"A horrifying mental health problem has infected the minds of this country's children, and it is the parents and educational institutions who are to blame" The Friday Times, Plot No 52-53, N-Block, Main Guru Mangat Road, Gulberg II, Lahore, Pakistan. ...


Myth and reality


There is a view that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government was very efficient in their last term. The rate of inflation went down by three percent and over the past two years, the GDP rate rose by five percent to its highest point in the last 13 years. Under their government, the country’s exports touched the mark of Rs17 billion. On May 24 last year, the Karachi Stock Exchange reached its highest mark in history at 52876.46 points. Local and international investment rates also increased and this become feasible due to the development and infrastructure projects planned under CPEC. Talking about provincial performance, it was claimed that the Punjab lead all the other provinces in terms of education and infrastructure. However this turned out to be proven false. Where did these ‘facts’ come from, if they do not paint a true picture of Pakistan’s current situation?

On April 26, the economic survey report was presented to the press. According to this report, in the PML-N’s tenure, only once has the tax collection target been achieved. Moreover, the claims of lowered inflation have also been proven baseless, because in reality, inflation went up by 13 percent yearly in the last five years, whereas, poverty rose by two percent in the same time period. The economic targets for exports, current accounts and budget deficits could also not be achieved by the PML-N government.

Today Pakistan’s debt has risen past the Rs24,000 billion mark, meaning that every Pakistani citizen, employed or unemployed, has a debt of Rs125,000. This number was at Rs58,000 rupees when the PPP government left office in 2013. Furthermore, a recent report estimated that for every one bed in our hospitals, there are approximately 1,580 patients, for every one doctor there are 957 patients, and for our entire population, which is over two hundred million strong, there are only a total of 1,211 hospitals.

In such a precarious condition, how can Pakistan possibly hope to develop?

Faisal Raza,


Ruling elite, weapons and militancy


Less than 24 hours after taking oath as member of Sindh Assembly, a delinquent and despicable MPA decided to celebrate the Independence Day by ruthlessly beating an ordinary citizen over a minor traffic issue in Karachi. Two factors came together to give this lowly creature the incentive for his obnoxious behaviour.

First the realisation that he had now become a card holder of Pakistan’s lawless ruling elite and the second that he was escorted by his armed goons who would facilitate any barbarity or illegality that he decides to embark upon.

For over a decade, Citizens Against Weapons have highlighted the deep relationship between Pakistan’s ruling elite, weapons and militancy. Track any crime in Pakistan and these three disgusting factors would be found occupying the centre stage. If the new government has any desire to bring sanity to Pakistan, it ought to implement the following actions as some of its first tasks.

First, ban all weapons in the hands of all civilians, regardless of the bore of the weapon or the status of the citizen and introduce a weapon surrender and buy-back programme. Second, it should cancel all weapon licenses issued so far to any individual. Third, it should declare a complete ban on possession, carrying, display, sale or purchase of weapons. Finally, it should withdraw all police protection given to influential people in Pakistan so that they learn to behave like ordinary citizens.

Asad Kizilbash,

Via email.

Unsavoury antics


I live near Walton Road in Lahore. Those familiar with the city know that this is a major artery and is often full of traffic, even at night and on weekends. The only break we get from the noise and pollution is on national holidays. But not on August 14.

Our youth has created an absurd tradition of riding bikes and cars without silencers at full speed on this day, while hooting, blowing horns and engaging in other kinds of unsavoury antics.

I don’t blame them, it is not like they have any other recreational outlets for their energies. However, I am still writing this letter hoping that some young people will read this and reconsider how they celebrate Independence Day for the sake of old timers such as myself. And of course, they should be concerned about own safety as well.

Zulfiqar Rana,


Attack on Chinese engineers


Pakistan recently condemned a terrorist attack on Chinese engineers and their accompanying FC personnel in Dalbandin.

Earlier, an attack in southwest Pakistan targeted a bus carrying Chinese engineers had wounded at least five people including two Chinese nationals. The attack came in the Dalbandin region, around 340km (211 miles) from Quetta, when the Chinese engineers working on a mineral project were being transported to the city.

The local administration said two paramilitary soldiers providing security to the driver of the bus were wounded in the attack alongside the two Chinese nationals. According, to one senior police officer, the attacker was waiting in a small truck along the route, exploded the vehicle when the bus carrying Chinese engineers came close to him. The body of the suicide attacker was blown up in the attack and his vehicle caught fire. One wonders if the government has had any real success in curbing terrorism. Given how much Pakistan’s economy depends on CPEC and its projects, it is vital that our Chinese comrades be able to work alongside us in peace and security. The government must take serious steps against terrorists who don’t want Pakistan to develop.

Tariq Rafique,


Suicide over exam results


In Chitral, four students recently committed suicide because they were unhappy with their Intermediate results. One of these students was studying at the Aga Khan Higher Secondary School and had scored 81 percent. He had also secured an A-1 grade in the examination conducted by the school.

I know that had one of my own sons secured such a result, we all would have celebrated. Then what prompted this young man, who was obviously full of energy and potential, to take such a drastic, irreversible step over such a trivial matter? Even if one of my own sons failed in an exam (which they often have), neither myself or my wife or any other family member would make them feel so ashamed that they would consider taking their own lives.

A horrifying mental health problem has infected the minds of this country’s children, and it is the parents and educational institutions who are to blame. Our society puts great pressure on students to top their exam. This is sad because school grades ultimately mean nothing in the greater scheme of things as far as a person’s life is concerned. Yet, when our students fail to perform as expected, they feel an unwarranted amount of shame and guilt. Education is not about competing with peers, acing every exam and being the teacher’s favourite. It is about learning how to think, strengthening oneself after failures and expanding horizons. How many more tragedies will we have to see until the parents and schools in our society change their approach?

Naseer Khan,