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.

Musharraf indictment

The 1973 Constitution was first to be framed by elected representatives of people in what was left of Jinnah’s Pakistan after tragic loss of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1971. This Constitution very clearly elaborates that there exist only three branches of government, namely a bicameral legislature, an executive branch governed by PM as chief executive and an apex federal judiciary headed by Supreme Court. The powers of three pillars of state are derived and defined in the Constitution including their power to organize, raise and fund various necessary apparatus such as civil bureaucracy, uniformed security services, law enforcement, tax collection etc.
Retd Gen Musharraf served in Pakistan Army. MAJ in his 1948 address to Staff College Quetta very clearly elaborated upon their defined role. It is an unfortunate fact that Musharraf suspended and abrogated the Constitution twice, apart from other abuses like 12 May killings. The second time was in 2007 which did not get legal cover. This country has honoured and duly compensated all those who have served in our armed forces and given them pension and retirement benefits more than any in the region. However, the fact remains that all those who serve in paid civil or uniformed services, including elected political public office holders are subject to laws and must submit to Constitution.
Intrigues by remnant of British Raj such as Unionist Party and few paid members of civil and uniformed bureaucracy such as Maj Gen Iskandar Mirza and others like Ayub Khan succeeded with disastrous consequences for federation in 1971. Pakistan cannot afford another misadventure, nor can it allow Constitution to be held in abeyance. All institutions exist to serve people, who alone are masters of their destiny and very purpose of creation of Pakistan was welfare & security of citizens.

Justice and Judiciary

The special court has announced its verdict in the case of Gen (R) Pervaiz Musharraf on high treason charges. He was accused of being a traitor and awarded death sentence. Pervaiz Musharraf has served 40 plus years for this country and fought two major wars in his life. In 1979, when the Holy Kaaba was under attack by rebels, Pakistan was the only country to despatch her forces for the rescue operation. Gen Musharraf (perhaps, then Major) and his men cleansed Holy Kaaba and drove the rebels out of the holiest shrine.
The Judiciary, being a supreme national institution, must have taken the facts, which led to the imposition of emergency in 2007, into consideration while delivering its judgment. Pakistan, at the time was going through abnormal circumstances and no other measures, except emergency, could save the country from slipping into anarchy. Musharraf’s decision was the need of the hour. He took the said action to safeguard the country from the collateral damage. He built an awful impression of Pakistan on India as well as America.
In Musharraf’s tenure, India had not the courage to talk against Pakistan. He served this country and not a single case of corruption is against him. Keeping the above in mind, it is hoped that the Judiciary would reconsider its decision and exonerate Musharraf who is undergoing medical treatment in a hospital in foreign lands.

International cricket back in Pakistan

It is great to have international cricket back in Pakistan after a long time. It signals towards changing times and effective cricket diplomacy to improve Pakistan’s image abroad and normalize things. However, at the very same time it also brought my attention to underlying security situation of my country’s twin cities: Rawalpindi (where the match took place) and Islamabad.
The match from 19 Dec to 23 Dec has been a cause of serious trouble for the residents of twin cities. The roads are sealed like it’s a curfew situation. The alternative routes are jam packed, that is where the frustration comes from and metro was shut down which in a situation like this could have been opted as an option. Those commuting between Rawalpindi and Islamabad for their routine work or schools have been in serious strain.
This brings the attention to a very important question, whether we were ready for it? I don’t think so, yes cricket is very dear to Pakistanis and it sends a good image abroad but, not at the expense of our people and their time. In another scenario maybe we should have been given national holidays for a week so we all could enjoy cricket but not put through this stress (sarcasm intended). Lastly, I believe you cannot portray soft image of Pakistan by causing inconvenience to your citizens day and night like this. We are carriers of that image too.

Polio cases

The detection of fresh polio cases in Mirpur Khas and Swabi has taken the nationwide tally to 101, compared to eight in 2016 and 12 in 2017. Clearly, the polio situation has gone totally out of control. Pakistan, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, was one of those last countries where polio sill occurred, and where, if polio was eradicated, the disease would be eliminated from the world. Perhaps the most dangerous sign is that one case in Mirpur Khas had been administered two doses of vaccine according to his Routine Immunisation Card and seven according to his parents, while the other had had ten doses. That indicates that the vaccine might not be working.
In that case, the polio eradication may well be blown, not just for Pakistan, but for the whole world, because it might mean that the polio virus might have developed resistance to the polio vaccine. The alternative is that Pakistan has been supplied defective vaccines. That implies that those vaccinated with the defective batch would have to be re-vaccinated. Considering that the vaccinations might date back to the past, and the affected children may no longer be in the same place, the difficulties multiply. It may be noted that a polio case has only been very recently detected in Malaysia, again an indication that vaccines are not to be trusted.
Developing a new vaccine might not be easy, but it will need to be done if that is the problem. At the same time, the government has obviously not been giving the issue enough attention. That has to change if polio is to be eradicated from the country, and thus the world. There needs to be a thorough and transparent investigation and study into why 2019 has seen such a surge in polio cases in the country as compared to the past few years and what steps need to be taken in order to get this direful situation under control before it is too late. Result- oriented actions are need of the hour to eradicate this harmful disease.

Autism in Pakistan

Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behaviour. Parents usually notice signs during the first three years of their child’s life.
This happens when the brain develops differently and has trouble making sense of the world and helping someone communicate. Everyday our brains interpret the things we see smell, hear, taste, touch and experience. However, when someone’s brain has trouble interpreting these things, it can make it hard to talk, listen, understand, play and learn. It is an estimation that 350,000 children in Pakistan suffer from Autism and this number is increasing day by day. Teaching and training of these children require thorough professionals and specialized equipment.
Unfortunately, there is very little awareness about Autism in Pakistan. In addition, there a are few places where these children can be managed. The earlier the child starts getting help, the better. Parents are usually the first to think that something could be wrong. There is no cure for Autism but doctors, therapists and special education teachers can help these kids to learn and communicate better. Some children who have mild symptoms might live a normal life; some children might require some kind of help. However, all will have brighter the future when they have the support and understanding of their families, doctors, teachers, therapists and friends.