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Defence Minister revelations in NA
The Defence Minister speaking on the floor of NA, referred to rampant corruption within the paid bureaucracy and an incident involving an anonymous Grade 21 civil servant given Rs1.2Billion as cash wedding gifts (salami) for his daughter’s marriage and over Rs 72 crore on his second daughter’s marriage. Corruption within paid or elected elite thrives because of crime and financial embezzlement or undue favours which burden national exchequer. This unholy alliance and failure of the State to exercise its constitutional writ, has landed Pakistan today in a financial mess, where state sovereignty may likely be compromised including our defence deterrence capability.
In Malaysia any public office holder, including paid elite, would have been imprisoned and his assets frozen or confiscated if they are beyond his means and not commensurate with income tax he/she pays. In the UK, there exists an NCA which returned BP 190 million as proceeds of crime to Pakistan, which was returned back to the alleged criminal. The minister also referred to an over 120 year old club in Lahore, where it was written before partition “Dogs and Indians” were not allowed, but after independence citizens of Pakistan are members. The State should eradicate institutionalized corruption within the paid bureaucracy and ensure that such corrupt bureaucrats have no monopoly over clubs meant for civilians, especially when they have several exclusive subsidized clubs for their benefit.
The Minister should have commented on other clubs which have been built on land belonging to the Punjab Government in Lahore post-independence, and all over Pakistan, with lush green subsidized golf courses. Even MD IMF referred to this Elite Capture in Pakistan, where subsidies are not given to poor or middle class but to the affluent elite, already enjoying subsidized perks and benefits which many in the developed world cannot even dream of. No wonder state machinery cannot raise revenue through direct taxation, as is the international practice.
The world is in pursuit of forming new alliances to promote bilateral and multilateral trade in order to boost the economy. New blocs are in the making and the old ones are being revived and expanded to deal with the looming multi-faceted economic challenges. BRICS, ASEAN, OIC, AU, OPEC etc., are functional with their regular sessions being held as enshrined in their basic principles. There seems no deadlock or stalemate despite several conflicts hovering over their regions. The BRICS summit takes its own way without any procrastination despite the border escalation between China and India and, as usual, commercial activities are going on unabated. But the future of the SAARC hangs in the balance following the strained relations between India and Pakistan.
Since the Kathmandu summit (2014), no high level huddle or moot took place to substantiate the functionality of this South Asian organization. What is the need of this inter-states level bloc if its output is naught or of no value to the impoverished nations of this region? The Modi-led government is trying to isolate Pakistan in the region but its nefarious designs may not be fulfilled, as Islamabad has a prominent position in the comity of nations and the world acknowledges its enormous contribution and sacrifices for peace. The need of the hour is that the other six members of this regional organization jointly play their leading role and revive it in its most effective and dynamic form. Any further delay in the conduct of its summit will hamper peace and prosperity which, in turn, may push the region to the worst poverty and backwardness.
GULDAR ALI KHAN
Women trafficking in Sindh
Women’s trafficking is exploitation of women and young girls by force or fraud to get some kind of benefits either monetarily or from some other acts like forced labour. They are recruited, transported or possessed within the state or across the country as well.
Due to the unemployment and increasing inflation and terrible economic/political conditions there has been an alarming increase in the trafficking cases throughout Pakistan, especially in Karachi.
People are oppressed in the hands of the cold blooded people. Big families who live hand to mouth are mostly involved in such cases and with this our young girls and women feel unsafe to go out of their houses. In the fear of being kidnapped and transported for sexual exploitation women take their own life. Criminals carry out the smuggling and still are not punished and somehow make their way out of the case. All those maltreated people fall in with serious health and mental disorders.
As per report given by sustainable social development organization (SSDO) and (CRDC) 1,865 women were kidnapped, 142 subjected to sexual violence and 114 murdered across Sindh between January and October 2022. Similarly,179 cases of child labour and 71 of child sexual abuse were reported.
In the light of the present situation, numerous NGOs should come forward and play their part in providing protection and rescuing women with the help of defined departments and police. There should be awareness seminars and events so that our young generation should know their rights and learn self-defence in order to deal with such situations bravely.
Our current departments like Women Protection Department, Punjab Commission on the Status of Women and Human Resource Department should join hands with the shelter homes to provide space to the rescued persons.
Bullying is becoming a major issue in Pakistan nowadays. Bullying may take place at educational institutes, working places, or even in family gatherings. Bullying may be due to different reasons. It may be because of a person’s looks, personality, grades, dressing, family status, intellect, accent etc. There is a strange concept of victim blaming. Bullied person is often blamed, instead of the bully, saying that the bullied person should not have allowed anyone to bully him. We need to accept this fact that not everyone knows how to stand for themselves. Recently, there was a case in a prestigious private school, where some girls were beating a girl and asking her to say some hurtful things about her parents and the other boys and girls around, were laughing, making fun of the poor girl and making videos.This kind of behaviour affects the bullied a lot. They may develop depression, trust issues and other mental illnesses. They find it harder to interact with others. They become socially awkward. It haunts them for the rest of their life. To prevent such cases, parents and elders should teach their children etiquettes and about other people’s rights. They should keep an eye on kids. The settings where these kinds of cases take place should take serious action against it.