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.
Major structural economic reforms
Pakistan today is at the crossroads of its history, where it has to incorporate major structural economic reforms, or else face a doomsday scenario. With an agriculture-based economy, there should be total ban on converting green pastures and fruit orchards or forests to concrete jungles for real estate developers.
This ever-escalating gap between revenues and expenditures cannot be sustained. Any industry or enterprise owned by individuals, cartels or foundations involved in commercial profitable ventures must pay taxes, with no exceptions to anyone under the garb of welfare. Grant of exclusive subsidies and amnesties must cease. Tax exemptions should only be given for setting up education, health facilities etc which offer subsidies in the relevant field to at least 45% of the most deprived sections of society.
All commercial businesses operating within Pakistan must pay taxes on profits, irrespective of who owns them. Benefit of repatriation of profits must only be extended to Foreign Direct Investment for employment generation industries, which can boost our exports, or produce items that we import, apart from contributing to tax revenues. In the West, tax is deducted at source even from those who bet on horse racing and in casino etc.
Overseas Pakistanis who hold single Pakistan passport or dual nationals should be given incentive for buying real estate for construction of self-occupied house for self or family, (including their parents) and be exempted from any property taxes for at least 5 years. However, investment in real estate by dual nationals should not be classified as Direct Foreign Investment, if they repatriate all their money abroad in foreign exchange. All exclusive subsidies in property tax to retired civil and uniformed services must cease forthwith and such exemption be applicable to all senior citizens living in one self-occupied house constructed on 500 sq yds or less.
MALIK TARIQ ALI
Religious based violence
Pakistan has called for a collective effort to counter growing hate speech worldwide, which manifests into Islamophobia, racism and incitement to violence. Hate speech is on the rise worldwide which undermines social cohesion and tolerance and creates violence, racism, Islamophobia, hatred and other forms of intolerance and discrimination across the globe.
The Pakistan envoy in the UN called on the world to build consensus on the imperatives to strengthen education which is a powerful tool to counter hate speech and set out concrete recommendations to restrict and abolish this rising menace from the world. Hate speech incites violence, undermines diversity and social cohesion and threatens the common values and principles that bind us together.
Islamophobia is a manifestation of hate speech and religiously motivated crimes against Muslims due to their beliefs, religious attire, physical appearance, culture and traditions. There had been a series of ill-motivated incidents against Muslims aimed at hurting their religious beliefs through targeting their religion or religious personalities particularly in Europe, India, Myanmar and other countries in the recent past. These incidents largely disturbed the Muslims across the world.
Presently, Modi’s India has become the most insecure place for the Muslims where RSS and BJP goons have squeezed Indian soil for the Muslim population through limitless harassment, torture and insult of Muslim men and women in the streets, bazaars, schools and other public places across the country.
The international community has acknowledged the threat of growing racism, Islamophobia and religious-based violence in various countries and urged the world to combat this menace through dialogue, education and strict legislation. However, the global community must act swiftly against the States supporting religious and ethnic violence for political reasons and compel them to fulfil their obligations, so the minorities can prosper in the world.
QAZI JAMSHED SIDDIQUI
There is acute scarcity of water in some areas of Rawalpindi. The residents of the city are facing sewer water shortage due to poor supply from Rawal and Khanpur dams. Unscheduled load-shedding for many hours has been blamed for water crises. Ground water level has gone down while several tube wells have dried up because of fewer rains. Water shortage has increased manifold in the recent past amidst rising temperature.
The people demand regular water supply during the hot summer season. The construction of Daducha and Ghazi Brotha dam must be completed immediately to deal with the serious water shortage.
Experts had also warned that famine-like situations may arise if this issue is not solved timely. More water reservoirs are the need of the hour. The Rawalpindi Cantonment Board must put this alarming situation before concerned government officials and must try to solve this issue on a top priority basis.
A profoundly proud moment for Pakistan
Ahmad Nawaz, a survivor of the 2014 Army Public School massacre, has officially taken charge as the president of the Oxford University’s debating society. The young scholar was elected to the post on March 6 this year. According to his Tweet of June 21, he has formally assumed his duties as President of the Oxford Union.
The Pakistani nation takes unfeigned pride in this landmark achievement of Ahmed Nawaz. It heartily congratulates him for earning laurels for the country, and wishes him greater successes in his educational career in the years ahead.
M FAZAL ELAHI