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.

Tax evasion

Tax evasion is a problem that Pakistan has faced since its very inception. Successive governments have taken measures to control the menace but there has not been much success. Of the many debilitating factors that the country faces, tax evasion is a malady that is simply eating into innards of the country. Tax evasion in many forms by individuals is one of the many ills faced by the Federal Bureau of Revenue. However, the greater problem is corporate tax evasion that is seriously destroying economy. Many key industries have found innovative and fraudulent ways to commit tax evasion and FBR seems to be non-pulsed as to how to get around this menace.
One case some time back was that of Shahid Muneer, the CEO of GCS (Pvt) Ltd. According to the prosecution, it was found that goods imported and declared by M/s. Malik Brothers on behalf of GCS (Pvt) Ltd., were found by the Customs to be altered, mutilated and false while the invoice had been concocted and forged. There are many more instances in this regard. It has been the endeavour of the government for many years to prevent tax evasion by the corporate sector by introducing a Track & Trace system that would monitor the manufacturing actual output of many key industries, such as pharmaceuticals, cement, cigarettes, sugar, etc and collect the required taxes.
However, for one reason or another, various attempts to introduce a Track & Trace system have been sabotaged and a faulty system has been put in place. It has, reportedly, even come to light that when the FBR opened a tender for installation of a Track & Trace system in the various industries, GCS (Pvt) Ltd., a partner of NRTC, which was under investigation by Custom authorities for submitting fraudulent documents, was one of the bidders! One of the basic pillars of the PTI government was its commitment to root out corruption from Pakistan. One hopes it & Trace System.

Middle class woes

The Covid-19 pandemic has badly affected the middle class and created a plethora of issues for them. Many people have lost their jobs and most also seen pay cuts and a forced closure of their businesses. The price of food, fuel and electricity has skyrocketed throughout the last ten months. The middle-class is being squeezed from all sides and that we are forcefully moving towards poverty.
During winter, gas shortage has forced us to incur an extra expenditure for shopping of gas cylinders. It’s being the same that in summer, Karachi’s residents should be ready for load shedding. They will need to pay through the nose for fuel for generators. It’s extremely unfair that the individuals find themselves paying higher fuel charges. The authorities concerned are requested to please do something benevolent to curb this monster.

Water logging and salinity

Through you esteemed newspaper, I want to draw the attention of concerned authorities towards water logging and salinity. Pakistan’s agriculture largely suffers owing to water logging and salinity in cultivable land. Pakistan has been acknowledged for having a well-knit irrigation system. Of the total area under irrigated agriculture, about 9.6 million hectares is arid, 3.8 million is semi-arid and the remaining area is characterised by sub-humid.
No doubt, the irrigation system has helped increase agricultural production but has also created problems of salinity and water-logging. The key to producing vegetable crops is to control salinity levels in the root zone to values equal to or smaller than the ECt of a crop. In order to control salinity levels, management must include soil reclamation of the saline and sodic soils, and the practices of the fertilization and irrigation should aim to prevent soil salinization and to mitigate the effect of soil salinization and/or use of saline irrigation water in the growth and development of vegetable crops. Our current and potential agricultural land is shrinking tremendously. Since independence, no government has paid due heed to this grave problem.

Killing of Osama Satti

Last week, a heart-wrenching incident happened in Islamabad where a 22-year-old boy, Osama Satti, was shot dead by the Islamabad police. Within no time, news spread like a wildfire. This incident bears resemblance to the Sahiwal incident in which four people were gunned down. Is this Naya Pakistan that our Prime Minister calls the State of Madinah? For how long will we carry the bodies of youngsters like Osama on our shoulders?
Will the culprits be released just like the culprits of the Sahiwal incident? Will the bereaved family get justice in this world? The authorities need to investigate the incident. They should also concentrate to the statements given by the boy’s father to the media. We condemn the illegal killing of Osama. Serious, strict and deterrent actions must be taken against the culprits.

Bloodshed in Balochistan

Pakistan has been the target of terrorism and sectarianism for almost four decades and it continues. The most recent is the barbaric attack in Mach in which 11 poor coal miners belonging to Hazara community were brutally slain by militants. Doubtlessly, Balochistan for many years has been in the grip of militancy.
The militants are aping the Israeli tactics being used against the Palestinians. A number of innocent Hazara people have been ruthlessly murdered for nothing since 2011. Since then, they have been appealing and demonstrating for justice and protection of their lives. However, for how long this community, which live in harmony and peacefully with other communities, will continue tolerating such gruesome incidents.
The government must take stern measures to stop this barbarism and ensure the Hazara community that it would not happen in near future. Government should seal all the entry points from where the militants penetrate to stage attacks and those who support and facilitate them should be taken to task. Now it remains to be seen how the government, which is playing a pivotal role as a facilitator between the US and the Taliban in Afghanistan to bring peace and stability in the region, will provide protection and justice to the Hazara community from the militants.

Pollution in Jacobabad

Jacobabad has been facing manifold problems; air pollution is one of them which has risen to an alarming level. It is not only creating respiratory discomfort but also producing some common diseases such as ischemic, heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and acute lower respiratory infections in children. Roads are unclea, drains are bursting with dirty and polluted water. It seems dust is sprinkling over the faces of masses daily like rain.
According to a climate report, unhealthy air quality is 153/500 and dominant pollutant-PM 2.5. It is the 43rd city of Pakistan by population. The city itself is subdivided into 8 Union Councils. Sitting very far away to the provincial boundaries of Sindh and Baluchistan, Jacobabad became a city on the site of an existing city (Khangarh), and is crossed by the Pakistan Railway and many main roads of the province.
But today’s roads condition is the worst and every time polluted air is blowing. Our religion teaches, us “Cleanliness is the half faith.” But Jacobabad city is deprived of this blessing and, interestingly, nobody knows how the budget of Jacobabad flies away every year. I request the CM and relevant authorities to kindly take action on this issue and save Jacobabad plus other cities that have been suffering from same air pollution like Jacobabad.

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