"Pakistani men have the ability to manipulate every campaign for women rights just because their toxic masculinity does not allow them to see a liberated woman" The Friday Times, Plot No 52-53, N-Block, Main Guru Mangat Road, Gulberg II, Lahore, Pakistan. ...


Symbolic gesture


India intensified the pressure on Pakistan by withdrawing the most favoured nation (MFN) status. However, I think is this is largely symbolic. The gesture is unlikely to affect bilateral trade, which is $2 billion by the usual route and about $6 billion via Dubai and Singapore.

I believe such an action can also lead to increased illegal trade between the two countries. Pakistan is yet to give India an MFN status, and maintains a list of 1,200 items whose import has been banned from India.

The MFN portrays bilateral relationships following both General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) and World Trade Organisation norms of reciprocity and non-discrimination. In such relationships, some privilege granted by a party extends only to those parties which reciprocate that privilege. Readers may refer to the dictionary of economic terms or other sources. The MFN status is given to an international trade partner to ensure non-discriminatory trade between all partner countries of the WTO. A country which provides the MFN status to another country has to provide concessions, privileges, and immunity in trade agreements. According to WTO guidelines, a member country is not allowed to discriminate between trade partners and if special status is granted to one trade partner, the country is required to extend it to all members of the WTO. It only ensures non-discrimination, which means treating virtually everyone equally.

I do hope better sense will prevail over the region and that tensions deescalate. War does not help anyone.

Sarmad Shah,


Unity for Kashmir


History tells us that nations rise and fall depending on their unity against enemies. Arabs, as long as they remained united, ruled over large areas of Spain and Europe for 800 years. As soon as power struggles started within, Isabella and Ferdinand - rulers of Aragon and Castile - formed a united front in 1492, raising a strong army.

They conquered local Arab rulers, who were clashing with each other for lust of power. Finally, the grand state of Grenada also fell and Arabs lost everything due to lack of cohesion and unity. Our politicians with different ideologies need to forge a united front, at least for external opponents, or we won’t get anywhere. They need to put up a solid front to display solidarity with the people of Indian-administered Kashmir.

Just declaring a holiday on February 5 and taking out small rallies in distinct groups is a sign of disunity, not solidarity. At least for this purpose, there should be one united rally of all parties. Such a huge display of unity is likely to draw greater attention from the world, and provide great moral support to the people of held Kashmir who have struggling against Indian brutality for a long time.

Rabia Bhatti,


Job openings


Recently, the Sindh Public Service Commission announced vacancies in the education department. I was shocked to see the required qualifications for these jobs. In the Punjab, education officers are selected merely on an MA degree. The quality of education in Sindh is poorer than the Punjab. The education minister claims that he is trying to transform the education department but I do not buy this as aspirants are being held back from the chance of getting a job due to his policies.

A large number of candidates have started protesting in front of Hyderabad Press Club and are demanding that these jobs should be based on a masters degree instead of something higher.

I request the Sindh education minister and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to look into this matter.

Raza Ahmed,


Aurat March


On March 8, 2019, women of Pakistan are set to march for social and economic equality in Karachi and Lahore. This will be the second gathering of its kind after Aurat March 2018. The question is that, are we going to witness the same kind of male chauvinism and misogyny afterwards just like we experienced last year? Remember, a banner saying Khana khud garam karlo (heat your food yourself) ignited a huge debate among men. Well, I think the answer is yes. Pakistani men have the ability to manipulate every other campaign for women rights just because their toxic masculinity does not allow them to see a liberated woman. They malign and ridicule every such campaign and make memes on social media. Whether it is Aurat March or a campaign to end dowry, they are always trying to bring women down. It is sad to see that even in the contemporary era, our women are still struggling to get their basic rights. Hopefully sanity among men will someday prevail.

Nauman Haseeb,


Improving Pakistan Railways


As we can all see, Pakistan Railways is being revamped and attempts are being made to turn it into a vibrant organ of Pakistan’s modern infrastructure. The railways minister seems determined to make all possible way for its progress.

I want to convey a request to the railway minister: I would urge him to launch an intercity fast train between Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Margalla Station is there. This station can be used for cargo trains and Margalla Express also. Margalla Station is surrounded by many educational institutions and offices as well. Furthermore, the metro service is available at H-8 point and well-connected for further communication for the daily commuters.

An intercity train facility is the need of hour. Trains all over the world are meant to provide cheap, comfortable and quick services to daily commuters so that they may save their precious time and money and reach their workplaces without any tension. As we know, the volume of traffic is increasing on roads day by day. Driving is itself has become a great ordeal. Parking issues are growing. Now big cities managers and Pakistan Railways should sit together and work on this. Railway Carriage Factory has the ability to design and manufacture an intercity train keeping in view the demands for urban transport. We are already lagging behind 50 or 100 years from the modern world. I do hope the railway minster will ponder over this humble suggestion.

Maria Khawar,