Voice of the People


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.

India’s Union Budget

India’s interim Union Budget 2023 is just an electoral gimmick on the part of the BJP government before the 2024 elections. The people should recognise this. PM Narendra Modi had made many promises in the past but hardly fulfilled any of them in the last eight years of his tenure — not even the promise of depositing Rs 15 lakh in the bank account of every Indian citizen.

The BJP had come to power in 2014 by selling the dream of achche din. But the people now understand that those promises have long fallen flat. Now that the government needs to secure its position in power for another term, it is using the interim budget to raise the expectations of voters once again.


Mumbai, India

Blessing of throats feast day

Catholics often participate in the tradition of having their throats blessed. To do this, the priest consecrates two candles, generally by a prayer, and then holds each in a crossed position on the throat of the person being blessed.

The blessing of the throats is a sacramental of the Roman Catholic Church, ordinarily celebrated on February 3, the feast day of Saint Blaise of Sebaste (modern day, Turkey).

Saint Blaise was originally born in Sebastea. He preached Christianity in his home town and was well-known as a healer. He became famous for performing certain miracles such as helping the sick animals and people around his home town.


Mumbai, India

Wakeup call for PML-N

The resignation of former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi from post of Senior VP of PML-N, should wake up Mian Nawaz Sharif to the changed ground realities and challenges this country and his party face. There is no place in democratic politics for this mindset that families have a divine right to rule, which is akin to monarchies and dictatorships. Politicians are expected to display humbleness in public and not arrogance.

No political party, be it PMN-L or PPP or PTI can take the public for granted and expect them to vote blindly like a flock of sheep. Citizens of Pakistan today face an economic crisis which has been created by decades of poor governance, abuse of power, conflicts of interest, indirect taxation and subsidies for the affluent with hardly any relief for the most deprived. It is time for political leadership to look beyond their kith and kin and instead make appointments on merit.

The Economic haemorrhage that Pakistan faces requires a team of qualified economists of repute and integrity, instead of family members, nor civil bureaucrats, but specialists to handle the enormity of the economic crisis. There should be direct taxation on all sources of income and industries, including real estate and cartels owned by foundations enjoying tax exemptions. Indirect taxation should only be levied after exhausting direct taxation to bridge the gap, instead of vice-versa. Massive economic structural reforms are needed.

Mian Nawaz Sharif is indeed a popular politician of Pakistan. It is also a fact that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has experience and credibility which should be an asset to any political party. He has served as PM at a time when the Establishment was not very cordial.

There is no doubt that Maryam Nawaz has shown political potential, but she lacks experience and maturity which others in PML-N, like Shahid Khaqan Abbasi have.

Maryam Nawaz may be her father’s favourite child and his poster girl, but lacks experience and capacity to lead the party as its chief organizer, at a time when PMN-L no longer can claim monopoly over Punjab, nor for that matter can Imran Khan etc.



Female abuses

Across all settings, gender-based violence includes: gender-based killings; rape and sexual violence; forced marriages – which includes child marriage of children under 18; sexual harassment in workplaces, schools and in public places; female genital mutilation (FGM) trafficking and other harmful practices. The pandemic of violence against women is not new. Even before COVID-19 hit us, globally, 243 million women and girls were abused by their intimate partners in the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic intensified violence.

The harsh reality is that human rights defenders estimate that roughly 1,000 women are killed in so-called honour killings every year. Data from domestic violence helplines across Pakistan indicated that cases of domestic violence increased 200% from January-March 2020, and further worsened during the Covid-19 lockdowns after March.

In September, nationwide protests took place to demand police reform after the Lahore Police chief made a public statement suggesting that a woman who had been gang-raped on a highway in Punjab was herself at fault because she should not have been travelling “without her husband’s permission” on a motorway late at night. Child marriage remains a serious problem in Pakistan with 21% of girls marrying before age 18 and 3% marrying before 15.

When a woman shares her story of violence, she takes the first step to breaking the cycle of abuse. It’s on all of us to give her the safe space she needs to speak up and be heard. It’s important to remember that when discussing cases of sexual violence, a victim’s sobriety, clothes and sexuality are irrelevant. The perpetrator is the sole reason for assault and must bear the responsibility alone. Survivors of violence are speaking out more than ever before, and everyone has a role to play to ensure they can have justice.