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.
Facing the debt crisis
Pakistan faced apocalyptic devastating floods and is drowned in foreign debts, piled over the years, since 1958 when the first IMF deal was negotiated. Our present economic crisis threatens state sovereignty and security, demands drastic change and austerity, with long-term solutions. Over the years, successive governments, both civil and authoritarian, have indulged in reckless economic policies, piling up debts and not investing in developing human resources and instead giving subsidies to paid and elected elite, to live in luxury, whilst millions live in poverty.
Given the enormity of the crisis, it was expected that state machinery would tighten their belts, take concrete steps to levy direct taxes on the rich by internal revenue department FBR taking a lead, with clear-cut policies by the economic czars at helm. Even international financial institutions like IMF, UNDP etc that are generally viewed as serving their global masters and agendas have cried foul and gone public, advising the State to tax rich and offer targeted subsidies to poor.
The reckless abuse of scarce financial resources by the elite, their perks, privileges, palatial housing schemes and officers clubs, endless amnesty schemes, golf courses, all subsidized by national exchequer, of a country which is technically on brink of default, should have jolted the Federal Government, forcing them to change. Instead the FBR, which is tasked to collect and increase revenues, embarked on importing 155 luxury vehicles at an enormous cost of over Rs1.6bn. It was only after media exposed this waste, did PM intervene.
What was expected of the government was to purge bureaucracy with such a mindset, responsible for approving this request, given the gravity of our economic crisis and IMF demands to stop such abuses. Direct taxation on all sources of income, including real estate, where black money is parked and withdrawal of subsidies for commercial cartels, including those owned by foundations must be done, otherwise Pakistan and its security, including our defence deterrence may be compromised.
MALIK TARIQ ALI
Inflation & its dissatisfaction
Pakistan, the sixth most populous country of the world, has been facing a variety of challenges since its inception. The emerging economic crisis and inflation is its glaring example that brought havoc into the sundry fields of life. It is fair to say that inflation gives birth to many illegal practices which weaken the country economically, socially and politically.
We must have an infrastructure to cope with the menace of the emerging crisis. Someone rightly says that “poverty is the mother of all evils”. Poverty comes from harsh economic crisis and inflation. Similarly, inflation comes owing to bad governance. When people have nothing to meet their basic requirements of life, resultantly, they move towards crimes. It can be said that the recent upsurge in crimes across the country is a consequence of the economic crisis.
Unluckily, our authorities concerned and national watchdogs have shown dismal performance regarding grave issues. But they seem busy strengthening their political powers. They must be true to their professions, for which they have been appointed for. Similarly, the political bigotry among the politicians has eroded the beauty of our country. As long as we will not achieve political stability, we cannot make progress.
We, Pakistanis, are experiencing the most severe cost of living crisis in our lifetime. It is really a sorry state of affairs; the government has failed to manage sudden calamities. To make the country prosperous, we must promote the agricultural sector, making our industries modern, focusing on the blue economy and expanding exports can play a pivotal role in bringing economic stability in Pakistan. There is a dire need to make the country a bed of roses for the nation before it is too late.
HASSAN CHANG BALOCH
Youth at risk
The rise of e-cigarettes, also known as vapes, has been a cause for concern in recent years. The easily accessible pen design of these devices has made them particularly appealing to young people, who are putting their health at risk by using them. The increasing availability of vape pens in the market and their potential dangers, especially to the youth is not good at all. Vape pens have been marketed as a safer alternative to traditional smoking, but in reality, they are just as dangerous and can have even more severe long-term effects.
Studies have shown that vape pens contain high levels of nicotine, a highly addictive substance. This can lead to nicotine addiction in young people who may not have otherwise started using nicotine. Additionally, the chemicals used in the liquids for vape pens have been shown to be harmful to one’s health and can cause severe lung damage.
Another issue with pen vapes is their ease of access to kids. Because they are small and discreet, they can be easily concealed and used in places where traditional cigarettes are banned, such as schools and public places. This has made them popular among young people, who may not fully understand the risks involved in using these devices.
The design of pen vapes also contributes to negative social learning among the youth. The sleek and stylish designs of these devices, combined with clever marketing tactics, have created an image of vaping as cool and trendy. This has led many young people to view vaping as a harmless or even desirable behaviour, even though long-term effects of these devices are still unknown.
In conclusion, I strongly believe that action needs to be taken to limit the availability of these dangerous products and to protect our youths from the harmful effects of vaping.