"Is the Pakistani state so impotent that a few thousand men carrying bamboo sticks can hold this system hostage?" The Friday Times, Plot No 52-53, N-Block, Main Guru Mangat Road, Gulberg II, Lahore, Pakistan. 042.35779186; Fax: 042.35779186, email: ...


Islamabad held hostage


Why were a few miscreants allowed to march up to Islamabad’s Red Zone, all in a bid to make this country look like a “banana republic”? Those responsible must be punished for making the wrong decisions. The political parties who resorted to such tactics have been rejected at the ballot. Previously, another clergy who had adopted the Canadian nationality, swearing allegiance to the Queen and state, conveniently came to Pakistan, and created havoc with law and order in Islamabad. Is the Pakistani state so impotent that a few thousand men carrying bamboo sticks can hold this system hostage to demands that a large majority of Muslims living in this country do not agree with?

Pakistan was carved out of undivided India under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam, Allama Iqbal and other leaders of the Muslim League, while a vast majority of the clergy was opposed to its creation. The purpose was to create a country where the Muslim majority could live in peace with members of other faiths as per teachings of tolerance and peace emphasised in Islam. Every Muslim is answerable only to God on matters of faith and obligations to society and not to any individual member of the clergy.

Mumtaz Qadri murdered the person he was supposed to protect. Universally accepted code of ethics required him to resign, if he had any reservations, but he did not do so. If every individual in uniform were allowed to act in this manner, there would be chaos, much like what exists in Somalia. His admirers should let God decide his fate in the hereafter, instead of politicising this unfortunate incident.

If this government does not have the capacity or will to perform its constitutional duty to enforce the rule of law, then either the minister concerned or PM must resign. In a democracy, ministers who fail must accept responsibility. A few months back our finance minister spent millions advertising a tax amnesty scheme for traders, which failed miserably. Morality and ethics demand he should quit.

Ali M T,


Responsibility abandoned


It is not the first time that after a bomb blast, the authorities and media have shown the CNIC (Computerized National Identity Card) of a suspect, and have stated that he was a suicide bomber. After a few days, it is revealed that he is not the suicide bomber in question but rather just an ordinary citizen.

The same thing happened after the Lahore blast as the authorities concerned and media showed the CNIC of a person named Yousuf. After the blast, his CNIC was shown and he was named as the suicide bomber. But now the investigation has taken a new turn as police have said that the identity card found from the location of the blast did not belong to the suicide bomber.

Law enforcers arrested three of his brothers and raided a seminary he was teacher at. But now it is clear that Yousuf only came to visit the park, however the media and authorities concerned are not being held accountable.

The government and media should apologise to his family for this incident. PEMRA should also take action against channels and whoever provided this CNIC to the media should also be punished. If the CNIC was found on the park floor and the media took footage of it, then this also shows inefficiency because the media should not have been allowed to go inside the crime scene at that stage.

Mubashir Mahmood.



Tobacco in Pakistan


I would like to draw attention towards the use of tobacco in Pakistan. About 100,000 people have died annually from tobacco usage in Pakistan; the substance kills nearly six million people each year, out of which almost 600,000 die from second-hand smoke. Pakistan is among the top-four countries in the world with rapid increase in the tobacco market, and it is becoming a growing problem and a serious health challenge in the county. It has been estimated that in Pakistan, around 40 percent males and nine percent females are known as smokers, and the number of smokers is increasing every day in the country.

So, it is really shocking to say that despite tobacco killing almost one in 10 adults worldwide, it remains unchecked and uncontrolled during the 21st Century. In the 20th Century, the tobacco epidemic killed 100 million people worldwide. People have the right to choose whether they want to smoke or not, but a significant health hazard needs to be kept in check. The government should make it hard for people to smoke, or as an alternative ensure that those who smoke are made aware of the risks that smoking entails.

Shakeel Phullan,



Drying up


It was not shocking to read that around 16 million Pakistanis do not have access to clean water. UK-based WaterAid released a report on World Water Day, which is celebrated on the 22nd March of every year.

It is for sure that clean water is not available easily. Even in a city like Karachi, water is a big issue. Many areas are without water and they have to rely on water tankers, which charge heavily.

It is also surprising that water is always available for tankers, even if the entire city is facing a shortage. Print, electronic and social media, and multinational corporations (MNC) must play a vital role in this regard. MNCs must at least provide clean water for drinking in villages and slum areas, as it is their corporate social responsibility (some MNCs are already doing it).

I have no expectation from the government in this regard, therefore there is no need to demand anything from them.

Mubashir Mahmood,


Neglecting Khewzia tehsil


I was surprised to know that in this educated world, the children of Khewzia tehsil leave their education before passing eighth grade. As the area is without high schools and cannot afford to send their children to big cities, the population of Khewzia is nearly 60,000, but is considered one of the most backward and has a low literacy rate. Earlier in 2003-04, the government had built some schools, but unfortunately in 2008, half of the schools were bombed and damaged by militants. Beside this, hospitals are few in number and doctors do not attend to their duties. Many facilities such as laboratories and X-ray tests are not available. This shows that the people of Khewzia are totally deprived of their basic rights. It is the responsibility of the government and political administration to resolve their basic problems as soon as possible.

Sanaullah Samad,


Urdu to Urdish


It is a known fact that language plays an essential role for the development of a nation and which is the only measure by which a nation can be considered as one and get success in this world. But, it is sad to mention that our national language (Urdu) is tackling multiple problems in Pakistan, where a mixture of Urdu and English (Urdish) is being used in the entire country. Urdish medium has taken the place of Urdu, the former being full of English words; especially in course books, which are full of a mixture of English and Urdu.

It is a fact that primary education is the base of all education, where children develop a better understanding of their own mother tongue and every child must be taught their own language first, not others. However, today our child-centric society tends to ignore the needs of children when they start going to schools. The controversy is destroying educational standards and is adversely affecting the growth of young minds. The young children who are instructed in their own mother tongue have a better understanding of what they are taught, which facilitates their cognitive development. When they are denied their own language, then surely they would never learn to think in a progressive way. Teachers need to be trained fully and must be careful when they teach subjects in schools.

So, it is really shocking that even educated people fail to understand the Urdu language, with these people also resorting to using Urdish. In this regard, we are killing two birds with one stone, where both languages are not being done justice with. So, I humbly request the government to take some serious steps in order to eliminate this major issue in our country where the Urdu medium must not be involved in other mediums.

Shakeel Baloch,


Pakistani dons


Those familiar with Mario Puzo’s Godfather must be familiar with role of consigliore, the one who advises the don on safeguards required for implementing criminal acts to prevent his implication in any legal prosecution. This book was based on the Italian mafia’s involvement in criminal activities from 1945 to 1955. Pakistan itself has been hostage to various criminal mafias involved in criminal activities, such as land grabbing, forming cartels, black marketing, tax evasion and organised crime involved in target killings, extortion, rape, kidnapping for ransom, money laundering etc. Profits generated by the criminal economy are so lucrative and tempting that international criminals and terrorists have started threatening the very existence of the country.

Unlike the consigliore who was solely involved with the criminal mafia, the Pakistani mafia dons have hired services of leading legal eagles and lawyers of repute, some of them even elected officials and involved in Bar politics. The Pakistani version of a consigliore has been seen to go to any extent. So powerful are Pakistani white crime specialist advisors to our mafia dons, that to-date, not a single criminal, murderer or target killer has ever been punished in Pakistan.

Aneela Chandio,



Remembering Bhutto


“Whether he is to hang or live, the consequences will be far reaching. He has ruled the politics of Pakistan as prime minister and prisoner. He or his ghost will continue to rule them,” wrote Pran Chopra, a noted analyst and commentator, in If I am Assassinated, which was smuggled out from the death cell of the former prime minister. The man who gave the country its unanimously agreed constitution was kept in a “stinking death cell”, but Bhutto is still ruling the hearts and minds of millions of poor of the country.

ZAB was loved and adored by his countrymen, whom he gave a voice; a voice to stand up for their rights, for justice and equality. His contribution in introducing the sprit of democracy in the country has even been recognised by his worst enemies. The first elected prime minister in history to be hanged to death by a dictator and the enemies of the masses having vested interests was Adnan Menderes of Turkey in 1961, who preferred the gallows to bowing before tyrants. The world community requested the Turkish government in the strongest possible words for mercy. Then president Ayub Khan sent his foreign minister, Bhutto, to Turkey; ZAB met Jamal Gurcel to plead the case of Adnan Menderes, but Gurcel was of the view that the hanging would solve Turkey’s problems. ZAB in very clear words said to the Turkish strong man that the hanging would be the start of unlimited problems for Turkey. History has proved that how farsighted ZAB was, but exactly after 18 years, Bhutto himself was hanged. Zia didn’t learn a lesson from history, as for him his own life and power were far more important than the future of Pakistan. ZAB was the most popular and charismatic leader of Pakistan, the man who wanted to “rebuild hope in the future”. Tariq Ali, in his book The Duel, has narrated a complete episode, quoting a senior Pakistani foreign office official. Henry Kissinger, while warning ZAB against pursuing a nuclear programme, had no idea that Bhutto would turn into a legacy, and will live in the hearts of millions.

The world leaders of the time always sought his advise on global matters and he was respected by all. Oriana Fallaci, in her book Interview with History, recounts him in the words of Dr. Henry Kissinger as “very intelligent, very brilliant”.

He was a man of iron, who very gracefully went to the gallows, thus conveying a message in clear and loud words not to bow heads before dictators, tyrants and oppressors, and his message was carried forward by his daughter, who also sacrificed her life for the people her father wanted to stand up for. The unfortunate people of this country will always miss him and he will remain in the hearts of generations to come. No one knows or remembers those who conspired to kill him, but he is loved not only in Pakistan but the world over.

Benazir Bhutto, the eldest daughter of ZAB, in her book narrates a meeting with her father when he was facing the gallows. She recalled how strong his nerves were, and quoted him saying, “You don’t understand, do you pinkie. They are going to kill me. It doesn’t matter what evidence you or any one comes up with. They are going to murder me for a murder I didn’t commit. My life is in God’s hands, not any ones else’s. I am prepared to meet God whenever He calls me. My conscience is clear. What is important for me is my name, my honor and my place in history. And I am going to fight for it.” ZAB proved his words true,

Aamir Aqil,



NADRA office problems


The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) Office in Turbat is one of the most important government offices in the city where the populace look to in order to get their B-forms and CNICs. This place is often crowded, but there are not adequate arrangements to cater to the needs of the people.

In fact, there is no proper sitting arrangement for the people who wait for their turn in the office. There isn’t even any shade, and people have to bear the brunt of the hot sun during the day. Moreover, there is a lack of cold drinking water for the people, and therefore a visit to the NADRA office is nothing less than a nightmare for the people of Turbat. Another important problem faced at this office is the electricity supply. There are no alternative power arrangements for this office. So when there is load shedding, then all the tasks of the office are suspended, causing immense inconvenience to the people.

I humbly request the chief minister of Balochistan to take prompt notice of this issue and provide relief to the people of his hometown.

Shakeel Phullan,