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.

Morality, ethics and Toshakhana

It is normal diplomatic practice that heads of state exchange gifts on a reciprocal basis, as a token of friendship between the two countries, which are paid from national exchequer of their respective states and hence belong to the nation and not individual. In most countries, including America, consumable items like chocolates, dates, fruit can be retained by recipient VVIP.

In addition, the recipient can retain these gifts as a memento if their value is below a certain amount which is usually around $200. In Pakistan there are two limits respectively under Rs30,000 or above. In India the limit is Rs5000 and anything above this value can be bought at prevailing market value and amount deposited in national treasury. There is a moral and ethical issue involved, and people holding important constitutional offices are expected to behave in a dignified manner to serve as role models. There are numerous Hadiths which regulate Maal-e-Ghanimat.

It seems that our paid and elected elite, suffer from a compulsive disorder accentuated by their insatiable greed to partake not just Toshakhana gifts, but state lands allotted to them at throwaway prices and selling them for commercial profits and then justify this abuse. Regularizing such gross irregularities by dictators in Pakistan has set a precedent, and many individuals have gone berserk.

The PM of Israel is under investigation for accepting gifts from billionaires, including a donation of $270,000 from a relative for legal fees to battle corruption charges. This institutionalized abuse by the powerful elite in Pakistan dates back to Ayub Khan, who chose to retain Ghandhara Motors in 1963, a gift from American Government, for his own family, apart from allotment of 500 acres state lands to himself. Quaid referred to this corruption on 11 August 1947 as a cancer that we inherited from British Raj, which must be dealt with an iron hand.



Metro of Lahore

The Metro is a good service for travelling but getting worse day by day. Also the arrival of summer will make it worse.

When there is a start of every new service and other kind of facility people enjoy it and also find an easy way for their travelling, but as time passes and the services get old there is no proper look after that kind of services and full kind of disgrace for the people. First there is a shortage of the metro card all over the city where you need to buy a token for a ride and then a person goes to the ticket station. The person has to wait for a long period of time for his/her turn in a never ending line of people to get a token. After that when the person gets a token and has to pass by the ticket scanner the token expires and he/she needs to go back again for the token refreshment which is also again very time consuming and sometimes a person is getting late for the destination.

When a person passed by the ticket scanner and has to wait for the bus this also takes a lot of time as at the beginning of service in every 2-3 minute the next bus arrived but due to the use of its wide range many buses damaged and there is no proper repair system for them that’s why now shortage of buses affect the arrival of next bus. Moreover as the bus arrives there is a lot of passengers in the bus who want to get out for their stop and also the people who want to get in the bus for their destination, the people who want to get out and get in the bus collapsed and most people don’t able to get out or in the bus.



Electricity overbilling

Currently, the government is under immense pressure from the IMF to improve recoveries from the power sector to reduce the power sector Circular Debt. MOE has been continuously pursuing with DISCOs, particularly those in Punjab, to raise the recovery level well above 100%. However, one major issue is being ignored totally which is not justifiable, i.e. the rampant overbilling to industrial, tube well, commercial and bulk consumers by LESCO, GEPCO and MEPCO in particular.

Unfortunately, the concerned ministry is completely and criminally silent over the excess billing done by these Companies and the consumers are being harassed, rather tortured by these rogue field officers who have billed up to 5 lakh units to many tube wells of just 10HP. Small and medium industries (Batch 46) are being charged 10,000 to 90,000 units extra and then no bill correction is made even if the customer wanders from office to office.

Even the customer complaint redressal forums like Wafaqi Mohtasib, POI and NEPRA have not been wholly successful in curbing these practices. What to say of others, prestigious customers like Bahria Town and Bahria Orchards have not been successful in getting their bills corrected (worth millions of units) despite all the evidence and regulatory directives in their favour. Even in one of the DISCOs, 7-8 powerful SDOs were removed from service on account of overbilling and other such charges but they were reinstated back to their seats over the reported recommendations of the powerful persons in the MOE.



Boxt letter

Avoid wearing gold jewellery

With gold prices on an upward spiral, women in the city are under constant threat from chain-snatchers. Keeping in mind rising cases of chain-snatching, I feel that women themselves must avoid wearing gold jewellery, and if at all they wear them, they must be alert. The best way to curb such incidents is that women should start wearing imitation jewellery for daily use. They must keep their original gold jewellery for special occasions like weddings or parties and be cautious whenever they wear them. Though mostly women are targeted, even men are falling prey to such crimes. We cannot expect the police to remain ever vigilant to curb such incidents across the city. I have no idea of what punishments are awarded to those who are caught for gold thefts, but considering the gold prices, it has become an easy way of making money and anyone who wears gold — be it men or women — becomes an easy target for the criminals. Self-restraint is the best measure to avoid being a victim of gold theft.