"In compliance with Article 256 of the Constitution, all private militias regardless of their patrons must be completely disbanded" The Friday Times, Plot No 52-53, N-Block, Main Guru Mangat Road, Gulberg II, Lahore, Pakistan. 042.35779186; Fax: 042.35779186, ...


University Road


University Road in Karachi has been full of construction for over three months. This makes travel on it extremely hard. Half the road is always closed off, making it a one-way road for a very busy route. Taking the back roads and having to go around the blocks is frustrating and takes a lot of time. The construction work is going very slowly.

Construction leaves many people with no clear signs of what direction to go. With traffic direction unclear there have been accidents and chaos. The management of the construction is disorganized.

Before starting a project, the city should make sure it is safely cordoned off and doesn’t take up too much space. A safe alternate route must be marked out with signs and clear pathways.

Faryal Yaqoob Mughal,





As members of ‘Citizens Against Weapons’, striving for a peaceful and weapon-free society in Pakistan, we are deeply concerned at the recent decision of the federal government to remove the ban on issuing prohibited and non-prohibited weapon licenses. This alarming and traumatic decision has been extensively reported in the press.

We believe that getting rid of all weapons (except those in possession of the state) and eliminating all private militias ought to have been the first task of the National Action Plan. Not only has NAP completely failed to take any steps in this direction but on the contrary it has now decided to add more weapons to an already weapons-loaded, violent and intolerant society.

Would it be incorrect to conclude that this act of the government conveys two stark messages:

  1. That the government’s decisions support the proliferation of weapons and militancy in Pakistan?

  2. That the state has formally abdicated its fundamental responsibility to protect the life and property of citizens. Instead it wants them to buy weapons, create private armies (prohibited by Article 256 of the Constitution) and defend themselves?

Numerous nations, like Japan, Australia, Argentina and England have taken drastic steps to eliminate weapons in their populace, thus bringing peace and prosperity to their countries. Sadly, we, who are the real victims of this burgeoning violence have decided to act in just the opposite manner. We demand that the:

  1. Possession of arms must be declared as the exclusive domain of the State and no citizen, regardless of his/her position or status, must be allowed to possess, carry or display any weapon of any kind - licensed or otherwise.

  2. In compliance with Article 256 of the Constitution, all private militias regardless of their patrons must be completely disbanded and the state must firmly act to completely eliminate all such armed gangs.

  3. Issuance of new arms licenses be banned and the already issued licenses must be declared null and void.

  4. Possession, import, sale, transportation, delivery and display of all kinds of weapons by civilians be completely banned.

  5. All citizens must be made to surrender their weapons through a planned buy-back scheme.

We urge upon the Government of Pakistan to immediately reverse its intention of removing ban on issuance of weapons and to implement the five point charter stated above.

Naeem Sadiq,

Citizens Against Weapons.




Math & Sciences


Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has urged the nation to focus on learning mathematics and sciences to progress in all spheres. This is the key to growth, evolution, and development in the modern era. Countries in the global north have followed the path of science and technology. But a wide range of science subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and astronomy were developed and practiced during the Islamic Golden Age. The famous scientists Ibn Al-Haytham, Al-Khwarizmi, Alhazen, Al-Kindi, and Ibn-e-Khuldun contributed to scientific method, mathematics, physics and social sciences. In the field of engineering, the Banu Musa brothers described the first programmable machine, an automatic flute player, in their book on ingenious devices. This boundless work was sponsored by the state and had cultural and religious influences. Science was kept separate from religion.

Unfortunately, we have departed from this outlook. A series of institutional changes and the spread of madrasas promoted a culture of suspicion for science. As a result, the evils of bloodshed, violence, intolerance, and terrorism ruined society.

But the current and past governments have neglected education and healthcare. If the prime minister really wants to encourage and endorse Mathematics and Sciences, he should declare an educational emergency nationwide. There is an urgent need to revise syllabuses, courses, and curriculum. Merely, delivering a speech on the occasion of an Alif Ailaan project and showing commitment is not a solution because actions speak louder than words.

Mansoor Ahmed,




China’s first official defence white paper published in early 2015 enunciates quite clearly that “the traditional mentality that land outweighs sea must be abandoned, and great importance has to be attached to managing the seas and oceans and protecting maritime rights and interests.”

The establishment of Pakistan Navy’s special Task Force-88 (TF-88) on December 13 2016, exclusively for the maritime security of Gwadar port, is the next logical step that Pakistan has taken after it went into the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) at the end of last year. The special maritime force has been set up after work had already begun on CPEC. It has been agreed that the task force will be equipped and financed by China, just the way it financed, designed and built, and now operates Gwadar port.

The challenges and threats to both Gwadar port and CPEC have increased. Last November, the Pakistan Navy chased an Indian submarine out of Pakistani waters after it had attempted to infiltrate. Thus it was ineluctable to come up with such maritime force to nip the evil in the bud. Task Force 88 will work jointly with the Special Security Division (SSD) that has been established to protect CPEC.

The Pakistan Navy is ensuring a safe and secure maritime environment, which is a prerequisite for the maritime economy to flourish.

With this new geopolitical reality, it is inevitable to conclude that Pakistan has outsourced its national security, particularly in the Indian Ocean, by integrating it with that of China. India has time and again adopted threatening postures against Pakistan not only during the 1965 and 1971 wars but also recently threatened both China and Pakistan with grave repercussions if they went ahead with CPEC. Therefore, in future, both countries are compelled to act to protect their ships, equipment and personnel stationed at Gwadar.

This also underscores Pakistan’s increasing commitment to CPEC running from China’s Xinjiang province to Pakistan’s Balochistan province.

The commissioning of TF-88, made at an international maritime conference on CPEC, the first held in Gwadar, was accompanied by the announcement of its objective: For “the protection of associated sea lanes against both conventional and non-traditional threats”.

TF-88 will comprise ships, Fast Attack Craft, aircraft, drones (unmanned aerial vehicles), and surveillance assets. Additionally, marines would be deployed at sea and around Gwadar.

In October last year, Pakistan negotiated with China the purchase of eight Type 41 Yuan-class diesel-powered, conventionally armed attack submarines. Half of these submarines may be built in Pakistan while the other half would be made in China and transferred to Pakistan. This acquisition, which is reportedly part of the CPEC package, would be one of Pakistan’s biggest weapons purchases ever, at about $6 billion. Pakistan’s possession of such submarines, would seriously complicate any Indian attempt in blockading Karachi or Gwadar.

In a bilateral relationship that has spanned five decades, CPEC is certainly the most significant Sino-Pak commitment and is obviously aimed at fulfilling its long-cherished trade goals by utilizing Gwadar port, very close to the Gulf region, the global hydrocarbon hub. On land, Pakistan has already committed to raising a special force to guard the corridor.

The two navies recently engaged in a joint exercise. The fourth such exercise concluded on November 21, 2016. The Pakistan Navy has been increasing security at Gwadar port, conducting security patrols and coastal exercises, enhancing maritime domain awareness and engaging law-enforcement agencies. It is reportedly considering buying super-fast ships from China and Turkey for its special squadron.

A ship-building project is being deliberated for Port Qasim in Karachi and Gwadar. The two advanced shipyards would design and develop ships and other security equipment for the Pakistan Navy. The Pakistani government has already promised to provide 10,000 troops, including 5,000 specifically trained to counter terrorism.

Iran, Britain, Germany and South Africa are keen to have their prospects in the project.

Gwadar had a significant visitor, last November: Russia’s Federal Security Services chief Alexander Bogdanov. He was reportedly on an inspection tour to assess whether Gwadar would be suitable for visits by Russian ships as well. This is not surprising considering Russia’s growing proximity to China and efforts to find an alternative market to sell its military hardware, now that India, the old ally, has increasingly preferred Western defence systems. Significantly, this first-ever visit to Gwadar, a gateway to the Indian Ocean, came within days of the American people voting Donald Trump in to become their next president.

With joint efforts of the security forces at home, the people’s cooperation towards positive and impressive policies of the government, the law and order situation has improved a lot in Balochistan. Peace and development have great association with each other, and the Pakistan security forces are jointly making all-out efforts to restore complete peace and order in the country for the speedy development of mega projects like CPEC.

Forces must now realize the inevitable that despite the conspiracies against this development, the Force 88 – a harbinger of peace and endurance – along with the security forces of Pakistan will fight back.

FZ Khan and Prof Khurram Shahzad,


Match fixing


Now Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif have been suspended in the Pakistan Super League for spot fixing. They were the opening batsmen of the Pakistan team. According to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the two players need to be sent back home from Dubai. Khan is the only player to have scored a century in the PSL last year. Both players were with Islamabad United. It is not the first time a Pakistani player has been charged with match fixing. Since 2010 Muhammad Amir, Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif were banned for five years for spot fixing during the England tour. The PCB must take action against such players.

Adnan Dost,


US travel


The newly elected 45th President of the United States of America (USA) Donald Trump has truly stood by his words. Good or bad, at least this is one credit he must be given. Of a number of commitments he had made to the American nation during his election campaign, one strong commitment he made was that, if elected to power, he would impose a travel ban on refugees and immigrants coming in to America, particularly from the Islamic countries.

On Friday, January 27, 2017, US President Donald Trump signed a sweeping executive order to suspend refugee arrivals and bar visas for travelers from seven Islamic countries namely Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Though Pakistan’s name did not figure on this executive order, one can assume that it may appear in the next executive order that US President Donald Trump is keenly waiting to ink. Pakistan should be fully prepared to face an upcoming travel ban, particularly after White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, without mincing his words, told CBS News that names of countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt may be added to the roster of banned countries as we move forward.

The executive order signed by US President Trump to impose a travel ban initially on seven Muslim countries has come under heavy attack from not only the affected countries but also from other nations. The Americans too continue to vociferously condemn Trump’s executive order. One can see them vent their anger and concern for critical issue by holding protest marches in Washington and across many other states. A US federal judge blocked part of the ban.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s offer to accommodate refugees affected and expected to be affected in the future by the US travel ban has come as a breath of fresh air.

Whatever is happening in the US today is beyond one’s imagination. The world is at a loss to understand how things will shape up under the new US administration in the days and months to come.

Fazal Elahi,