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Dear MD, IMF
I am writing to request your consideration in restructuring/deferring loan payments for Pakistan, as the country has faced severe economic and infrastructure losses in the past two decades because of terrorism and floods. Despite being a front-line state in the War on Terror, Pakistan was left alone to face the consequences of its losses of over 83,000 lives compared with 5000 KIA of the entire NATO allies and over $1000 billion losses in the economic and opportunity costs.
Even two days earlier, a suicide attack in a mosque in the provincial capital of Peshawar killed and wounded over 200 persons. In fact, Pakistan still continues to wage a battle of survival against the terrorism and the IMF must not dictate terms for loans, as if these are the days of peace and tranquillity, which acts as the prime mover of any country’s economy. For the citizens of Pakistan the conditions are far worse than Ukraine.
Furthermore, the country’s economy was dealt a severe blow by the floods last year, resulting in losses of over $40 billion. Under the circumstances, It is imperative that IMF supports Pakistan in resurrecting its economy rather than penalising for its support in the War on Terror.
I respectfully request that IMF team now in Pakistan should be advised to reschedule/restructure loans and interests payments of Pakistan and IMF HQ in Washington, as an out-of-the-box solution to aid Pakistan should suggest to the developed countries of the world to allow a zero-rated tax regime on entire imports of Pakistani exports. This will serve as a reward for country’s unwavering stance in cause of freedom and world peace.
NAYYAR UDDIN AHMAD
I am writing to express my concern about the negative impact of fast food on our society. Fast food is a convenient and affordable option for many people, but it is also a major contributor to the obesity epidemic and other health hazards. Fast food is often high in calories, fat, sugar and sodium which can lead to weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues. Additionally, fast food is often low in essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies.
Furthermore, fast food chains are often located in low-income neighbourhoods which means that many people in these areas have limited access to healthy food options. This creates a cycle of poor nutrition and health problems that can be difficult to break. I believe that we need to take action to address the negative impact of fast food. This could include increasing access to healthy food options, educating people about the dangers of fast food and implementing policies to make fast food less accessible and less appealing.
From Karachi to Khyber and Gwadar to Gilgit-Baltistan, country is reeling under the woes and miseries, masses are on protest and conglomeration of grievances and apprehensions of people has reached beyond saturation levels. Notwithstanding this grim state of affairs, the state seems to be failing at handling and addressing them. Lamentably, for such endless chaos and perturbation, the state, more often than not, is to be held responsible.
Karachi’s power squabbling is continuing, whereas terrorism’s resurrection has enveloped the KP. Similarly, Gwadar Haq Do Tehreek was mishandled thereby arresting its leadership who was appearing before court; a senior military official’s irresponsible statement about Gwadar protesters is outrageously autocratic. GB protests in freezing temperatures were met with media blackout, which is leveraged by neighbouring media by framing these sit-ins to project them as anti-Pakistan protest; the protest venue in GB could be seen containing a gigantic Pakistani flag hauling up in the air and no anti-state slogan chanting except rights, demands.
Likewise, the people of Chaghi, Baluchistan have grave concerns about Reko Diq settlement, with an apprehensive outcome that lest it should end up being another Gwadar which brought no prosperity to locals except exploitation, to their pessimism. While financially the country is on verge of bankruptcy, political instability owing to the ominous dissolution of provincial assemblies of Punjab and KP by PTI has added fuel to the fire.
Given the grim fact that Pakistan is going through a phase of complete erosion—economically, politically and socially—we need a complete overhaul of our system and need to revisit our mistakes. Needless to say this will happen by nation-wide consensus with the Pakistan-above-all agenda. Can one hope so in this murkiest situation our country is going through?
ZAHID ALI ZOHRI
It should be a matter of huge embarrassment for an agricultural economy to have soaring food inflation resulting in rampant poverty compounded misery, especially among the downtrodden segments of society.
The devastating floods last year played havoc with the country, pushing millions of people into abject poverty, increasing the poverty rate to 35.7 percent, according to the World Bank. The food cycle, from the farm to the table, stands disrupted. The country is struggling to make even food grain available to the masses, with wheat flour being either unavailable or beyond the buying power of the people.
The elite class is hardly bothered by market manipulations and spike in food inflation that has become a matter of life or death for the underprivileged daily wagers who earn a meagre amount every day to feed his family.
It is time the politicians stopped verbal spats and blame game and focus on doing something practical. To start with, ensuring wheat flour supply at a controlled price to the people should be the priority right now.
NADIL RAHIM BUKSH