Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths. The trend of smoking is catching like wildfire amongst the youth. It is a very effective ploy to gain attention of your peers. One major factor which encourages smoking in youngsters is group-conformity and peer pressure. They smoke ultimately to express the thought that they move into adulthood. Some may smoke to adhere to their social group and develop their social network. But in this youthfulness, they do not realise that it is hazardous and the long-term consequences of smoking are serious and dangerous.
This is an area of grave concern of many sections of the society. People are more concerned about the health of nations youth because they are the future of this country. In spite of all the health warnings, youngsters continue to get enthusiastic about tobacco. Even though they all know that it's bad for them. It can be concluded that perfunctory knowledge of the health risks is not enough to convince youngsters to not smoke. Hence, the government needs to follow a more aggressive and thorough approach.
Cigarette smokers have a lower level of lung function than those persons who have never smoked. It reduces the rate of lung growth, hurts young people's physical fitness in terms of both performance and endurance. Teenage smokers suffer from shortness of breath almost three times as often and produce phlegm more than twice as often as teenagers that do not smoke. Teenage smokers are more likely to have seen a doctor or other health professionals for an emotional or psychological complaint. Teenagers who smoke are three times more likely than non-smokers to use alcohol. Smoking is associated with a host of other risky behaviours such as being prone to violence and drugs.
It is seen that now a days the boys and girls of colleges and universities are fond of this habit that leads them towards destruction. There is a need to control this act as soon as possible to save our youngster from this destruction.
State Minister for Industries and production, while responding to an attention notice in the Senate (Feb.4), reported that there is no shortage of Urea fertiliser in the country. Nothing could be different from the truth and this statement is not based on ground realities. There is an acute shortage of Urea in the country and black marketing is at its peak. Even the official prices have been raised by Rs.190/bag by the private sector companies, courtesy the creation of private sector cartels by eliminating the Public Sector through unwanted privatisation of profitable fertiliser plants. The cause of the current shortage and the price hike is the wrong priority of shifting natural gas to power generation and the resultant closure of fertiliser plants in the country. Now 1million tons of Urea is being imported which is a huge drain on our already dwindling foreign exchange reserves. It is not known whether the government (TCP) will again repeat the folly of importing at Gawadar port and then transport it through trucks to Karachi for onward shipment. Last year this wasteful practice resulted in squandering billions of public money and massive corruption (about Rs.200-250/ton) in transportation contracts. But then, in this land of the pure, who cares about the wastage of public money.
QASIM IQBAL KHAN
Sarmad Elahi in his above titled letter has said that the KBD is a controversial dam. The controversy arises when the KBD issue is confused with other grievances the Sindh has against Punjab over taking water from the Indus through various link canals.
KBD is a win-win situation for all. The federal body IRSA will supervise distribution of surplus water stored in the reservoir as per the shares under the Water Accord of 1991. Sindhs share has been increased in all future dams by decreasing Punjabs share despite the vast disparity in population and area under cultivation. A monitoring contingent of engineers from the Sindh irrigation department has been deputed at major head works of Punjab. The left bank canal at KBD will also come under their jurisdiction.
It will be seen that Sindh has everything to gain and nothing to lose from Kalabagh dam. The flow in the Indus will remain unaffected and Sindh will get an additional 2.2 million acre feet of water which it cannot get otherwise. How can that be a cause for controversy?
The increasing trend of shrines being the target of terrorists is alarming and points towards growing insanity and hatred in the extremist forces.
These shrines represent peace and harmony as the saints buried there always worked to spread love and peace in the society.
Due to the distorted views of the extremists on religion, the forces who stand for peace are suffering badly. It is the responsibility of all the provincial and federal governments to improve the security arrangements outside different shrines. It is important for every responsible citizen to safeguard the religious and cultural traditions of the subcontinent and should not let the extremists hijack them and implement their own version of religion.
The militants in a bid to disrupt the operations in North-West Pakistan have started to target major cities in Pakistan. This time around, it was the peaceful city of Lahore which has suffered at their hands. The terrorist attacks on religious places and religious events, serve to install an environment of sectarian and communal tension. The blast at Haider Sain Darbar is an act of cowardice carried out by people who hold no regard for any religion or belief. The act should be condemned by every quarter of society so that the terrorist can realise that they have been rejected by this nation and have no support base in the people.
These days the revolutionary spirit has permeated the Arab world giving an illusionary belief to different pseudo- intellectuals in Pakistan who are busy in such calculations here. But, in Pakistan the real problem is not of bread and butter but of terrorism and extremism plaguing economy and polity.
The current government has inherited this baggage along with empty state treasures from its predecessors. Everything may not be possible to be mended in one go. Despite that, the country has unprecedented reserves of $ 17bn, stock exchange index points around 12,500 and foreign remittances above $ 10bn. Revenue generation and fiscal deficit are intertwined issues but with mutual consensus revenue generation can increase. This is possible only when the government is allowed to do so by bringing tax reforms.
In this regard, provinces with their increased financial and administrative rights (gained through 18th amendment) can play a pivotal role by reducing their expenditures and increasing revenue generation.
A concerted effort by both the provincials and federal government is required along with the support of independent judiciary.
The deteriorating situation of the police force becomes evident to one when news reports of police personnel being robbed by criminals surface. This incident was recently reported in Kasur, where four police men in uniform were not only mugged but also thrashed by robbers. Attacks and vandalizing of police stations has also become a norm in these days. The authority that, this law enforcement department should possess seems to be missing. If this trend continues, there will be a point where a law and order situation may engulf the whole country and concerned citizens will prefer to adopt vigilantism, for their own safety.
Sheesha emerged as a style icon in the elite circles in the beginning but within a short span, Sheeshas fan club covered people from nearly all groups of society. The most enthusiastic of these were, of course, young people. The recent attempts of the Punjab Government to put a check on this fast growing culture has led to many debates and question marks the most important of which is when the consumption of cigarettes and other drugs remains unchecked then the ban on Sheesha?
The answer is simple: social acceptance. Where people may refrain from trying cigarettes and other drugs due to the conspicuous black label, the seemingly innocent fruity hubble bubble appears quite a harmless choice. For many it is a hobby, a favourite pastime with buddies, a means of being up-to-date with the latest trends or simple leisure puffing just because others are doing it. In addition, its usage isnt confined to Sheesha bars only. It is also stretching its roots in educational premises as well. It isnt rare to find students using their own water pipes in university corners and hostels.
Also a worth mentioning fact here is that under the cover of Sheesha tradition, many other drugs were being paved in too. Many bars have been reported to serve Sheesha mixed with illegal drugs like heroine, hashish, etc. Also at many Sheesha spots, it is also available with wine in the filtering base instead of water.
With the hovering news of Punjab Governments consideration for an altogether complete ban on Sheesha, many willing investors feel discouraged to step in the previously blooming Sheesha business. Of course a 100 percent ban on anything cannot be deemed possible but even a few effective measures here by the government can lead to a relatively large potential drop in the Sheesha market.
Now it is up to the policy devisors how intelligently they tackle this issue. Instead of declaring a complete ban, minor initiatives like strict action against serving it to underage teens, heavy taxations, official checks and certain restrictions on Sheesha bars etc will act as smarter tools for this cause.
Whatever the case maybe, formulating a serious strategy and then properly enforcing it for offsetting the gripping Sheesha culture is an imperative need of the hour.
The teacher who has spent 100,000 on a stolen card in a private school of Gulberg in Lahore is a big upset as it gives a bad name to the respectable profession of teaching.
Teachers are the pioneers of any foundation. They are the ones who open up the horizons of the young budding minds and lead them to the world of wisdom and knowledge. Children are very much influenced by their teachers. In fact, they even follow their footsteps. They not only teach but also guide them between right and wrong. The act of this teacher has really raised eyebrows. If the mentors do not stick to their guns then how they can refrain their students from doing something wrong. This may leave a negative impact on childrens minds. It is a pity that unprofessional teachers have entered this field who are only interested in materialism. Only God knows what will be the future of the students if these mediocre teachers are their guides.
This is with reference to the article Useful Instability (January 31) in which the author has asserted that to achieve long term stability we crave, Pakistan has to pass through an interim phase of instability in order to consolidate the gains and move towards genuine progress. And that the shortcuts taken towards maintaining stability actually undermine the desired end objectives. A decentralised Pakistan is certainly an attractive proposition in the current political chaos and polarised societal trends, where coalitions may dominate the political space. But if coalitions switch parties on a regular basis to ultimately be able to lead towards a spirit of cosociationalism, as implied by the author, then the current political regime ought to have surpassed all the previous governments. If a shared power structure accompanied by a messy situation is the long term plan that we should aim at, then how does one establish that the messiness created is of the right type? And that it is the true formula for permanent stability? In this backdrop can one assume that the six-decade long mess both on the political and economic quarters is leading to a permanently stable national climate?
It is certainly not advisable to apply the Indian political model to Pakistan as there is nothing that the two nations share apart from certain linguistic features and geographical location. Considering the current political chaos, permanent peace is greatly desirable and the concept of political tolerance through a shared power structure is certainly the need of the time, but this does not necessarily have to be reached after chaos, prolonged or otherwise. What we need are short term stability plans that would reverse the dangerously permeating wave of pessimism and gradually morph into long term permanent ones. The entire population and the well-wishers of Pakistan are certainly ready to wait, but for that they have to be given the hope that the path adopted is the right one.
It is widely regarded that the police in any given society have a difficult job to fulfil. Dealing with criminals and facing the harm on a day to day basis is indeed an admirable calling. Although seen as difficult, there is an underlying sentiment in the general public that the job of law enforcement officers is relatively straightforward. The role of police in modern society is often a conflicted one. The public seems alternately torn between crying out because of abuses of police power and calling for increased police protection from the ills of the world. The police, as a social institution, seem to be caught between these two extremes, trying to balance liberty with security. Out of this inherent tension is the place of the police in modern society, many of the positive and negative aspects and roles of the institution begin to emerge.
Today, the relationship between police and the citizens has become so dreadful in our country. A citizen and a policeman both have negative attitudes. The attitude of policemen towards their job is very careless. People mostly prefer to solve their problems themselves, instead of taking help from police. This trend needs to be changed. There is a need that policemen must bring a change in their attitude towards the public. This change will help to improve the all over law and order situation of our country. There must be the cooperation level between both the policemen and citizens equally so that both can perform their duties and also bear their responsibilities for a good society and the country.
It is time to wake up and take action. Raymond Davis killed two people at a public place in Lahore and claimed to fire in self-defence. Will our President or Prime Minister take action or not? The US Embassy has refused to cooperate with Pakistan and is demanding his immediate release. Is a random US citizen above Pakistani law?
People who are physically disabled are facing a lot of problems along with their disability. Disabled people are not represented well in the society and, therefore, are unable to raise voice about their concerns in the communities.
It is estimated that between 5 percent and 10 percent of the population of 172 million are disabled. Furthermore, some 92 percent of the people with disabilities are completely dependent on the family members. Existing community and social structures have to enable disabled people to realise their rights and encourage them to take part in the decision making process that affects their lives. Very few ask for medical attention and even fewer medical professionals are available to assist their needs. Misdiagnosed and often mistreated patients with mental disorders become a huge burden on the health industry, their families and society at large.
Parenting such kids can be a tough job but parents who are quick to move past the denial and forward with the responsibilities of providing for their children the best they could give. Its societys responsibility that we should accept these people as our part, give them their due respect and rights and at least stop staring at such people.
Pakistan is a developing country of 170 million people, out of which at least 20 percent live below the poverty line. The Gross Domestic Product or GDP for Pakistan in 2010 stood at 167 billion dollars, constituting only 0.27 percent of the world economy.
The economy is deteriorating day by day, as inflation and unemployment has been rising. It is still a mystery of what our government has been doing to address this situation. The Government of Pakistan had once implemented a Poverty Reduction Strategy Monitoring Project with UNDP based on Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP).
Perhaps, it has been swept under the rug like many other projects and the funds gone into the pockets of corrupt officials. It was supposed to monitor the implementation and impacts of PRSP, but no one knows much about it now. Not surprisingly, like various official ventures, this has also become a white elephant, only serving to put an extra burden on the national exchequer.
Pakistan is already a victim of floods, earthquakes, terrorism and global warming but the issue that should be in spotlight is health. We can solve all the problems if we first solve the health issue.
In spite of the steady improvement in the health sector over the years, the position is not satisfactory yet. This has cast a negative impact on the services and facilities for the people. In fact, the floods this year have added a large number of patients to the already overburdened health system.
There are many government hospitals but they lack facilities, services and medicines. In Pakistan there is only one doctor available for 1834 persons, one dentist for 46,498 persons, one primary healthcare facility for 14,900 persons and one hospital bed for 1403 persons. The overall sanitation and other conditions regarding the cleanliness are in total shambles.
But there is hope only if we develop the infrastructure first. The authorities should take notice of these problems, increase budget for these hospitals rather than pass the bills to increase the salaries of MPAs. There should be a proper check and balance system in a hospital to maintain the services in it. Well equipped hospitals, hygienic environment and availability of qualified doctors should be assured.