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.

Crisis of hunger
Pakistan is currently facing a severe food crisis, with the country being forced to import basic food items due to a shortage of supplies. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a surge in food prices, making it difficult for low-income groups to access essential food items. In fact, food prices have increased by nearly 42% in urban areas and 47% in rural areas in the last month alone. This has worsened the living conditions of those who were already struggling to make both ends meet.

In a highly inflationary environment, with the cost of food rising on a daily basis due to steep currency depreciation and a hike in indirect taxes, it is the responsibility of both the provincial and federal governments to ensure that the people, especially the poor and vulnerable, have access to basic and essential foods. Artificial shortage, created by unscrupulous elements, cannot be allowed to further curtail access to food. If left unchecked, it could lead to severe hunger and even death for a large portion of the population. It is crucial that the government takes immediate action to address this crisis.

The import of food items must be facilitated and the distribution system should be made more efficient and transparent. This will not only ensure that the people have access to food, but it will also bring down prices, making it easier for low-income groups to afford basic necessities. Moreover, the government should also focus on developing a sustainable agriculture sector to ensure food security in the long term. This can be achieved by investing in research and development, improving irrigation facilities and providing incentives to farmers to adopt modern techniques.

Ultimately, the food crisis in Pakistan is a grave issue that requires urgent attention from the government. The situation demands immediate action to ensure that the people, especially the poor and vulnerable, have access to basic and essential foods. Failure to do so can have dire consequences, exposing a large portion of the population to severe hunger.

Shaheed Benazirabad

Veterans in politics

In 2019 the QBJ ISPR allowed 26 retired officers of armed forces to appear in the media as defence analysts, which included the retired generals. Gen Amjad Shoaib (R) was one of them. This was when there was the ONE PAGE strategy. The institution was visibly involved in politics, in violation of oath they pledged to uphold the Constitution which requires them to be apolitical. On 14 June 1948 the Quaid while addressing Staff College elaborated that there was no political role for paid servants of state and they must understand the significance of the oath they pledge.

Pakistan has suffered ever since the nexus of Ghulam Muhammad, Iskandar Mirza and Ayub Khan abrogated the Constitution and martial law was imposed in 1958. We became tools in American global strategy, offering them bases in Badabher, compromising our territorial sovereignty and having faced humiliation of defeat and dismemberment. Zia plunged this country into further mess, getting involved in fighting proxy wars, offering sanctuary to extremists and terrorists and allowing them to form private militias. Musharraf followed suit and over 85,000 citizens of Pakistan have died, with millions displaced and another few million Afghan refugees. Terrorism and extremism has devastated the economy and lives and security of over 225 Million citizens.

Post retirement veterans have a right to take part in politics, like all civilians. Gen Charles de-Gaulle led France against Nazi Germany in WW-11 and chaired a Provisional Government from 1944-46 to restore democracy in France. After retirement he was appointed as PM by President Rene Coty in 1958 and was involved in drafting a Constitution. He joined active politics as a member of the Union of Democrats and contested twice, before resigning in 1969.

If the likes of Gen Amjad Shoaib want to join politics, they must become a member of a political party and give up extraordinary perks and privileges. They cannot simultaneously be Defence Analysts and Political Analysts, as they say “Run with Hares; Hunt with Hounds” and pull their rank, when in trouble with law, and seek shelter on the platform of Veterans. A citizen of Pakistan should not incite paid civil servants to abstain from work, because this is in violation of the spirit of the Constitution. All citizens must be equal before law.

15th of Shaban a night for asking forgiveness
The importance of the 15th night of Sha’ban is a subject of debate among Muslims. Some celebrate the night with special prayers and fast the following day, while others say that this practice is not proved from the Sunnah.

The reality is that scholars consider the hadiths about 15th Sha’ban as being sound, good and weak. However, due to the fact that there are numerous hadiths, and the weakness of many of the hadith is not severe, the virtue of this night is accepted as authentic by scholars. The Prophet (saw) also said to Aishah (ra), ‘Allah descends on the night of the middle of Sha’ban to the lowest heaven, and He forgives more than the numbers of hairs on the sheep of Banu Kalb. Therefore, make du’a for forgiveness on the 15th night of Sha’ban. Increase your Zikr and ask the Almighty particularly for forgiveness, mercy, relief from suffering and provision. Remember to forgive anyone who you have a grudge against and resolve your problems with them, especially if they are family members, so Allah will forgive you.