Voice of the People

14

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.

New COAS appointment

Quite unfortunately and regrettably, a controversy is being created unnecessarily regarding appointment of the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS). Incumbent COAS is retiring in November 2022 and has already on record to have stated that he does not want another extension.

It is being discussed by some political circles as to who is to appoint the new COAS . It is also being said by some political figures that new COAS should be selected purely on merit and possibly it should be delayed till after the general election letting the incumbent COAS continue working till that time. Articles 243 to 245 of the Constitution pertain to the Defence Forces of Pakistan i.e. Army, Air Force and Navy.

Article 243 (4) inter alia says, “The President shall, on advice of the Prime Minister, appoint (a) the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, (b) the Chief of the Army Staff, (c) the Chief of the Naval Staff and (d) the Chief of the Air Staff, and shall also determine their salaries and allowances”. The Constitution is silent, somehow, about whether the President can also turn down the advice of the Prime Minister in this regard. Still it is requested that all political parties and their leaders should refrain from dilating upon this subject, in any manner and let things proceed as a routine matter.

There is also no mention in the Constitution as to whom the Prime Minister can consult within the country and abroad prior to sending the advice to the President regarding the appointment of the new COAS. Any controversial and objectionable process, consultation or interference in this regard should be avoided to the maximum extent possible in the larger national interest which is and should be regarded as over and above all political and other considerations

M Z RIFAT

Lahore

Vaccination

Covid-19 is an epidemic now and that means that while its complete elimination is highly unlikely, we can develop enough immunity to reduce the severity of the disease. The paediatric vaccination drive is being supported by USAID which has helped approve the first phase of administering 64 million Pfizer doses from the comfort of schools that are serving as the main site for vaccination.

The need to take precautionary measures to prevent transmission have been stressed upon by the administration, and awareness campaigns have been encouraged.

Carrying this drive out through schools will be effective in dispelling certain suspicious notions about the vaccine and will ingrain a sense of duty upon the parents as well. Children must be protected, especially considering that some have tested positive for a virus like Covid-19 that has robbed thousands of their lives.

The only way to beat Covid-19 is through rapid and frequent vaccinations and boosters until a point where the population develops herd immunity. This will ensure that despite transmission, Covid-19 remains to be relatively harmless. For now, only Sindh has launched a drive for children but soon enough, all provincial governments must also follow suit with the aim of achieving long-term immunity. At the same time, the federal government must work towards making awareness campaigns and vaccination drives a part of regular administrative schedules. Furthermore, it should also produce the vaccine locally so that our costs remain low and that we do not have to rely upon external help.

MUNAWAR SIDDIQUI

Lahore

Equal rights for all genders

Transgender people, and transgender women, in particular, face harassment, mistreatment, and exclusion from society, from the public health care system, education system, employment, and other institutions of government. They face different forms of abuse, ranging from exclusion from society to brutal murder.

The transgender community is one of the most marginalized communities in Pakistan. They are often shunned by their families and communities at large and live on the fringes of society. They face immense discrimination and violence, both physical and mental.

We found, that in Pakistan transgender are ignored in every walk of life including, education, government jobs, health care, and even security for their life. In 2013, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has given rights to transgender which still are not implemented in the community. Not only society, but their families are not accepting them as their family members.

As long as the social, economic, and political discrimination against transgender persons persists, the State cannot claim meritocracy for them. There is a need to bring the transgender community at part with the rest of the population through affirmative action by the State, as while the Transgender Persons Act prohibits discrimination, there is little to no mention of any positive measures that the State can adopt, such as quotas for transgender persons. Transgender persons should also have separate representations in the legislative bodies as they are now considered to be the separate third gender. This is the only way their concerns can be properly heard.

BISMA RAFAQAT

Lahore

 

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