"Our relationship with our neighbour is thriving and almost 27,000 Pakistanis have already been awarded scholarships to study in China. CPEC is the future of Pakistan" The Friday Times, Plot No 52-53, N-Block, Main Guru Mangat Road, Gulberg II, Lahore, ...


Pollution and the climate


The biggest problem facing human beings today is pollution. According to statistics, the number of deaths caused by pollution in 2017 was seven times more than war casualties. Most of the country’s population does not have safe water to drink while water for irrigation is also getting hard to find.

In Pakistan’s urban areas people are compelled to drink contaminated water and huge piles of garbage and rubbish can been seen at every road of the city. Some estimates say that by 2025, there will be no clean air in Karachi to breathe, if the current situation does not improve.

Rural areas of interior Sindh and Baluchistan have also been facing water paucity. Women have to travel long distances by foot to get muddy water which their families use for drinking.

Negligence on the part of the authorities has added fuel to the fire. There is no check and balance of vehicles emitting carbon and other pollutants in the atmosphere which are extremely dangerous for our climate. Deforestation by timber mafia is never questioned by any authority. The government should strictly clamp down on all such entities and make a comprehensive environment policy.

Ali Abid,


New PA building


It is good to see that the new building of the Punjab Assembly is now going to be completed soon after an inordinate delay of over 10 years. This good news came when PA Speaker Ch Parvez Elahi and Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar visited the construction site of the new PA building at Charring Cross.

The construction of the new PA building was started in the tenure of Chaudhary Parvez Elahi as the chief minister and more than 70 percent of the work had been completed when he stepped down. His successor, Shehbaz Sharif, remained in power for two tenures but did not show interest in providing funds for completion of the building as well as a new hostel and a mosque on the premises.

The Punjab Assembly has a total strength of 371 members and the existing House cannot accommodate all of them. Former speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan, instead of taking appropriate steps for ensuring completion of the building, had declared the visitors galleries as part of the House to accommodate more than 90 members! The newly-elected MPAs from both sides of the House had complained to Parvez Elahi about shortage of accommodation and after reviewing the progress of work, he has assured the MPAs that next budget session will be held in the new PA building. The MPAs should keep their fingers crossed and pray that all goes well, and that the new building is completed before June 2019.

Sikander Hayat,


New taxes


In its efforts to bring Pakistan out of the crippling debt looming in front of us, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has levied additional taxes in numerous sectors. Some of these moves are welcome, for example, the tax rate on the highest income bracket has been raised from 15 percent to 30 percent. Additional customs duties have also been levied on 5,000 luxury items.

But it should not be forgotten that too many taxes add to difficulty of doing business, which will only make it harder for Pakistan to progress economically. I believe the PTI government is guilty of some mistakes. For example, the additional taxes on gas will have wide-ranging repercussions and also raise cost of electricity. In the long run, this will make life difficult for all Pakistanis.

Regardless, the PTI government must keep moving forward. Its ultimate goal must be to be able to levy enough income tax on the country’s elite that it would be able to end Pakistan’s reliance on GST to keep state coffers from drying up completely.

Kinza Athar,


CPEC must stay


The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the future of Pakistan, but the enemies of the state wish to derail our progress. Disruptions in the form of conspiracy theories are sown to waylay completion of the project. Rhetoric against CPECs usefulness is being spread to discourage masses from supporting it. However, China and Pakistan are continuing to work on it together, regardless of the information being circulated around it. CPEC will help Pakistan’s economy by providing development opportunities. The economic partnership has already created almost 60,000 jobs and more will be created in the future.

We as a nation should strive to support this economic partnership and ignore foreign propaganda. CPEC has the potential to change our economic trajectory. Our relationship with our neighbour is thriving and almost 27,000 Pakistanis have already been awarded scholarships to study in China.

CPEC is the future of Pakistan and it will lead us to progress and prosperity.

Nauman Iqbal,


Perks and privileges


During his address to bureaucrats, our prime minister assured them of protection against political pressure. A few questions: what happened to the bureaucrat who attracted the railway minister’s wrath? Could you equalise net earnings through pay and privileges of all civil servants, including judges, and officers on deputation, in the same grade, via Article 38 (e) of the Pakistan’s Constitution (Promotion of social and economic well-being of the people)? The article states `The State shall reduce disparity in the income and earnings of individuals, including persons in the various classes of the service of Pakistan.’

Could he abolish prime minister’s prerogative that entitles favourite grade 22 civil servants to two plots upon retirement (worth about Rs20 crore), leaving the others from Grade 17 to 21 in the lurch? I, for one, retired after cumulative 39 years’ service from federal government in 2009. At the age of 70, suffering from multiple diseases, I have not been allotted any plot or flat by Federal Government Employees’ Housing Foundation, even after nine years of retirement.

Ahmed Janjua,


Drug addiction


Drug addiction is a chronic disease which affects the brain, heart and other parts of the body. Youngsters start taking drugs in their teenage years and the first step towards drugs is smoking.

Drugs affect people in different ways. One person can take and abuse drugs, yet never become addicted, while another merely has one experience and is immediately hooked. Drug addiction is often overshadowed by many of the country’s other human development problems, such as poverty and illiteracy.

Drug addiction is the reason why the youth today is so distracted from their ambitions. One reason is some people who want to quit cannot is because there are no rehabilitation centres in the country.

Unless serious measures are taken now, the future of today’s youth will be compromised. The problem of drug addiction is too real and serious to be ignored. The government must involve communities and the media in highlighting the perils associated with drug addiction.

Maleeha Yousuf.