his Ministry officials to develop Qamri Calendar and then submitted the same for consideration and approval of the PM and the Federal Cabinet.