"Newspapers have not been paid for four months, making salary payments difficult" The Friday Times, Plot No 52-53, N-Block, Main Guru Mangat Road, Gulberg II, Lahore, Pakistan. 042.35779186; Fax: 042.35779186, email: tft@thefridaytimes.com *Letters must carry ...


Balochistan newspapers


It is depressing to see that newspapers and periodicals are now a target since militant groups had lifted a ban on their circulation. The government has imposed a 17% tax on newspapers and periodicals, precipitating an immense economic setback to the already crippled local media (newspapers) in Balochistan.

A council of editors led by senior journalists has reacted badly to the development and demanded a tax free press in the province. A delegation led by journalist Anwar Sajidi met Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo to apprise him of the conditions of the industry. Although the CM assured of cooperation by removing the tax for newspapers and periodicals, a notification has yet to be issued.

Newspapers have not been paid either for four months making salary payments difficult. The newspaper employees union is understandably upset. The Supreme Court has directed media owners to ensure timely payments of wages. There is a plan to meet the home minister to resolve the matter. Newspapers could not be distributed for one year. The All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) for Balochistan’s newspapers has not helped either.

Asad Khan Betini,

Freelance journalist.

Tax amnesty


The government has announced another tax amnesty for those who indulge in tax evasion. Since these crooks know they will get the benefit of an amnesty every year, they refuse to stop their nefarious activities. But honest taxpayers, who pay up to 35% in income tax, have to suffer every year the harassment meted out by the tax hounds. The Chief Justice of Pakistan should take suo moto notice and order the government to cancel the amnesty scheme, or refund the amount of taxes paid for the past ten years by honest citizens. As for those who thought of this scheme and those who will approve it in the National Assembly and the Senate, “laanat” on them!

Shakir Lakhani,


Expensive universities


The most important problem in our nation faces is a lack of an inexpensive education.

You must make university education more affordable for everyone. Many people who are good in college and have skills don’t go to university because it is to expensive. Only the rich can afford the fees. I believe that a university education must be within the reach of people who have the intellect. Anyone can educate themselves given the opportunity and resources but it needs to be accessible and affordable.

Syeda Kehkashan Anwar,


Grade 12 schooling


The whole world will be celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8. For 24 hours the world will focus its attention on women and the challenges they face for security, well-being and empowerment.

It is imperative that we, in Pakistan focus our attention and funds on empowering our girls through education. Pakistan still has 22.6 million out-of-school children and 53% of them are girls. (There are 52% in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 44% in Punjab and a staggering 75% in Balochistan are girls). Some fortunate girls do end up in school but many are unlikely to go beyond primary.

In my province, KP, the net enrolment for girls at primary is 51%. This drops to just 17% in middle school and becomes as little as 8% at high school.

I appeal to everyone to demand access to quality education for our girls at least till twelfth grade.

Hisham Khan,

Via email.