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.

Anchor Arnab Goswami is mad

Indian television news anchor, Arnab Goswami of Republic TV has been criticising Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, for a very long time because she is from Italy and was a Catholic. He is blaming her for the murder of the two Palghar seers and their driver which took place in Maharashtra on April 16, 2020.
Arnab Goswami, where were you when Christian priests, pastors and nuns were being burnt alive and killed by Hindu fundamentalists in India? Why didn’t you highlight the issue on your news channel then? For you, Hindus are more precious than Christians and Muslims? Only two seers and their driver have been killed? But what about the thousands of Muslims and Christians who are being killed daily in India? For you, Arnab, Hindus are more precious than Christians and Muslims. Shame on you for being a BJP guy.
Mumbai, India

Quarantine centres

The recent decision to turn educational institutions into quarantine centres has left the people highly concerned. While Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has turned 231 schools into quarantine centres, Balochistan and Punjab have also turned schools, colleges and universities into quarantine centres.
Although utilising educational institutions as medical centres is a normal practice during disasters, it should have been the last option in a situation such as the Covid-19 outbreak which is highly contagious. I urge the federal and provincial governments to ensure that parents are informed of the steps that will be taken to ensure that schools that are turned into quarantine centres are adequately disinfected before they are re-opened.
It might be more helpful if the government shifts quarantine centres to public-owned buildings so that once the pandemic is over, there is no delay in the re-opening of schools and children can immediately resume their education. Finally, I urge the government to ensure that in the future during a highly contagious health emergency, educational institutions are not turned into health facilities, and planning in this regard is carried out beforehand.

Essential services in PIACL

There should be a balance between obligations of PIA Company Limited, the official flag carrier of Pakistan, and its employees, especially flight and ground crew involved in flight operation and ground handling of aircraft in times of emergencies as was done during 65 and 71 wars and responsibilities of management and federal government as owners of the airline. The government has previously imposed Essential Services Act in PIA when it was administratively under Defence Ministry. It is strange that PIA employees face disciplinary action applicable to those serving in Defence Services but are denied benefits they get. Memories of Zia’s martial law in PIA are not very good.
It is essential for flight safety that all passengers must be screened and checked for COVIT-19 infection and flight/cabin crew and ground staff be provided Personal Preventive Equipment PPE etc. The Federal Government must ensure that proper functional Quarantine infrastructure is available both at point of departure and arrival in case any employee gets infected. Similarly, PIA employees must rise up to demands of situation where thousands of citizens are stranded overseas. It would be advisable for PIACL management to ensure that there is no atmosphere of threats and intimidation which can have an adverse psychological impact on employees involved in operation and ground handling of flights. Many employees of PIA, including SM Dubai, have been infected with COVIT-19 while performing duties. The PIA Chief Human Resource Officer, an Air Cdre on deputation from PAF through Admin Order 03/2020 dated 29 April has imposed Pakistan Essential Services (Maintenance) Act, 1952 declaring “all classes of employment in PIACL” essential “for a period of 6 months with immediate effect”, not withstanding anything contrary contained in the Industrial Relations Act 2012 or any other law/rules”.

Fodder shortage

The restrictions on physical movement to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus are impacting both urban and rural areas. The pandemic and measures to control it are affecting the agricultural economy in varying degrees in different parts of the country, with water deficit areas bearing the main brunt. Residents of the Thar Desert region of Sindh are running short of water and fodder for their cattle because of the prolonged lockdown.
Spread over an area of 7,000 square miles the annual average rainfall in the region is a mere 10 inches. Due to scanty rains, people chiefly depend on cattle rearing for livelihood. In the most dry months of April, May and June, residents shift to nearby districts of Mirpurkhas, Sanghar and Badin where they get both fodder and water for their livestock and work on agricultural farms. But this year they have been unable to move to these places because of the lockdown.
Complaining that they cannot bring fodder and water from other places because of the curbs on plying transport, they have asked the government to relax the lockdown so that they, with their cattle, can move to adjoining districts. At these places they can get work as farmhands and their livestock water and fodder. Residents say the shortage of fodder and water will have manifold effects on livestock farmers. They fear cattle dying in large numbers and reduced breeding thereby leaving farmers in dire economic straits. The shortage of water is a perennial problem in Thar. The prevailing conditions once again underscore the need for extending the canal network to this region.
Via email