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The rising Covid-19 cases across the world, a majority of them reported in the last week of December alone, have once again raised alarm bells. Though the figures are less than the 2020 and 2021 peaks, the situation is not rosy either. New Omicron variants are emerging across the world. The situation in Pakistan is still fairly under control; the country’s current positive rate is below one per cent.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the sub-variant reported in some areas is XBB, an old variant of Omicron, and not the BF.7 variant which is spreading in China. But the presence of new sub-variants in Pakistan’s two neighbouring countries, India and China, remains a cause of concern for health authorities. The new variant is more infectious and transmissible, with a shorter incubation period resulting in upper-respiratory infection and congestion. There is a need for a renewed campaign for vaccination across the country as inoculation remains the best defence against any future virus wave.
Mask-wearing should be reintroduced, and people should be encouraged to get booster shots. There must also be strict vigilance on those who are coming into the country from abroad, with mandatory testing. Making sure we keep mass infection away is necessary, especially since the country has till now managed to keep itself relatively safe from this devastating pandemic. We must continue our prevention and vigilance strategies.
Indian cold start doctrine
The Indian “cold start” doctrine refers to an immediate offensive operation against Pakistan that could begin in any condition within 48 hours of receiving orders. It allows Indian military to thunderbolt their Pakistani counterparts without resorting to nuclear escalation.
Furthermore, Indian troops would enter Pakistani territory within hours through the Rajasthan and Punjab sectors; the major goal is to disengage the northern and southern sectors of Pakistan’s military command.
India launched Operation Vijayee Bhava, a military exercise, in 2011. 50,000 soldiers were part of that exercise, which took place alongside Pakistan’s border. The main concern of this operation was to reduce the mobilization time of the Indian forces toward Pakistan.
Earlier, the military standoff between India and Pakistan, known as “Operation Parakram,” took 27 days to advance with full military support. Through this examination, the Indian Army then confirmed that the mobilization time is now reduced to just 48 hours.
However, Indian authorities rejected any idea about the “cold start” doctrine and said there’s nothing like such a doctrine. Later In 2011, the doctrine was criticized in a leaked cable from the American Ambassador to India, Timothy J. Roemer.
In response, Pakistan showed serious concern over the doctrine, and that time Pakistani military tested its Hatf XI Nasr tactical ballistic missile, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead with a desired range of just 60 km.
According to the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, the development of the Nasr demonstrates that Pakistan is concerned about India implementing Cold Start, and the missile was designed to prevent that from happening.
Pakistani leaders have visualized the Nasr as a tactical nuclear weapon to counter any adversary, particularly Indian conventional advancement. If an Indian advance occurred in Pakistani territory, the Nasr missile, which is a low-yield missile, could be used in Pakistan’s own space to stop the adversary’s further advance.
HAFIZ MOHSIN NADEEM
Jallikattu is a bull taming sport practiced for years in the State of Tamil Nadu. The sport is also known as Eruthazhuvuthal or Manju virattu in Tamil. It is also conducted in several parts of other states in different names. The Jallikattu is actually practiced as a Tamil tradition during the celebration of Pongal. In Jallikattu, the bulls are not harmed or killed by any means. But instead, they are well-fed with a nutritious diet and carefully tamed for the event.
Usually, the event marks the taming of bulls. The tamed weak bulls are used for agricultural purposes, while the untamable strong bulls are used for breeding. This is how this Jallikattu tradition in Indian villages preserved the ecosystem. In my opinion, this sport should not be banned, as it has been going on since ancient times in the State of Tamil Nadu in India.
No doubt, corruption is at its peak in the entire country but its level particularly in Sindh is very high. I would like to draw the true story about the Ghost Schools running very successfully for a long time.
At least there are eleven thousand ghost schools in the Province of Sindh established on the papers, but the ground reality is that these schools do not exist. The salary of teachers, uniform of students and maintenance charges are regularly drawn from the treasury department of Sindh.
On the other hand, the dilemma and misery are that seven million children cannot go to school. It is an open secret that corruption in government departments has increased to such an extent that you cannot even do your legitimate work without greasing the palm of officials. It looks ironic that it is going and happening under the nose of NAB and courts. These two supreme organizations are unable to do anything or take any action against these government institutions that are immersed in corruption from head to toe.
Deep-down thinking says that vulnerable, volatile, unstable, weak systems, where justice is not available for the poor, corruption would flourish with the passage of time. To protect social values and the entire social structure, corruption would have to be eradicated from every walk of life making a comprehensive and concrete strategy.
SYED SADAQAT HUSSAIN