"This is not the moment for me to go into which community has disgraced itself more"


No fair



According to news reports, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif went to Kasur to visit the family of a man who was burned by a mob after suicide attacks on two churches in Lahore. He condoled with them and vowed they would get justice. He also announced that more than 30 people had been arrested from Youhannabad in connection with the lynching.

I am deeply hurt for those who lost their lives because of the suicide bombings and also the two men who were lynched by the mob. I condemn both the incidents. The Christian youth should not have reacted in that way. But looking at the developments, I am compelled to ask the government to be fair.

The chief minister has visited the family of a lynching victim, but has not gone to condole with the Christian families. That makes some of us question if the authorities only recognize the grief of the Muslim side, but are overlooking the wrongs done to the Christians.

The chief minister has announced that suspects have been arrested from Youhannabad. I am not sure if those arrested were the real culprits, and I know one of the families, they are peaceful God-fearing people. They say their son was at home studying with a tutor when the incident took place. He and other suspects were taken away by plainclothesmen. They say he was was preparing for his exams when he was taken, and nobody knows his whereabouts. The parents of the men who have been taken into custody complained to the police, who refused to file a case. The authorities must know that they are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. They have the right to defend themselves and meet their families, and must not be tortured by the police the way it usually does.

The law is equal for everyone on paper, but in reality it is not so. We have seen it to be one sided. In Punjab, we see that happening to Christians, and in Sindh, to Hindus. Many Hindu girls have been abducted, forced to convert, married to Muslim men, and are not allowed to visit their families. The law-enforcement apparatus has not always been fair in such cases.

It is high time that justice is seen to be done by the minorities of Pakistan.

Abid Habib,





It takes a genius to come up with a fantastic idea to turn around an airline technically insolvent, over staffed, its revenues pilfered and more than half fleet grounded – to change the uniform of its stewardesses and stewards.

PIA’s losses continue to rise, its performance dismal, indiscipline at its peak, human resources going from bad to worse and cronyism continuing to have a toll on the company. Employees hired with fake degrees during 2007 to 2012, whose diplomas were declared bogus by HEC, not only continue to be on the payroll of the airline, but were promoted thereafter and sent on foreign postings, in violation of PIA Rules, based on the lame excuse that they have stay orders.

Perhaps Gordon Bethune was a graduate from Abilene Christian University, with an Advanced Management Course from Harvard School of Business. A licensed Airframe and Power Plant engineer and a CPL with type ratings, he served as Vice President and General Manager of Boeing’s Customer Services Division, and later the Renton Division, responsible for the production of B737 and B757. He then took over the loss making Continental Airlines in 1994, with its stocks slashed to $2. By 1997, the same stocks had risen to $50. But even he missed this brilliant idea of changing uniforms, which is certainly not mentioned in his book From Worst to First, now recommended for students of Harvard and other great business schools.

Ali Malik,


Final notice



Pakistan’s Al Capones – dealing in human trafficking, kickbacks, tax evasion, organized crime, extortion, land theft, and massive flight of capital from the country –  have become stronger and wealthier in the last two decades, evading judicial prosecution through political maneuvering and services of leading lawyers, as well as affiliation with the political elite and members of the establishment. Compared with them, Alphonse Gabriel Capone – who attained notoriety in Chicago during the Prohibition era, heading a mafia that ruled the city for seven years, but was caught in 1931, at the age of 33, and sentenced to 11 years in prison, for tax evasion, after an investigation launched by IRS special unit headed by Frank Wilson – was a child.

In 1927, the US Supreme Court had ruled that all income, earned through legal or illegal means, had to be declared. But the Al Capones of Pakistan hardly pay any income tax, run private armed militias killing thousands, openly indulge in occupation of state and private lands through threats and intimidation, living lifestyles they cannot justify, but and nobody dares to challenge them. Every other day, thousands of Pakistanis lose their lifelong savings in Ponzi schemes run in the name of housing.

Meanwhile, a model carrying half a million dollars caught by Customs in the VIP lounge of Islamabad Airport was put on a judicial remand.

Tariq Ali,


Job jab



The Local Council Board of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had advertised BPS-17 vacancies in the administration, engineering and accounts departments in leading newspapers in April last year. The screening test for the positions was conducted by the National Testing Service and the result was declared within a week. The NTS charged Rs 500 per application as test processing fee. Thousands of candidates applied for the jobs and traveled long distances to take the test. The candidates, most of them unemployed and poor, had to spend a lot of money in the process.

It has been a year since then but there have been no interviews. The matter was brought to the notice of Senior Minister for Local Government Inayatullah Khan, who assured the compainants that the recruitment process would be accelerated and all formalities will be completed as soon as possible. But now, it is being said that the Local Council Board has canceled the positions, wasting the money of the unemployed candidates who took the test.

Recently the board has advertised some new BPS-11 vacancies, and asked applicants to appear for a screening test conducted by the NTS. A large number of candidates will apply for the jobs, spending more money on traveling and the test processing fee. But many fear the board may cancel these positions too, and their money will be wasted yet again.

I request the provincial government to ensure that the candidates are kept updated about the status of the recruitment process, including the posts advertised in April 2014, for which interviews should also be conducted. The selection criteria should be mentioned on the websites of the NTS or the department concerned, duly explaining the weightage to be given to academics, the tests and the interview. The unemployed youth should have confidence in the transparency of the recruitment process.

Asif Khan Shinwari,

Lower Dir.

Reporter’s responsibility


As a student of journalism, sometimes I am shocked at the quality of reporting in our print and electronic media.

Reporters and journalists have certain privileges in a society. These privileges are not limited to freedom of speech. Reporters are allowed to hide their sources, who speak to them even in cases where they are in violation of regulations for doing so. Sometimes they even break rules, such as in sting operations. Analysts who appear on the media can influence all sectors of public policy in a way people in other professions cannot. These privileges have been allowed only for greater public good.

But what our reporters don’t understand is that with these privileges come certain responsibilities. The most important one of them is fairness. The concept of objectivity has been abandoned in favor of fairness recently. Newspapers are allowed to have an editorial stance, but the least they can do is be fair to all sides of a debate. Especially in the case of reporting, making allegations of wrongdoing on someone and not giving them space to defend themselves may amount to defamation. It has been established that journalism can only contribute to public good if it ensures diversity in the pool of opinions and ideas in a society. And while reporters are allowed to break certain regulations, they owe it to their society to be fair.

It is time Pakistani journalists give up the notion of reporting ‘truth’ as they see it, and give space the various perspectives on truth that exist in a society, including those that have been marginalized.

Raheel Shah,


One way



I want to draw your kind attention toward the difficulties of the residents of Jiwani Heights and nearby localities on the Karachi Superhighway. Thousand of these residents cross the Superhighway to go to work or school, and many come to the neighborhood from other parts of Karachi. One can see a large number of students, women and elderly waiting on the side of the busy road, and don’t get across until some of the cars decide to slow down for them.

During this waiting period, robbers take full advantage of our situation, snatching our belongings and mobile phones and running away. A large number of robberies and accidents have been reported in this area for quite some time. Last month, an elderly resident of Jiwani Heights, Mr Ghulam Karim, lost his life while crossing the superhighway.

I request the authorities concerned to build a proper road crossing facility in the form of a pedestrian bridge or an underpass, so that we can save our time, our belongings, and our lives.

Fida Karim,


Deep distress



In the light of the recent events in Lahore, I want to share with your readers an excerpt from Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s speech titled “Protection of minorities: A sacred undertaking”, which he delivered on 30th Octoer 1947. His guidelines are still valid today:

“A few days ago, I received harrowing accounts of the terrible happenings in the Punjab and the situation, from all accounts, appeared to be so grave that I decided to come to Lahore. On my arrival here, I immediately got in touch with various sources that were available to me and I was deeply grieved to realize that unfortunately, there was a great deal of truth in what had been told to me. I am speaking to you under deep distress and with a heavy heart. We have, undoubtedly, achieved Pakistan and that too without bloody war and practically peacefully by moral and intellectual force and with the power of pen which is no less mighty than the sword and so our righteous cause has triumphed. Are we now going to besmear and tarnish this greatest achievement for which there is not parallel in the whole history of the world by resorting to frenzy, savagery and butchery? And, will this lead us anywhere? Pakistan is now a fait accompli and it can never be undone, besides, it was the only just, honorable and practical solution of the most complex constitutional problem of this great sub-continent...

This is not the moment for me to go into the origin or cause of all that is happening or to apportion blame as to which community has disgraced itself more. It will be for the historians to give their verdict. Humanity cries loud against this shameful conduct and the deeds that have been committed. Those who are responsible for this holocaust must be dealt with an iron hand and put down ruthlessly. The civilized world is looking upon these doings and happenings with horror and the fair name of the communities concerned stands blackened in the eyes of the world. It is now up to the leaders and those responsible and in charge of the Governments to make their supreme effort to make amends for this indelible stigma.”

Zahid Khan,