Recent incident of an American national Raymond Allen Davis involved in cold blooded murder of two Pakistanis in Lahore has given rise to many searching questions. The situation has become all the more shady and mysterious since his name and identity are fake and so was the car plate number in which he was traveling on the day of occurrence. He was carrying a prohibited bore pistol and prohibited bullets with which he shot the two motor cyclists. He was callous in using disproportionate force. He kept firing to ensure the death of Faizan and Faheem. This kind of brazen firing is plausible only when the opponents are also firing.
The backup vehicle from Lahore US Consulate came rushing on the distress call given by Davis. In its mad rush to reach the scene in a jiffy, the SUV came the wrong way on a one-way road, drove across road divider and reached the scene within 15 minutes but in haste crushed to death a motorcyclist Ubaidur Rahman. By that time, Davis after filming the two dead bodies soaked in blood with his digital camera tried to escape but due to traffic rush and police vigilance he was apprehended. The driver of second vehicle along with four persons from the consulate managed to slip away and till this day identity of five persons have yet not been ascertained. The US Consulate has refused to hand over the accused and the SUV. The US undue interference is heightening tension. Davis interrogation may reveal some hidden facts about US covert war in Pakistan.
36-year old Davis is being described by Washington as a diplomat whereas he is not. Pakistan is being pressed to release him immediately on account of diplomatic immunity he enjoys, whereas he doesnt enjoy immunity. The US earlier stance of showing Davis as a member of US Consulate in Lahore was modified and it now insists that he is a staff member of US Embassy in Islamabad. This change of stance has been necessitated to provide the accused greater degree of diplomatic immunity from criminal jurisdiction under Vienna Convention 1961. Our foreign office has yet to clear the mist of confusion about his real status. Even his real name is not known since the US has created confusion by stating that the accused is not Raymond Davis. It has however not intimated his real name so far which means he is an impostor. Presidency, federal and provincial governments are taking cover behind the Lahore High Court (LHC) where Davis case is pending to avert American mounting pressure. The LHC alone cannot do much without the government clarifying certain basic facts about the accused status. The LHC has however taken the initiative to block handover of the accused to his country before completion and decision of the court and has also directed the government to place him on exit control list.
A H RAJA
Volcanoes affect human life very badly. Volcanoes cause damage to property, land by explosive blasts, different gas release, lava flows and mud flows. All of these factors affect human life up to great extent. The volcanic eruption that normally causes more damage is from active volcanoes hot flows of lava, gas and ash. If volcanic eruption is not observed in time it could kill thousand of people and it affects the economy of the state as well. Pakistan's Balochistan province is gifted with a diverse landscape. Among many geological wonders here, one huge attraction is the presence of 18 mud volcanoes. In fact, world's largest and highest known mud volcano is located in Balochistan. A mud volcano is usually created when a mixture of mud, water and gas form underground and is forced to the surface.
Volcanic eruptions can be reduced and prevented by evacuation of people. With the help of volcanic eruption warning systems, lives can be saved before the volcano erupts. The government should launch programmes for the awareness of these people before it is too late.
As the population of this world is increasing, managing non-biodegradable waste is becoming a challenge for us. Such waste not only degrades land and water resources but also accumulates over years and poses a threat to the balance of the life-cycle. This in turn can be extremely harmful for all forms of life. An alternative to these products is to use eco friendly products and go green in our day-to-day life. Such products are not only bio degradable but also environment-friendly.
Handmade paper is one of the best eco friendly products that have gained immense popularity these days. This paper is used to replace the plastic-made products. One of the green environmental products that can be incorporated in the day-to-day life is eco-friendly furniture that is made up of recyclable materials like straw whose design can be changed again and again any number of times. Such furniture helps saving the consumption of wood which is already in shortage and requires felling of trees.
Another way to conserve energy resources and minimise environmental pollution is to use solar energy that is pollution-free. Use of solar water heater, solar panels, and solar-cooker must be encouraged specially in hot climatic areas where solar energy can be synthesized almost daily. Thermal energy a type of green solar energy is harnessed through the design and materials used to construct a building. By integrating south facing windows and materials that retain heat, like brick and stone, we can lower our energy needs and build an energy efficient structure.
By being energy smart in the home, we can not only reduce our impact on climate change but can also save a decent amount of money by switching to green power. This is electricity which comes from renewable energy sources, like wind and solar instead of coal. Meat, particularly beef, has a very high environmental impact, using a lot of water and land to produce, and creating significant greenhouse pollution. To produce a single 150g serve of meat, it takes over 200 litres of water and creates five kilograms of greenhouse pollution.
We should not over-heat our home; turning down the heating by just one degree can reduce your energy consumption and greenhouse pollution by up to 10%. The thermostat should be on an internal wall, and set at a lower temperature.
India has announced to share the findings of Samjhota Express bombing case and the relative information with Pakistan, in the backdrop of Swami Assemanands confessions. Swami is the influential member of the RSS, a Hindu extremist group and in Kuldip Nayars words the confession of a terrorist has been instrumental in exposing and stripping the Indian nationalism of its grotesque yet truly fascist ideology that had so far been concealed through a celebrated liberal front.
The Swami has admitted to have carried out acts of terror himself and exposed many other Hindutva leaders. He said it was not Muslim boys but an entire team of RSS Pracharaks who exploded bombs in Malegaon in 2006-08, on the Samjhota Express, Ajmer Sharif and Makka Masjid in 2007. The horrid episode in which 68 innocent Pakistani travelers lost their lives just due to the fact that it was basically Pakistanis who travel on the Samjhota Express train that runs between Pakistan and India compelled them to commit such a heinous crime, perfectly exhibits the basic Indian desire to crush and destroy all that symbolizes Pakistan. These sentiments have to be carefully nurtured to warrant such extreme reactions.
It has been four years since the occurrence of Samjhota carnage and Pakistan waits for official disclosure of findings by India. Pakistan would table the matter at the upcoming foreign-secretary level talks scheduled to take place in first week of February in Thimphu, Bhutan next month. In October last year first official acknowledgement was made from the Indian government that the perpetrators of Samjhota Express blast belong to Hinduvta extremist outfit of Rashtriya Swayamesevak Sangh (RSS).
Pakistan has repeatedly stated its desire to get official information regarding the ongoing investigation by the Indian investigation agencies. The level of cooperation India seeks from Pakistan following the Mumbai terrorist attacks has to be similarly responded by informing Pakistan about the developments taken place in the investigations by the Indian investigation agencies. The success of the joint terror mechanism between the two uneasy neighbours requires a parallel collaboration by Indian side so that real culprits could be brought to justice.
RABAIL I CHAUDHRY
It seems the conscience of our ruling political, civil or khaki elite has gone in hibernation waiting for their insatiable greed for ill-gotten quick bucks to be filled and then perhaps rebound back. Either this or they don't have one. How else can those sitting in Islamabad, explain their silence, over the never ending scams that keep on surfacing almost every day.
Thousands of poor lower middle class citizens and expatriates have been duped into investing in what was supposed to be a ballot for 5 or 8 marla plots in DHA Islamabad, but it turned out to be a scheme in partnership with a notorious land mafia. There was a time when delays in Haj operations would lead to a serious reprimand. The recent Haj operation was the worst ever conducted in the history of PIA, yet nothing moved till the employees stood up and grounded the airline to a halt.
When will the appetite of sugar cartels be satisfied, or for that matter the massive corruption in NHA, Steel Mills, PASCO, TCP, KPT, FBR, Railways, Rental Power, PIA etc. Our leaders must listen to the voice on streets of Pakistan before they lose their patience and anarchy takes over. The people must be given relief before it is too late.
The car parking in the parking lots around parks and other government buildings is free these days though a token is issued at the entrance which gives some sense of security. But, this lasts just for a while because as you approach the park a scary banner warns that parking is at your own risk. Thus, in case your car gets lifted, often under the very nose of the police, you can hold none responsible for negligence.
This system was replaced with the old system of paid parking by the present government. While they are in the parks there is always the lurking fear that on return they might find their car missing which largely takes away the joy of a stroll in a beautiful environment.
The government is requested to withdraw the rather harmful waiver and revive the old system of auctioning the parking lots. Apart from generating the much needed revenue for the Horticulture Department, it will also make the car parking a lot safer.
The year 2011 is being celebrated in Pakistan and the world over as a Faiz Year, a great poet who gifted the world a new concept of peace and love. His message is unique in many respects.
Many events are planned for the year ahead. One such programme had people from India also joining us in paying tribute to the great poet, while watching and listening to Jawaid Akhtar and Shabana Azmi, advocating peace and love between the two neighbours. Poet Jawaid Akhtar narrated his first encounter with Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
The reception accorded to the Indian delegation at the Faizs birth celebrations was extraordinary. The best tribute we can pay to Faiz is to promote love and mutual trust. The message of Faiz should act as a bridge in bringing the people of the two countries closer to each other.
Go forth and multiply Thats what the human population has successfully been doing for thousands of years, expanding, exploring, migrating, conquering, utilising, evolving, civilising, industrialising and now destroying the very hand upon which we live.
Many of us have grown up learning and being told that six billion is too much and this over population is primarily impacting the planets ability to cope. But is that really the case?
Sure, the planet is facing incredible stress. But how much of that is due to large population, and how much is based on other factors, such as how we choose to live, how we produce, consume and waste our resources.
The food scarcity part of the argument in the population debate is an interesting one people are hungry not because the population is growing so fast that food is becoming scarce, but people cannot afford it.
Food may be scarce, but it is international trade, economic policies and the control of land that have led to immense poverty and hunger and therefore less access to food, not food scarcity due to over population.
World-Watch Institute suggests that the global economy could be seriously affected by environmental problems, such as the lack of access to enough resources to meet growing population demands. Environmental degradation can contribute to social and political instability, which can lead to security issues.
Handling this issue is a tough task but the one that we need to handle soon.
IQRA ZAHID DOGAR
Now that the World Cup is about to start, another bad news comes flashing red on the three cricketers that have already been banned by the ICC. They have been kicked out of their jobs by their employer, the National Bank of Pakistan. It is just like the Punjabi proverb of having to eat the onions too after being lashed with shoes.
Some might say the treatment they have been meted out with is quite right, they deserve it. It would be interesting to see them testing their luck in other fields of work like an ordinary man.
The two institutions of the state, funded by tax payers of Pakistan, have been humiliated and systematically destroyed by incompetent people running the affairs. The PCB and PIA are victims of either, or both, greed based corruption and incompetence. It is strange that while the family businesses of the people in the top management of these organisations have flourished, both PIA and PCB have been destroyed and deliberately annihilated for personal egos and other benefits.
Our national cricket team had to face the ignominy of being internationally disgraced because of spot-fixing charges, while PIA driven to bankruptcy through pilferages was shut down for over four days because of the damage inflicted by cronies and abuse of power.
Why only the Indian warm-up matches are being broadcasted on television? According to news, the ICC has only given permission of Indian matches to be telecast. Here in Pakistan, almost every cricket lover was waiting to watch the Pakistan warm-up match. I hope that next time around the ICC will ensure that either all countries warm-up matches will be telecast or no match will be broadcasted on television.
The growing anger and frustration in the society is alarming for everyone. This further gives rise to crime and unrest.
Police being a central law enforcement agency can certainly play an effective role in the maintenance of law and order. First of all, police departments across the country must adopt a positive attitude towards people. An improved mutual relationship will help in adoption of better security measures. Police officials should also promote peace and tolerance among the various factions/groups in the society. Every responsible citizen of the society wants to see the overall condition and living standard of the people of Pakistan improved, and to attain this objective, all the important segments of a society would have to work together.
These days the case of Raymond Davis has become the litmus test for the peoples heart and governments mind. It has brought one thing to the fore, i.e., rejuvenated nationalism among people. Fortunately, this thing is enforcing government to show restraint in giving any haphazard remarks in media. Thus, this move needs to be appreciated which is actually a beauty of democracy where people have the right to raise their voice and be listened to.
But, to call it ineptness of rulers that they have not been able to keep an eye on espionage activities and issuance of visa is erroneous. Given the geostrategic situation of Pakistan and attitude of previous governments towards the US, besides turbulent political history, would it be logical to expect easy handling of this critical issue? However, politicking in the name of nationalism should be avoided at every level by every segment.
It is encouraging news that the Sindh Police will now be provided with health cover. The initiative is a welcome indication that the difficulties faced by the personnel of this department are finally being seriously considered and also are being addressed. The police should be provided with the same facilities and incentives as other leading public sector employees are awarded with. It is imperative that if this institution is to function at its full capacity, the grievances and problems of its human resource have to be addressed.
We, as a nation, are passing through a very tough period. Every department is going towards decline. Corruption has affected the whole society badly, even in cricket. Security is the biggest issue for a common man. Inflation, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and justice are other major threats. All these problems are because of poor leadership. No one among the major political parties has been able to provide the answer.
Pakistan can progress in every field to a huge extent only due to solid and true leadership. Leaders like Imran Khan should be given a chance to prove their worth.