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.
Constitution in school curricula
The Constitution of Pakistan, a mistreated document that has been used and abused by many dictators and democrats alike, is the basic law that holds together a fragile system of governance, rights and politics. Despite the attacks the Constitution has suffered over the years, we thankfully also have plenty of cases where the Constitution won against all odds. It is heartening to know that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government has decided to include the country’s Constitution in school curricula.
The fact that for many in the country the Constitution is a somewhat mysterious document leaves room for authoritarian leaders to trample over people’s rights without any accountability. Not only does the Constitution provide a list of the rights the country’s citizens are owed by the State, fundamental human rights, it also lays down the process by which the country is to be run, who contests elections, how Parliament is formed, what happens if elections are needed. Setting up a curriculum which would allow schoolchildren to become familiar with the Constitution is essentially a good idea.
We need our children to understand the importance of the law, especially the highest law of the land. This is important especially in a country where the Constitution has been called a piece of paper by an ex-Army Dictator to be thrown away. Much significance however lies in how education on the Constitution is imparted and how able teachers are to help children and the young generation. Indeed, during the teaching process there should be a discussion. The right to critical thinking is something that needs to be encouraged at schools and colleges. constitutional experts of the standing of top lawyers and constitutional experts can add to this by delivering lectures to schoolchildren.
QAZI JAMSHED SIDDIQUI
Pakistan’s trade with India has seen many fluctuations since its inception. However, last time Pakistan restricted trade with India after New Delhi revoked the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019.
Pakistan’s trade policies with India are outdated ones. Because, instead of direct trade we purchase the same India-made products through third countries like Dubai and Singapore which costs us very expensive.
Last year’s floods triggered by monsoon’s torrential rains wreaked havoc with our country which resulted in soaring the prices of essential commodities and shortage. In this critical situation, international aid agencies requested the government to allow them to bring faster aid supplies to the affected people through the Indian border. But the government did not allow them to do this. Such policies which could not benefit us in such catastrophes are meant to be useless.
Hostilities on Kashmir and other factors are the main reasons for restricting trade. Through direct trade it can promote peace and act as a confidence building measure, which could lead to a better, less hostile environment and can resume bilateral dialogue on decades-old Kashmir dispute. It can also promote domestic prosperity, counter domestic problems, promote harmony and bring internal stability.
Pakistan faces huge economic problems, especially dependence on international financial institutions. Trade with India can save our foreign exchanges. Like, in 2004, it was estimated that Pakistan could save $110 million a year if it directly bought tea from India rather than Kenya or other sources. Through trade our geographical proximity can promote cultural affinity between the peoples of the two countries because we share so much the same.
Trade will lead to improved welfare, cheaper commodities, lower transportation costs and greater government revenue. Trade will also enhance both countries’ prospects for peace and prosperity. As the French Economist Frederic Bastiat said, “When goods do not cross borders, soldiers will.”
Let’s green Pakistan
We, Pakistanis, actually never treat our streets and colonies as we do our home. We very well know how to keep our houses clean and we do keep them clean. But at what cost? It is at the cost of making our streets and roadsides unclean by disposing of debris there.
Cleanliness is a self-sustaining system. The system is available and working successfully in some of the western countries. Why western countries are so clean? Does each citizen go collecting debris? No. They have a cleaning system and everybody by law is held responsible to follow the system.
First of all it is the duty of Government authorities to conduct cleanliness workshops. And they should educate people about their roles and responsibilities in keeping their premises clean. But unfortunately, if we did not have any such system in Pakistan it doesn’t mean that we are free from our duty. In fact, everybody is responsible for keeping his house, street, workplace, colony and country clean. Recycling wastage is one of the healthy businesses to do. And it will benefit our country and society.