Voice of the People

78

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.

Toshakhana gift embarrassment

This shameful episode, exposing insatiable greed of our elected and paid elite to retain gifts received by them in their varying capacities of holding public offices of importance in Pakistan has become very embarrassing for citizens, if not for the recipients. None of them would have received these gifts, while in service or post retirement, if they did not hold these public offices, representing people of Pakistan, from foreign countries they visit officially.

Yet, starting from Ayub Khan onwards, who chose to retain Ghandhara Motors, gifted by the US government, this greed seems to inflict almost everyone, with very few exceptions. It is time that laws are legislated that nobody should be allowed, irrespective of the public office he/she holds, paid or elected, to exercise option of retaining them, after payment of a nominal fraction of a reassessed value, which is far below market value. There is absolutely no justification that these new expensive gifts are assessed at a depreciated value.

At the most, a VVIP in office, maybe allowed to retain a maximum of three items, during his whole tenure, with a market value below Rs30,000 just as a token of remembrance. It is state of Pakistan which is being gifted and which in turn has to give such gifts to visiting heads of state and public office holders.

Those holding public offices are honoured and compensated by the national exchequer for services rendered. Unfortunately, this abuse of power, whether in the form of allotment of state land, tax exemptions etc. has been stretched too far and this gross irregularity has been regularized by those who are beneficiaries. It is not just unethical but violation of the principle of Conflicts of Interest, which our religion has stressed upon to adhere strictly.

MALIK TARIQ ALI

Lahore

A very long march

The long march keeps getting longer. One wonders why a march from Lahore to Islamabad would take nearly two weeks to reach Islamabad, a mere four hours away. There has been the inevitable speculation about backdoor negotiations between the PTI and power stakeholders, including the government. Others are questioning whether this is because of the march not seeing the numbers that may have been expected by the PTI.

The PTI’s march had started on a rather aggressive note but since then it has been a case of one step forward, two steps back. And it is still unclear what Imran intends to do once they are in Islamabad. Although the PTI had promised a peaceful protest, security and violence has become a far greater concern, particularly after a tweet by Imran Khan on Monday, which has rightly been called inappropriate at best and dangerous at worst. He had tweeted that he had been “witnessing a revolution taking over the country.

Only question is will it be a soft one through the ballot box or a destructive one through bloodshed?” The tweet has led to a polarized reaction but combined with Ali Amin Gandapur’s audio leak that refers to licensed ammunition being readied at the border of Islamabad, it sounds far more ominous. These are rather alarming words, especially in a country that is no stranger to violence and one would not expect the former prime minister of a country to indulge in such statements, seeing as how they could easily be taken as dog whistles for violence.

Pakistan is already witnessing political turmoil and economic instability. Sane leadership of PTI need to realize that the country desperately needs to heal from the trauma of the recent floods, the divisive politics, the polarization, a sagging economy, and dangerous climate change consequences. They need to sort things out, without a march on the right floor,the Parliament.

QAZI JAMSHED SIDDIQUI

Lahore

Extortion by the Police

It has become a police culture that bribery and extortion is mandatory and inevitable to run their livelihood. They neither care about the honor of their institution nor feel any shame for taking bribes and extortion.

In this context, the case is that a person stands up to build a house with his savings after fulfilling all the legal requirements for purchasing a plot, then the local police immediately arrive at the construction site to collect extortion. It has been widely observed that the entire Karachi city is a victim of this atrocity committed by the Police for a long time.

This illegal and hardline action by the police has not only affected the peaceful life of the citizens of Karachi but also left a big misconception about the police character in the public.

In this perspective, I earnestly hope and request the provincial authorities to save us from the miseries and annoying situation being created unnecessary by the police.

SYED SADAQAT HUSSAIN

Karachi

A few challenges ahead

It is the first time in the annals of the United Kingdom’s history that a non-white person is elected for holding the reins of the state. Surprisingly, Rishi Sunak has notched the spot of the youngest premier of the UK.

Certainly, it is the exact manifestation of merit primacy, as Mr Sunak is considered for this designation without taking ethnicity into account. However, Mr Sunak’s elevation is being praised.

Nonetheless, a cluster of challenges are ahead for the premier, where the most outlined one is racial discrimination. Reportedly, public offices of the UK have unleashed the bitter truth of ethnic distinction that minorities have been tolerating for decades.

To summarise, what would be the preferences of the Prime Minister in regard to his tattered party to put speculations to rest. Moreover, would the premier become successful in stepping down the socio-political tensions?

FARAZ HASSAN

Chiniot

 

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