"I hope Imran Khan lives up to the enormous expectations of the people. Even if he just stabilises the economy and improves the education system, those would be great achievements" The Friday Times, Plot No 52-53, N-Block, Main Guru Mangat Road, Gulberg II, ...


Excluded from elections


On July 25, people across Pakistan voted to elect representatives of their choosing. However, nearly 9.2 million people of Giligit-Baltistan were excluded from this decision and had to contend with watching the election from a distance. Although this part of the country was also liberated from colonial rule seven decades ago, the people of the region gave not voted in elections for the National Assembly and the Senate since 1947.

Along with Azad Kashmir, G-B is part of disputed regions of Pakistan. The people of this region need to be allowed to vote for candidates that might have the power to shape their future.

G-B Orders of 2009 and 2018 gave the region with provincial powers but they failed to provide citizens of this area the basic right to vote. We are prisoners of geography, says one commentator from G-B. I appeal to authorities to look into the matter and give G-B proper constitutional status so its people can cast their votes in the next elections.

Zulfiqar Mengal,


Interpreting the stars


Some TV channels were making astrological predictions about general elections. Some were predicting the fate of certain politicians. Any educated person would know that these predictions have no scientific basis.

Countless people, including psychologists, lawyers, and writers fall prey to fortune tellers and psychics. In the US, a psychic was sentenced to 10 years for hoodwinking people. Will someone stop pseudo-scientific Zodiac predictions on television? Charlatanism should not be broadcasted.

Alia Khan,


Secular state?


India is supposed to be a secular state. Yet senior leaders of Prime Minister Modi’s Bharatya Janata Party, especially their militant wing, Rashtraya Swayem Sevak Sangh, have made a mockery of this ideal. Recently they claimed that it was a sin for Muslims to touch or kill a cow. It was their belief that the rising lynching of Muslims in the country was a knee-jerk reaction to the sinners that dared to eat beef. The leaders went as far as to demand that the government declare cows “rashtra mata”, or the mother of the nation.

RSS leader Indresh Kumar is leading the movement to declare the cow as a sacred entity and he is being supported by senior BJP leader and union minister Giriraj Singh, as well as former BJP MP and Hindutva poster boy Vinay Katiyar. These leaders say that cow slaughter was a sin across religions and that it was banned in Mecca and Medina, and even Christianity. They went on to make the ridiculous argument that “Jesus was born in a cowshed that is why they call it the ‘Holy Cow’. However, quite interestingly the Indian prime minister, who was visiting African countries to try to dilute Chinese influence in the region, has, in stark contrast, gifted 200 cows to Rwanda.

For a country that strives to be a secular state, it is concerning that such a large percentage of their population, and many of their senior political leaders have started to support the rhetoric spewed by Hindu fanatics

Ayaz Khan,


Reviving Sindh University


University of Sindh is second oldest university in the country and caters to the educational needs of thousands of students. Unfortunately, for quite some time it was ruled by ‘student mafias’ backed by political parties. These organisations are responsible for murders on campus. They disrupted academic activities and they almost destroyed the university’s reputation.

However, with diligence and passion the university successfully brought the turbulent institution back on the path of peace and academic stability. It is making great progress today. There are certain academic gaps that the university suffers from. If these gaps are filled, it will help many students get knowledge.

Firstly, there is a dire need of debating societies. There are many students with poor communication skills who could benefit from these. Debating societies not only produce competitive students but also create respect among students for one another. Secondly, students are taught using outdated methods, research is completely absent from the curriculum and students are inclined towards rote learning. This needs to be amended. Research centres should be made where knowledge is not only disseminated, but also created.

Thirdly, too many students get away with plagiarism which is completely unacceptable. This practice needs to be clamped down on immediately.

Junaid Khan,


Prime Minister Imran Khan


Blaise Pascal was a 17th century French philosopher, mathematician and physicist. He came up with an interesting idea about the existence of God which is referred to as Pascal’s Wager. According to the wager, one should believe in God because one loses nothing whether God exists or not.

Some of my family and friends used similar logic to vote for Imran Khan’s party in the general elections. They said the country had tried the other two major parties and they were inept and corrupt. They said it is time to give Imran Khan a chance; they were wagering that this was a safe bet.

First of all, it is not as simple as Pascal’s Wager, where one does not lose anything. In fact, Imran Khan could lead the country into turmoil not because he is corrupt, but because of his lack of governing abilities, capacity to compromise and decision making.

Imran Khan definitely has some qualities which endears him to the educated middle class and young Pakistanis. He is fiscally honest, tenacious and pugnacious. These qualities made him successful as a cricketer. He built a strong political party and then forced the judiciary (with the support of the military) to disqualify the sitting prime minister and had him sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of corruption. There is no doubt that these are great achievements, but in Pakistan reality is very difficult to comprehend. The words Winston Churchill once used for Russia are very appropriate for Pakistani politics today, “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”

It is very hard to know what strings are being pulled from behind the scenes by the most powerful institution in Pakistan - the military - which has a history of manipulating the political system. At one time, Nawaz Sharif was a darling of the military. During his previous tenure as PM, he was deposed through a military coup d’état and sent into exile. Soon after he was re-elected, he tried to wrestle control of some key areas like intelligence, foreign affairs, from the military. His relations with the military top brass soured because the military considered these areas their own purview and considered the civilian government inept to manage such sensitive matters. They continued to undermine his government until his disqualification.

Nawaz Sharif was an incompetent PM and his government failed to solve most of the country’s major problems. Pakistan’s economy is in shambles. On internal security, however, he was able to create a consensus of all parties which allowed the armed forces to go after external jihadi elements and the Taliban in the Tribal Areas with full force.

It seems that Pakistani military has learned to maintain its grip on the political system and major areas of civilian control without resorting to armed takeovers. They are content with this setup at least for the time being. Their minions project their point of view on TV, newspapers and other media outlets as if they were a political party. As an institution, they are the most organised and it shows. Their popularity is always extremely high.

The military wants a pliant PM who tows their line and manages the country’s affairs according to their wishes. Since Bhutto’s time, PPP has been an anathema to the army generals. Nawaz Sharif with his outbursts against the military after his disqualification, has definitely further antagonised the armed forces. Imran Khan has been looking for help from the generals since the days of his infamous sit-in (dharna). I hope that he lives up to the enormous expectations of the people. Even if he could just stabilise the economy and improve the education system, those would be great achievements. His die-hard supporters will never lose faith in him, but let’s hope the rest don’t lose their wager.

Abroo Shah,

Via email.