Voice of the People

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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.

FATF grey list status quo

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) consensus decision to put Pakistan on the watchdog’s ‘grey list’ for a further period of four months shows that still tough times are ahead for Pakistan on the financial front. Pakistan has been kept on this list since June 2018. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. This inter-governmental body has set international standards aiming to prevent illegal activities that cause harm to society.
However, it has shown some extra-strict behaviour towards Pakistan as our country is still on its list despite hectic efforts by our government and financial institutions to come out of it. Assiduous efforts have been made by Pakistan to meet the 27 targets set by FATF body but accepted achievement of only 21 targets. FATF has extended a four-month period for Pakistan to comply with remaining six points, in its recent plenary . . . A hard nut to crack, as remaining targets are most difficult of all. We have worked efficiently and diligently on remaining points, it is hoped that we will come out with flying colours in the next plenary of FATF. Meanwhile, contrary to this, noose has been tightened to the last limit for an ordinary person as getting a bank account opened up in any bank has become impossible as conditions set for this purpose are almost impossible to meet. The authorities should also look into this matter and give some relief to masses.
IFTIKHAR MIRZA
Islamabad

Sacked Radio employees

Radio Pakistan has been contributing for Pakistan in many areas by broadcasting news and views on various topics. During wars it played a great role, but it’s sad that PTI government has dismissed 749 Radio Pakistan employees from News, Current Affairs and Programme departments who have been working there on contract bases for the last decade.
This step further raised unemployment rate because these contract employees didn’t apply for other job as they were expecting their jobs to be made permanent in due course of time. Most of them are over aged and married. How can they run their family, pay their children school fee and others basic needs in this expensive time? The PM is requested to take measures for confirmation of their job rather than dismissing them.
ZAKRIA LAL
Turbat, Balochistan

Lahore orange train

The Lahore Orange Train is a project of Memorandum of Understanding between Pakistan and China signed in May 2014, with financing from China’s Exim Bank for a soft loan of $1.55b. It is State of Pakistan, which is signatory to it and the loan will be repaid by this country, irrespective of whether the government which initiated this project is a political adversary of the present government. The fact remains that trial runs and tests began in March 2018 and even after a passage of over 31 months the project remains suspended. It is the people of Lahore who are suffering, having endured traffic jams and pollution because of construction spread over several years and the State of Pakistan which has rightly or wrongly invested billions on this project.
When will those in power stop creating hurdles in implementation of projects initiated by their predecessors, whether they were civil or military governments? This debate of whether these projects should have been built in the first instance is just political gimmickry, after billions have been spent on them. Now that they have been built, how does it serve the national interest to keep them in limbo?
Why is it that projects for common citizens becomes an issue of debate while state land worth trillions of rupees on the market are doled out to the paid elite who have already been beneficiaries of subsidized plots and houses? Why does nobody raise questions when Golf Courses are built in cities where they already exist and subsidised by the state for the benefit of elite? Trillions of rupees could have been raised by selling expensive real estate at prevailing market rates to fund welfare projects for education, health and basic necessities of life such as clean drinking water.
MALIK TARIQ ALI
Lahore

UAE-Israel peace deal

The latest developments in the Gulf region do not bode well for the peace and stability in the Middle East, the troubled territory that saw decades of violence. The UAE-Israel peace deal will have far-reaching implications as far as the Palestinian issue is concerned. Normalcy of diplomatic ties between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv will harm the Palestinian cause to a greater extent. The peace pact has caused ripples across the Muslim world, and we witnessed the varying reactions to this deal. Both Iran and Turkey slammed this deal.
Moreover, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted at cutting diplomatic relations with Abu Dhabi. In the same way, the Palestinian leadership expressed its deepest concerns over the treaty and equated it with betrayal of Palestinian cause on the part of the UAE. Though, initially, Pakistan Foreign Office responded to this development in a cautious manner, but later on our PM made it clear that his conscience does not allow him to recognise Israel until the Jewish state returns the occupied territories to Palestine.
There is no denying that this agreement follows the principle “enemy’s enemy is my friend.” Both the UAE and Israel are at daggers drawn with Iran. In the same way, ever since Donald Trump came into power, he started maligning Tehran and unilaterally backtracked from the nuclear deal that was struck between Iran and P5+1. Furthermore, Donald Trump is moving heaven and earth to impose economic sanctions on Iran. So, America has its own axe to grind in this deal.
Consequently, to many the USA-brokered peace deal between the UAE and Israel is meant to give a tough time to Iran. On the other hand, Iranian leadership is not willing to give way under any pressure and is relentlessly pursuing anti-America and anti-Israel policies. According to the UAE, following this agreement, Israel will halt the further annexation of the West Bank yet later on Israeli PM Netanyahu ruled out any such notion. Only time will tell who the major beneficiaries of this pact are. Let us see which way the dice rolls.
MOBEEN UL HAQ
Wah Cant

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