Voice of the People

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Articles and letters may be edited for the purposes of clarity and space. They are published in good faith with a view to enlightening all the stakeholders. However, the contents of these writings may not necessarily match the views of the newspaper.

75th Independence anniversary

As we celebrate 75th independence anniversary, it is time to ponder, on collective failures of those who held power since 1954, and what were factors which landed this country on the edge of financial collapse, facing threats of extremism and terrorism. Quaid stressed upon importance of a Constitution and rule of law, on 11 August 1947 to achieve a modern democratic welfare state, which motivated people to join democratic struggle that AIML waged.

We must remember that political awakening amongst Muslims started in 1906 from Dacca and it was later that others joined. Allama Iqbal laid down his vision and MAJ’s leadership led us to achieve Pakistan in 1947.

The basic principle of democracy is one man one vote and the number of seats in NA must be based on population. It is an unfortunate reality that after Quaid’s death, the Constitution was delayed till 1954, when it was finalized proposing 300 seats in NA with 165 for 56% majority East Pakistan and 135 seats for other federating units in West Pakistan and a Senate, where all federating units would have equal number of seats, as a balancing act.

This was not acceptable to the biased West Pakistan dominated civil and uniformed bureaucracy who were not willing to submit to the right of majority and the Constituent Assembly was arbitrarily dismissed. What followed was a travesty of errors. In hindsight, if we had allowed an East Pakistan citizen or political party to be at helm, Pakistan might have enjoyed economic development which BD enjoys today.

However, the likes of Ghulam Muhamad, Maj Gen Iskandar Mirza and Ayub Khan, who, while in uniform, was simultaneously CnC and Defence Minister were not willing to submit to the will of the people and derailed Jinnah’s vision of a modern democratic welfare state.

Today we are neither a democratic welfare state, nor a country secure from within, haunted by terrorism, extremism, ethnic and sectarian divide. What we need to do is to adopt Jinnah’s vision in letter and in spirit.

MALIK TARIQ ALI

Lahore

*****

Pakistan is celebrating its 75th anniversary today while facing political instability and economic crisis. Due to the uncontrollable internal and external deficit, the value of Pakistan’s currency is facing severe pressure. However, due to IMF’s strict conditions and limited resources to repay the external debt, the government is unable to bear the burden of spending to provide relief to people and stabilize development process.

The government is facing a budget deficit despite ending public subsidies for the IMF program and increasing taxes. The implementation of fixed tax on the retail sector has also been delayed due to protests by traders.

In such circumstances, the government has decided to impose more taxes on other sectors including cigarettes to cover the tax gap of 30 billion rupees. These high rates of tax are also the main reason for the promotion of illegal trade in country. Due to inflation and reduced purchasing power, consumers are shifting towards cheaper alternatives which are mostly fake and illegal products.

In order to build the economy of the country on a sustainable basis, it is necessary that the tax authorities take action to deal with the illegal trade with firm determination on this Diamond Jubilee of the country.

USAMA GHULAM RASOOL

Karachi

Oppressed Independence

75 years ago our great leaders struggled hard to bless us with a nation where we can practice being Muslims freely and progress in every aspect of our life. So many sacrifices, so many hardships and here we are today with a question in mind, are we really an independent nation? Keeping in mind the current scenario as well as a trip down the memory lane makes one realize that independence is oppressed.

On the grounds of politics, being a democratic nation, fair and accurate elections have been just a part of utopia, lack of equal representation and the public opinion is buried down in graves. The leaders do not see beyond their pocket-filling ideas nor devise any strategy to fight to be dependent on international loans and focus on stabilizing the economy.

The cases which depend on the court to be given justice are forgotten and turned into ashes. We live in a nation where success does not depend on merit but rather on bribery. Quality of education blooms in schools to which a poor or middle-class man can never send his child. And where media is not free or independent to play its role as the watchdog and has its strings entwined in the fingers of top authorities.

Where a journalist is kidnapped or murdered for independently reporting true facts. Moreover, Pakistan is a nation where a woman can not even walk to her house independently for fear of being harassed or assaulted out of gender discrimination and femicide. Our great Quaid stated that the nation can progress if men and women worked together, but unfortunately, we have become a nation in which the society silences the women’s voice.

Different religious minorities do not practise their religion freely for fear of being attacked by extremists. Crimes, and theft, arising from higher inflation rates are slowly polluting society, and so many more socio-political and economical problems are at their peak, which makes one wonder what are we celebrating Independence Day for.

KINANAH SHAHBAZ

Islamabad

 

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