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Some things never change in this country. Pakistan has faced double jeopardy, first paying subsidy to export estimated surplus sugar production, only to import it later at higher international market prices. Even when Pakistan faces its worst economic crisis, with possibility of default and an escalating debt crisis, haunting this country, once again sugar will be exported and the ECC has approved it.
Special interest groups and vested interests of a few, more powerful than the state, seem to prevail, as they have for decades in this country. Other than JKT group, who refused to blackmail, the sugar cartel refused to buy sugar cane from farmers, unless permission is given for exporting sugar, which they claimed to be in surplus. The sugar mills owned by foundations which enjoy tax exemption, should not have joined this cartel, which refused to buy sugarcane from farmers.
We have been told by federal government that recent floods had devastated sugar crop by impacting the sugarcane producing areas and there would be at least 25% drop this year. During the over three-year PTI rule, and even during the tenure of their predecessors, those in government had approved export-based on arguments of surplus production by the PSMA powerful cartel. All PDM parties, including PPP, PMLN and JUIF etc., had launched a campaign against PTI.
This was when floods had not ravaged crops. At a time when Pakistan faces prospect of default and food shortage, following devastation by recent floods, it was expected that National Interest would prevail over greed of a few. But alas! This is what happens when individuals with split loyalties are allowed to hold elected and paid public offices, where fate and destiny of over 225 million Pakistanis is decided.
MALIK TARIQ ALI
Pak-US ties and Dr A’afia
Through your esteemed columns, I wish to address US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome to make the historic event of 75 years Pakistan-American friendly relations memorable by releasing Dr A’afia Siddiqui currently imprisoned in US jail. I recall that the existence of viable civil society is common between Pakistan and the United States whereas massive people-to-people contact is another advantage on our credit.
The release of Dr A’afia Siddiqui will be considered as a token of friendship and will further add the reputation and dignity of the US. I understand that the US will resolve the remains of two-decade long presence in Afghanistan with the spirit of tolerance and forgiveness. The international community and peace-loving masses of the world expect a general amnesty for the detainees and convicts including Dr A’afia Siddiqui. She deserved to be freed on humanitarian and compassionate cause. My appeal should be considered as the expression of public sentiments of millions and your benevolent response will raise high the soft image of the United States.
Dr A’afia Siddiqui is sick and her children are continuously deprived of their mother’s presence, love and affection due to her detention. As such, the children could not achieve fundamental human rights without any fault of theirs. I hope that Ambassador Donald Blome will recommend the contents of this appeal to President Joe Biden, Foreign and Justice Ministers as well as the Heads of U.S Senate and House of Representatives or any other relevant forum.
True, we all know that the global population has been reported to have reached the so-called 8 billion mark. Factually speaking, the current population is a kind of achievement on the part of humanity braving all the odds and difficulties out there. But even then, most media houses including CNN have been carrying comments on the robust population growth in a negative manner.
However, the undisputed fact is that the global population has always been behind robust economic growth and all kinds of activities across the board – one way or another. Well, can you imagine “a world” without humanity? Yes, it would have been literally plain and flat across the board – sans human activities. At the same time, growing concerns over issues like climate change, scarcity of food crops and so on should be taken seriously.
Even though there have been plenty of discussions and comments on climate change issues through the world media and intergovernmental forums, there have been no fruitful results achieved on the ground. In this context, human attitude to Mother Earth has to change or transform in a positive way. For instance, humans must be more sensitive to the environment and green belt areas around them. Technology apart, the human focus should be mainly and primarily on encouraging more green activities like supporting agriculture/farming rigorously.
Added to this, most people in my native areas like Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu have been in strong support of agriculture – all involved in cultivating various food crops including paddy, banana and all other vegetables. On the whole, there should be a positive shift in human activities with respect to Mother Earth and its abundant natural resources.
P SENTHIL S DURAI