"Can Imran explain to Sadiq Khan and the Pakistani nation that on what basis and good qualities did he fully support Zac Goldsmith and his campaign?" The Friday Times, Plot No 52-53, N-Block, Main Guru Mangat Road, Gulberg II, Lahore, Pakistan. 042.35779186; ...


PM Nawaz’s health


This needless controversy generated on social media about PM Nawaz’s health is in bad taste. It could have been avoided if the doctors who performed surgery or the medical procedure, accompanied by the spokesman of the clinic, had given a medical briefing, which is a normal practice all over the civilized world when an elected public office holder or popular figure undergoes a major medical treatment.

Nawaz Sharif is the duly elected PM of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan, irrespective of their political affiliations, have a right to know about his health. The dignity of the PM’s office demands that no controversies be allowed to circulate in such times, when the whole nation should be united in offering prayers. In hindsight, it is time that every government that has been in power for the past three decades should self-indict themselves for failure to have a medical facility in which the ruling elite of this country has faith and confidence to trust their lives with.

The unfortunate reality is that ever since the 80’s, the quality and regulation of health services and education in Pakistan has deteriorated. Why should PIMS, located in Islamabad, and other such hospitals all over the country fail to provide services in which the ruling elite of this country have confidence. Quality medical services can only be provided if doctors, nurses and heath technicians are given proper remuneration and appointments of their CEOs are made purely on merit.

Heart ailment, hepatitis, kidney infections and cancer afflict millions in this country, yet there are insufficient hospitals owned and operated by the government to provide quality medical services to those who cannot afford treatment abroad. Most of these ailments are because of substandard water and contaminated food and pharmaceutical drug items available, whose provision is the primary function of the state to ensure thorough strict regulatory controls and exemplary punishments for those involved in such evil practices. For elected and paid public office holders to deliver, it is essential they have no conflicts of interest and are accountable for any transgressions of official powers.

Ali Malik Tariq,



Surgery of the PM


While wishing health and a long life to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, I feel highly disappointed, dejected and disconsolate on the part of our media, the Sharif family and the workers of PML-N. Almost all TV channels, while discussing the health of the PM, showed in the background images of the PM in his hospital bed, laying unconscious under the influence of anesthesia. We all are aware of the historical fact that when our great Quaid, MA Jinnah, was coming back from Ziarat to Karachi, he had instructed the them PM and his right hand man, Liaquat Ali Khan, not to accord him any official protocol at the airport, no media and no welcome party, the reason cited was he did not wish his countrymen to see him on the stretcher. All over the world this is a normal practice that public leaders are never shown as immobilized, as such photographs not only hurt the feelings of their supporters but it leaves a bad impression. Whenever a celebratory, n head of state or government, or any important high ranking government official falls sick and is admitted to a hospital, it’s the responsibility and duty of the head of the doctors team attending to him or her to issue on a regular basis an update on his or her health.

The illness of the PM was kept hidden from the nation, which overwhelmingly voted him to the highest office of the country, and it’s their right to know about the health of their beloved PM. History is witness to the fact that when such important and considerable acts are kept secret from the nation, the outcome is not always beneficial for that very country. When FM Ayub Khan fell sick, the nation was completely kept in the darkn and the country was practically ruled by a handful of generals and bureaucrats. Similarly, Governor General Ghulam Muhammad remained almost inactive for a long time and the country was ruled by his favorite secretary.

Aamir Aqil,


Protect the blue


The World Ocean Day was introduced 8 by the United Nations Organisation (UNO) at the request of Canada in 1992 to raise awareness about the crucial roles that oceans play as sources of food, oxygen and medicine.

According to the UN, “Oceans are the lungs of the blue planet,” providing most of the oxygen we breathe.

In the past few decades, marine habitats and oceans are confronting the ongoing threats of pollution and overfishing.

Regarding some certain figures compiled by the World Economic Forum, there will be more plastics than fish if we continue the path on which we are currently on. Plastic pollution is a very serious outcome anticipated by scientists because it degrades slowly, polluting waterways for a long time.

In order to ensure the health and safety of our communities and future generations, it’s imperative that we must take the responsibility to look after the oceans as they care for us and it is high time that we should encourage others to preserve and protect our oceans as the future of our planet is in our hands and together we can make a difference.

Zeeshan Nasir,



Human trafficking


Pakistan is included among those countries, where men, women and children are victims of trafficking. The largest human trafficking problem is bonded labor, which is mostly occurring in Punjab and Sindh. It is estimated that more than one million people, including men, women and children are working as bonded labor. Beside this, boys and girls are also bought, sold, rented and kidnapped to work in illegal organizations, such as begging rings, domestic servitude and prostitution. These children are being brainwashed and used for sex. Due to this, thousands of people have migrated to Iran, Turkey, South Africa, Uganda, Greece and other European countries for their safety. Still government seems to not be fully ready to eliminate human trafficking.

Sana Khan,


Humanity still prevails


Pakistan is a country that has usually been in the limelight for all the wrong reasons. Be it the lack of internal cohesion, the scourge of terrorism, the incapacity of our leadership to effectively wade through the conundrums plaguing the country or the widespread prevalence of social ills such as child sexual abuse or gender discrimination, each one of the factors has not only defamed us on the international front, but has also made us lose hope regarding an unpredictable future.

Adding insult to injury, our media has always stressed on negatives rather than positives, making all of us believe in the notion that perhaps humanity has withered, with little hope of return or revival. Amidst such a pessimistically constricted environment, doubting the existence of goodness in human hearts is but natural. Being a part of the same environment, there were times when I too personally felt that real goodness is nothing but a mere façade, a mask behind which opportunist souls are plotting to pounce on you.

However, a recent visit to the AFJOG (Association of Fatima Jinnah Old Graduates) community center, based in Garden Town Lahore, simply changed my perspective on this contention. Founded in 1983, by old graduates of Fatima Jinnah Medical University, with the sole aim of assisting the underprivileged and the destitute of society, the institute aims to not only provide state of the art medical facilities to such families, but to also provide quality primary education to children coming from such backgrounds. Witnessing helpless individuals being cared for in a rather hospitable manner made me realize how institutions are doing what the government in fact needs to accomplish. And what they demand in return is nothing besides a little bit of acknowledgement and encouragement of the endeavor they are engaged in.

The visit made me realize that Pakistan may be embroiled in a mesh of conundrums, recovery from which seems an onerous task, but that does not necessitate that there is a dearth of God fearing, humble souls in the land of the pure. There are still people out there who are rendering volunteer services, making it a point to serve humanity, charging nothing in return.

Institutes like these dot the land of Pakistan but rarely have we seen their projection in the media perhaps because their advocacy does not garner high ratings for the channels, which has sorrowfully been one of the most primary concerns of the media houses over the past decade or so.

It needs to be duly realized that a projection of such humble social endeavors needs to be rendered for they are the positive shades that ornament the face of Pakistan, manifesting the prevalence of humanity in the hearts and minds of Pakistanis.

Marria Qibtia Sikandar Nagra,


Narcotics smuggling at airports


In the last few weeks, there has been a rise in incidences of large quantities of heroin hidden onboard PIA flights caught by customs in Karachi. Huge quantities such as 27kg of heroin cannot be brought into an airport sensitive area through normal passenger entry points. This must have been sneaked into airport premises through various numerous entry points, which are manned by ASF and hidden on aircraft behind panels with connivance of CAA, Ground Handling agencies or airline employees. There are too many individuals exempted from search at our airports. As it is, Pakistan airports have been designated as unsafe. Emergence of housing societies and other commercial activity in the vicinity of what should have been a sterile zone have further compromised aviation safety.

There is a standard operating procedure that before every departure, a joint search is conducted by ASF, Anti-Narcotics and the airline technicians certifying that they have checked aircrafts, especially toilets. Anti Narcotic and customs deploy trained dogs for such checks. The unfortunate reality is that there have been many frequent security lapses at Karachi Airport and nobody has been held accountable or been punished.  It was during the PPP’s tenure that nonscheduled airlines were involved in undocumented operations. Media reports suggest that various commercial outlets located in transit lounges have been involved in Karachi and Lahore airports in organised money laundering and smuggling. Along with this, presence of too many foreign nationality holders, in both CAA and PIA crew, is another factor involved in organised money laundering.

Aneela Chandio,


Sexism galore


During the row of Khawaja Asif’s unparliamentary remarks regarding PTI’s Shireen Mazari in the National Assembly on 8th June 2016, the speaker’s handling of the matter was far from impartial. I think the speaker clearly looked partisan, siding with Khawaja Asif. I was surprised to hear the speaker saying to the opposition “you provoked Khawaja Asif”.  Well, it is the job of the opposition to criticise the government, but that does not mean that Khawaja Asif can go to such an extent wherein he uses very derogatory remarks against opposition members?  No not at all. I think the speaker of the National Assembly must be impartial and must be seen as impartial so that democracy gets stronger in Pakistan. It is the duty of the speaker to ensure that all the members of parliament, especially women are respected during the proceedings of the National Assembly and no member of assembly has any right to insult any other member.

Ejaz Ahmad Magoon,



Harassment of tax filers


Pakistan is a country with an ever-expanding tax-to-GDP ratio, an alarming pile up of loans to fill the deficit, yet a country where registered tax filers are harassed and those who evade taxes are given numerous tax amnesty schemes. The system works to encourage tax evasion by persisting to squeeze those who are registered in the tax net.

The whole system is designed to facilitate tax evasion by the elite and pressurise the salaried class and those few conscientious traders who pay taxes and file returns regularly. Instead of widening the tax net, the bureaucracy within the FBR and the ruling elite have made lives miserable for honest Pakistanis who do not resort to money laundering. For a plot allotted at subsidised rates for the elite in CDA Islamabad or DHA Karachi and Lahore with a market price ranging between Rs 4 to 8 crore when sold, the tax is deducted on a DC rate, which is a meager Rs 35 lakh or more. What is the option for an honest Pakistan who bought a plot with his white money, declares it in his wealth statement with the intention for investment to help him in his post retirement?

FBR employees pursue retired salaried people who having paid taxes all their lives, continue to file their taxes and wealth returns, but are harassed when they buy a new car registered in their name. Why should FBR employees focus only on those who are registered tax filers, visit and harass them at their residences, instead of catching thousands who are either not registered or pay nominal taxes, but buy luxurious limousines and SUVs worth millions, registered in their names or somebody else who is not even a tax payer? Non-tax payers can buy expensive cars, pay a nominal additional tax and are never bothered by state agencies. This farce must come to an end.

Aneela Chandio,



Wrong decision yet again


London’s recently elected British Pakistani Mayor Sadiq Khan has said that PTI Chairman Imran Khan should explain why he openly supported Zac Goldsmith during the recent bitter London mayoral election campaign.

Sadiq Aman Khan was born at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London, the fifth of eight children (seven sons and a daughter) in a working class Sunni Muslim family of Pakistani immigrants. His late father, Amanullah Khan, worked as a bus driver for over 25 years. Sadiq Khan did hard work; while studying for his degree, from the age of 18 to 21, he worked on Saturdays at the Peter Jones department store in Sloane Square. He and his family often encountered racism as they grew up in Britain.

On the other hand we have Zac Goldsmith, who is the son of billionaire businessman and financier Sir James Goldsmith. Goldsmith is known to be one of the wealthiest MPs in Parliament, given that the bequest from his father, Sir James Goldsmith, who died shortly after the 1997 general election with a £1.2b fortune, is subject to much scrutiny. Some tax experts have speculated Goldsmith’s income could amount to as much as £5m per year from the trust left to him alone.

We saw during the London mayoral campaign that Zac Goldsmith branded Sadiq Khan an extremist, terrorist sympathiser, unsafe, closet radical and a threat to Britain’s national security.  Zac Goldsmith’s attack on Sadiq Khan was so racist and Islamophobic that former Tory cabinet minister and party leader Sayeeda Warsi openly condemned him.

Given these facts, it is absolutely shocking that Imran Khan is on the one hand backing Zac Goldsmith, and on the other talking about his struggles to make a new Pakistan, free of corruption, nepotism, extremism and racism. He always criticizes Pakistani political leaders as they support their children and relatives in politics. Everyone knows that Zac Goldsmith is the ex-brother in law of Imran Khan. Being his relative, Khan openly supported Zac Goldsmith during the London mayoral election campaign. Can he explain to Sadiq Khan and the Pakistani nation that on what basis and good qualities he fully supported Zac Goldsmith and his campaign? I’m sure there are scores of people waiting to hear that answer.

Mansoor Ahmed,