Voice of the People

38

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.

The higher education budget

In a meeting held recently, HEC’s governing body, Commission, has strongly deplored the unprecedented and massive cut in the budget for the higher education sector. On the occasion, it was emphasized that this massive reduction in higher education budget will destroy all the efforts made by the Commission in the last two decades.

The Commission, in its meeting, held online, on Friday, May 27, unanimously solicited the reversal of the decision by the government. It sought provision of due share to the higher education sector in the upcoming budget, and informed the government that this proposed cut will have serious consequences, including closing of institutions, winding up of university academic programs, firing of faculty members, termination of research projects and halting of international higher education agreements.

The foregoing concerns expressed by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) are profoundly alarming, and merits serious attention of the government in saddles. Regardless of the dire financial straits that the country is passing through today, the proposed cut in the higher education budget should be reversed.

It was truly heartening to note that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, appreciating the gravity of the situation, has taken immediate cognizance of this immensely critical issue of national significance.

In his tweeted message on May 30, the Prime Minister categorically said “There is no question of a cut in the budget of Higher Education Commission. I am aware of the negative effect that cuts have had on higher education during the past four years. I have given clear directions to Planning Commission & Ministry of Finance in this regard”.

A very sensible and statesmanlike decision by the PM , I must admit. It is an undeniable fact that education holds the key to a nation’s success. It is also a universal fact that nations which have risen to the pinnacle of success, has been able to do so due to the importance it has always attached to education.

It, therefore, goes without saying that education must be given its due place in the roster of national priorities. It should always be on top of the agenda for national development.

M FAZAL ELAHI

Islamabad

Public opinion

Public opinion cannot be defined precisely. We are to know it rather loosely. It is an opinion of the people in general on the question of public interest. It is not the opinion of the majority. There is also no insistence on the unanimity.

If the subject-matter of the opinion espoused by the majority is to further the selfish gains there is no public opinion involved in it. It also needs the support of the minority.

In other words, it may be the opinion of the majority but the minority should be in a position to accept it.

This has been rightly stated by A L Lowell “Public opinion is the opinion held by the majority and passively acquiesced in by the minority.” If the opinion of the majority is directly opposed by the minority, it cannot be public opinion. If the opinion is detrimental to the interest of one class or at the cost of one community, it is not public opinion.

The aim of the public opinion must be common good. It may be the opinion of the most intelligent section of the people but it must be in a position to do general welfare for all.

So it is said that the public opinion is the opinion of the right-minded citizens if it succeeds in winning the support and acceptance of a general body of citizens.

UMAIRA KHAN

Islamabad

Imran Khan praises India

PM Imran Khan while addressing worker’s convention at Charsadda on 29 May stated that India is free, while we are slaves. What IK forgot was that a country exercises complete sovereignty, only if it is economically self-reliant and does not depend on IMF etc. India’s Foreign Exchange Reserves as on May 6, 2022 stand at $595.954 Billion and since 1993, it has never taken any financial assistance from IMF and paid back all loans to them by 2000.

India finalized the Constitution in 1949 and became a Republic, free from British Dominion on 26 January 1950 and this Constitution has been the supreme law in India since then, with exception disputed territories like IOK. Since 2016 there has been no Tax Amnesty Scheme given by India. All those who benefitted from such schemes had to pay 45% tax along with additional penalty. IK needs to evaluate numerous tax amnesty schemes he and his predecessors offered during their tenures with amnesties offered by India.

India started production of Hindustan Ambassador in 1958 which continued till 2014, to be the official car used by all government officers including numerous PMs and Presidents like Narsimha Rao, IK Gujral and till recently Vajpayee, who was forced to switch over to a BMW7 after 2001 attack on Parliament House.

Modi is the first PM who uses foreign cars and even he started using Mercedes Benz Maybach in 2021 after it was produced in India at Pune by Mercedes Benz India. As compared to this IK imported 6 brand new Mercedes Maybach after selling several of them in use of his predecessors.

India’s first PM Nehru used a Rolls Royce gifted to him by Lord Mountbatten. Rajiv Gandhi drove a Maruti Suzuki 1000cc and later switched over to Land Rover gifted by King of Jordan. There is not one known incident where gifts, including cars, expensive watches etc., given by foreign VVIPs, were bought by any Indian PM, or any member of ruling elite at discounted prices. No Indian PM has used a Helicopter daily to go to PM Office from his residence.

MALIK TARIQ ALI

Lahore

Previous articleFriendly fire and the Congress . . !
Next articleDigital solutions will help to improve 1billion lives: Queen Máxima