"We need to rethink our present way of celebrating Independence Day, because we cannot afford to spend huge amounts of money on unnecessary shows of celebration, when poor people in the country are dying of hunger and lack basic amenities" The Friday Times, ...


Independence Day celebrations


Leaders who assumed power after the creation of Pakistan set a trend to celebrate Independence Day every year. The celebration was full of joy and enthusiasm. Public buildings were lit with homemade ‘diyas’. The trend continued, though the enthusiasm started to wane after a few years. The focus shifted from actually celebrating the day our country was born, to shows of extravagance.

We did not learn anything from the tragedy of 1971, when half the country was lost forever. We opted to live on borrowed money, falling in a trap of debt where we had to borrow more to pay off older debts.

We need to rethink our present way of celebrating Independence Day, because we cannot afford to spend huge amounts of money on unnecessary shows of celebration, when poor people in the country are dying of hunger and lack basic amenities. Given the huge burden of external and internal loans on the country, we need to rethink our ways of spending and save every penny in order to get rid of our debts. Only by making our economy strong and reducing the burden of debts can we justify real celebrations.

I would also appeal to our politicians to shun their differences and forge unity in national interest and for a better and prosperous Pakistan. The country cannot afford to keep spending on new elections or tainted processes while economy keeps drowning in debt. Let’s make a pledge to celebrate this Independence Day by saving and contributing to a stronger Pakistan, than wasting borrowed money on showing off.

Rana Haider,


Student’s murder


The murder of a student of National College of Arts (NCA) has once again demonstrated the depth of human depravity. Qutab Gul Rind was a young artist and the only child of his parents. He was killed by his landlord because he apparently failed to pay rent on time.

This is such a terrible motive to take away someone’s life. On social media, people are claiming that Qutab was murdered on charges of blasphemy, yet no evidence has been found to corroborate this.

In Pakistan, people have been killing each other over petty issues for many years and Qutab’s murder is not the first murder case involving blasphemy that has come to light.

Mashal Khan, a student of Abdul Wali Khan Mardan University, was also killed over false allegations. Teams investigating the case told the court that they did not find any evidence against Mashal. Essentially, he was killed for some petty revenge. Before his murder, he had criticised his university for various reasons. He also accused faculty members over the excessive fees students were forced to pay. People involved in Mashals’s murder awarded death sentences and life imprisonments. The same kind of justice is needed in Qutub’s case.

Cases of public lynching have become common practice and yet no one seems appalled!

Aisha Khan,


Declining forests


Forests have a vital role in maintaining a safe, habitable environment for many ecosystems. Forests should at least cover 25 percent of the total area of a country. Unfortunately, in Pakistan only 4.5 percent of the total area is covered by forests.

Deforestation is the main environmental concern in the world. Deforestation includes cutting down, burning and destroying of trees. It is the first step towards environment degradation which is soon followed by erosion, climatic changes, pollution and the loss of hardwood and fuel wood.

I would like to request the government of Pakistan to cover all our open areas by trees, and let new trees grow happily in Pakistan. Please stop cutting them down.

Zareena Khan,


Secular state?


India proudly claims 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 that ideal.

Recently they claimed that it was a sin for a Muslim to even touch or kill a cow. It was their belief that the lynching of Muslims in the country was a knee-jerk reaction to sinners that dared to eat beef. The leaders went as far as to demand that the Indian government declare cows “rashtra mata”, or the mother of the nation.

RSS leader Indresh Kumar is leading the movement to declare the cow a sacred entity around the nation 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, as they strive to achieve their dream for a ‘cow nation’.

These leaders argue that cow slaughter has been a sin across religions, including Islam, as it was banned in Mecca and Medina, and even Christianity. They went on to make a ridiculous claim that “Jesus was born in a cowshed that is why they call it the ‘Holy Cow’”, and that “we should make it a resolution to rid humanity of this sin (cow slaughter and beef eating).” However, quite interestingly the Indian prime minister, who was visiting African countries in order 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 and are willing to give excuses to justify the illegal lynching of Muslims across the country.

Jawad Tahir,


Education in Gwader


I want to draw the attention of the new government in Balochistan towards the state of education in Gwadar, which has recently presented us some very disappointing results.

Women in our society do not have access to quality education and thousands of people are, as a result, being driven to poverty in the region, due to shortage of opportunities. However, the government had promised to involve local people of Gwadar in its development projects by providing jobs and other prospects. Yet, no one government has taken any concrete steps regarding this matter since the establishment of the seaport back in 2004.

More alarming is the shortage of funds, as the government has shown no sincerity in promoting or developing educational facilities in Gwadar.

The children, especially girls, are desperately in need of schooling, as no technical institutions, medical colleges and or other schools have been established that can be said to be at par with educational institutes in other parts of the country. The federal government should take solid steps in order to improve this state of affairs and help to provide a better education system for the young generation of Gwadar.

Ali Leghari,