Voice of the People

116

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.

Political chess games

Just like “Nero Fiddled While Rome Was Burned”, all major political parties (PTI, PMLN, PPP) and powerful establishment are involved in a ruthless Game of Throne, whilst economy is sinking and Pakistan is on the verge of technical insolvency. Instead of the economy driving politics, it is the other way around. The over 220 million citizens of Pakistan, who are real legitimate stakeholders, for whom Quaid and AIML stalwarts waged political struggle for creation of a separate homeland, are the least of priority for those involved in Political Chess Game.

Given the ground realities, that as of January 2023 Pakistan’s total public debt is around Rs.62.46 trillion which comes to around US$274bn and is almost 79% of Gross Domestic Product. The debt repayment obligations due in first quarter of 2023 stands at $8bn and our FOREX Reserves are a mere $5.82 only. Our external debt has increased to $126.9bn. In 2018 it stood at $99.23bn which by June 2022 escalated to $130.2bn.

Except mere lip service about austerity, the non-development budget has constantly increased. Those who have been at the helm since 1958, have been taking loans to repay back external debts, whilst leading luxurious lifestyle at state expense, importing latest expensive bullet-proof vehicles like Mercedes Maybach, private jets and helicopters for their exclusive use. As compared to us, India’s top ruling elite observed austerity, leading by example, travelling in local Hindustan Ambassador car.

PM Vajpayee was the first to switch over to foreign car BMW for security reasons in 2000. India’s FOREX as on 6 January 2023 are $561.58bn while ours are $5.82bn. From a wheat and cotton exporting country, we have been reduced to a country importing them. Despite an ever-increasing population, our total agricultural producing area is shrinking, thanks to powerful real estate mafia and its nexus with paid establishment.

MALIK TARIQ ALI

Karachi

Warming

Due to the onset of winter, many tourists have made their way to hill stations particularly those which get a lot of snowfall but fail to take necessary precautions. I am writing to bring attention to the importance of being prepared for heavy snowfall and the potential dangers it can bring. One of the important things that tourists can do is to research the weather and snow conditions before they travel.

Another important step is to be prepared for emergencies by bringing appropriate clothing and gear. This includes warm layers, waterproof boots, hat and gloves. It is also important to bring enough food and water as well as first aid kit. It is important to be aware of the risks associated with hypothermia and frostbite and to take steps to prevent them. This includes staying dry and warm and avoiding prolonged exposure to cold temperatures.

Finally, it is important for tourists to respect the local environment and to follow any rules and regulations that are in place. It is also important for communities to be prepared for heavy snowfall. This includes ensuring that roads are properly plowed and salted, and that there are enough resources available to assist those in need.

In conclusion, while snowy areas can be beautiful and fun to visit, it is important to be aware of the hazards they can present and to take necessary precautions. By following these guidelines, tourists can enjoy their trip safely and responsibly.

FIZZA GULFRAZ

Murree

GB protests on land

 

In early 18th century, Punjab and Jammu were under the suzerainty of Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh, wherein, he established a Sikh empire called ‘Khalisa Sarkar’ (Pure Sikh Government) —recall the Khalistan, a separatist movement of Sikhs in India which also is derived from ‘Khalisa Sarkar’.

In 1846, after Anglo-Sikh war, Maharaja Ghulab Singh became a new ruler, but under the terms of the ‘Treaty of Amritsar’ post war, his suzerainty extended to Kashmir, Ladakh and some parts of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB)—not entire region of GB, notably. He established a Dogra Raj wherein various land-settlement rules were introduced and implemented that were rather different in nature from Ranjit Singh-era-Khalisa Sarkar.

Dogra Raja granted land ownership of much cultivable land to locals to collect agricultural tax called ‘ Maliya’. Along with this, he also introduced a State Subject Rule (SSR), according to which any non-local outsider can neither buy land nor can become legal resident across his suzerainty. During 1947’s separation of the sub-continent, Dogra State was an independent, sovereign and flourished state.

But my valorous ancestors of GB fought a bloody one year war with Dogra forces with the help of batons and sticks and forced them to surrender. GB got independence on 01 November 1947 after rendering many sacrifices and later on made an unconditional accession to Pakistan— a newly-born Islamic country with many hopes and optimism.

ZAHID ALI ZOHRI

GB

Good-bye to parliamentary system

My lifetime experience in student as well as in national politics in PNA, MRD & PDA alliances led me to support the presidential form under the proportional representative system of election. This I had suggested in early days of MRD, same was already in Jamat-e-Islami and Tehrik-e-Istaqlal party. Parliamentary democracy has become a rogue, Sovereign default, Chair-takers for Punjab, PTI resignations a card abused for political engineering by PTI & PDM, dissolution of KP Assembly are not a issue for teeming millions unable to get two square meals for survival due to continued Loot & Plunder by all and sundry.

Half-hearted Karachi local bodies’ election results show in spite of manoeuvring un-clear mandate like we mostly see hung parliament. Out of 235 UC’s PPP begged 93, J.I 86 and PTI 40 so why not go for a re-run of elections between the two parties securing higher number of votes and install a fully empowered City Father who would not succumb to political gimmicks and place all city utility services under his domain and ensure un-interrupted water & sewage, gas, electricity, transport and related Civic facilities.

This is the imperative need of time as Karachi is the hub of industrial and commercial activities once Karachi City has an autonomous local government. Unity, Faith & Discipline will remain a farfetched dream and history will not forgive for collective compromises in this ongoing musical chair.

ALI ASHRAF KHAN

Karachi