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.
Plight of retired senior citizens
While the state caters generously for its retired government officials and staff, their equally, or more, qualified professionals serving in private, public and SOE enterprises are neglected.
Most of the country’s direct income tax collected is paid by professionals working in private or public sector, yet there is absolutely no relief by the state to senior citizens including those who are above 70 years.
Professionals working in private and public sectors either don’t receive enough or any pension. Even the most qualified professionals working in private and public sectors save just enough money to build their own house.
Their medical benefits are almost non-existent post-retirement. In a country where no reliable social security welfare system exists, their problems become more acute, given the likelihood of ailments occurring when they go beyond 70 years of age.
Given the insufficient pensionable emoluments, these senior citizens invest their lifelong savings and provident fund in National Saving Centre schemes like Pension Benefit Fund and Bahbood etc., to get enough income to meet their bare minimum needs.
It is ironic that while in-service salaried people get a Tax-Free Relief of Rs 600,000 on their annual emoluments, those who are retired are given tax relief of only Rs 400,000.
The State should be generous enough to realize the enormity of problems faced by former salaried senior citizens from the private and public sector, who contributed to the development of this country and are still on Active Filers list by giving them a more generous Tax-Free Relief per annum or even consider waiving it in totality for those beyond 70 years.
If the State can pay tax free pensions of more than Rs 100,000 to former government officers, they must exhibit the same generosity to retirees from private and public sectors.
MALIK TARIQ ALI
Role of defence analysts
There is a perception that politics in Pakistan is controlled by a few within the uniformed establishment of this country, although they have taken an oath to uphold the constitution and abstain from involvement in political activities.
Quaid-e-Azam warned those who hold paid public positions to understand the implications of the oath they take. This country has suffered enough because of the political ambitions of a few officers.
This perception is being supplemented by a few retired officers who give the impression that they represent the establishment, while openly indulging in supporting a particular political party.
I would request these former officers to hear the public apology of Gen Kelly when he was seen with former President Trump in what was a political event.
The uniform they wear requires them to be apolitical, enjoying the love, credibility and affection of all citizens across the political divide.
As retired serviceman they can become involved in politics after the mandatory period of two years but should not use their former rank while being involved in politics.
Pertaining to the dastardly carnage at Kabul airport, claimed by Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP), it is worth-mentioning that this group has been quite underestimated as of now, even though ISKP has been terrorising Afghans since 2015. It was an elephant in the room situation.
Only after this high-scaled attack that ISKP came into the global media spotlight, that took more lives than any of its previous attacks so far.
This attack is a harbinger of a potential escalation of conflict between Taliban and ISKP which will make it difficult for the Taliban to keep up to the promises made by its spokesman in his maiden press conference to ensure the safety and security of civilians and minorities and not letting its soil used for harbouring other terrorist groups.
By and large, ISIL, the umbrella organisation that includes ISKP, has been attributed to sectarian dynamics of Sunni-Shia conflicts from the Arab world to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
But, this attribution ignores a long and bloody intra-Sunni splintering and conflicts. ISIL was formed by defectors from Al-Qaeda in 2014 in Syria. Similarly, ISKP has joined by the defectors from Afghan Taliban, TTP and other terror groups.
All the splinter groups that considered their parenting organisation more lenient and less puritanical are lured with a new self-styled caliphate and, hence, joined ISKP which is more gruesome and barbaric.
For Pakistan, indeed it is a colossal security challenge: first, the potential of infiltration of non-state actors from across the border; second, there may be certain ISKP-inspired elements in Pakistan that could flourish and embolden by such mayhem.
Given this, a strict border passage should be ensured. Domestically, intelligent-based operations should be carried out to neutralise any possible terror threat.
ZAHID ALI ZOHRI
Teacher’s Day is celebrated every year on September 5th and it is the day which is dedicated to commemorate the entire community of teachers across the nation.
The day is celebrated to pay tribute and heartily respect to the teachers of the nation who have contributed a lot towards the betterment of the society by imparting education.
Teachers are reckoned as the backbone of the society who put all their efforts to shape the career of the students and help them become successful citizen of the country.
For all the students, Teacher’s Day is the most auspicious occasion where they get the opportunity to pay tribute, gratitude and reverence to their teachers for the extraordinary support and unselfish effort in shaping the career of the students and for enhancing the education system of the country with their unique learning processes.
Teachers treat all students equally and take proper care of the students and love them as their own child. In real life we usually owe them more than our parents.
They play a crucial role in arousing the heart of all students and light it up with education and knowledge and help them in eliminating regret and ignorance.