Voice of the People

87

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.

Spirit of Christmas

A poor boy of Class IV of a rural school of West Bengal stood up innocently and asked the teacher about the meaning of birthday when the latter was referring to the birth of Jesus while discussing the upcoming festival of Christmas (3 winters ago)! The teacher got stunned by the question and got more stunned by learning that nobody in class is aware of significance of birthdays!

While this piece of news is extremely heart-shattering and touching; the attitude of the headmaster and teachers of that rural school thereafter have transmitted that rare piece of joy in this hatred-spewing society where rights demands aspirations emotions and sentiments of the poor simply do not matter!

Far from remaining cold to the ignorance of the poor kids about their birthdays (all children of poorest of poor folks), the teachers and headmaster have collaborated to celebrate the birthday of each and every child on a monthly basis according to the “date of birth” as entered in the school register. The teachers not only bear all cost in celebrating it complete with previously unseen Birthday cakes, even the impoverished parents of the respective children are also invited to join so that they also do not get left in this rare occasion of joy!

The whole matter started with the issue of the birthday of Jesus Christ. Now with such an unique all-embracing celebration with beneficiaries being the marginalized deprived children, it is sure that none other than Jesus Christ is now blessing the school authorities from high above for making the day of the innocent children! Also we have got again enlightened of the Christmas lesson that festivals can earn its real meaning and significance only when all members of the society irrespective of class are included in it.

KAJAL CHATTERJEE

Kolkata, India

Rising street crimes

Street crimes are on the rise in big cities like Karachi and Lahore. There is a growing sense of insecurity among the residents of the city because of such incidents which have been occurring for a long time. According to a study, more than two-thirds of the metropolis population have experienced such incidents in one way or another and one-fourth have been directly affected. This recent spate of incidents and these statistics signal the need for effective control by law enforcing agencies. While the number of incidents are not being reported in media, preventive measures can include the support of information technology by using CCTV cameras, civil and community policing, and using data to narrow down crime hot spots. Hot-spot policing is a great evidence-based tactic that involves narrowing down a subset of places to the street level and strategically deploying police in these specific areas. Likewise, community policing involves tackling the issue from the grassroots and using personal interactions to spread awareness about punishment.

Rehabilitation centres should be modernized with a policy analysis of why individuals are committing crimes in the first place. Specific behavioural intervention program can then target the demographic most susceptible to committing the crime and provide psychological interventions for deterrence. Whatever long-term strategy is chosen for deterrence, the objective should focus on the wider act itself, rather than on specific spikes in cases and incidents. Another cause of street and theft is increasing number of addicted persons particularly youths and teenagers as well. Police seem helpless in nabbing these addicted persons.

QAZI JAMSHED SIDDIQUI

Lahore

Settlement

in courts

The confusion in Punjab does not just affect the province, but the whole country. With Imran Khan threatening to dissolve the Punjab and KP Assemblies, the politicians seem to have ignored the plight of the country’s economy, and to have engaged in their favourite pastime of move and counter-move.

Punjab seems to be key, for ever since it saw its Chief Minister resigning at the time of the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan in March, the province has lurched from crisis to crisis, with the PML(N) gaining the Chief Ministry only after high drama and a court battle, and the PTI gaining it back in the shape of the PML(Q)’s Ch Pervez Elahi. He was widely seen as the potential spoiler for Imran, but the PML(N) has gone after him with a no-confidence motion as well as a request by the Governor for a vote of confidence.

Punjab Speaker Sibtain Khan rejected the Governor’s request on the ground that the Punjab Assembly is in session, and a session to consider the motion can only be considered if the House is prorogued. That may prove to be the first matter which the other side will go to court to have adjudicated, but it is unlikely to be the last in the present no-holds-barred, devil-take-the-hindmost atmosphere.

The no-confidence motion is also likely to see legal tangles. This will not be the first time political matters have gone to court; the last example being Ch Parvez’s own election, where the courts deemed him elected by ruling votes cast in his favour after the presiding officer had ruled them out. The only predictable effect of this going to court is to ensure that the matter is delayed, and the inevitable result will be that the economic crisis will grow worse. The PML(N) does not want fresh elections, because its central government is seeing its political capital disappear as the economy refuses to turn around.

Initially, the central government took credit for taking tough decisions, but now it merely seems feckless. The PTI wants fresh elections at once because PTI chief Imran Khan feels that there is a wave in his favour, which may not last forever. However, the only real way out of the crisis is not for the matter to be settled in the courts, but for there to be a dialogue between the two sides, and national elections to be agreed on, though not at a date set by Imran Khan. Politicians must settle the matter among themselves and not drag their disputes in courts.

MUNAWAR SIDDIQUI

Lahore