This is with regards to the article, ‘Iknomics – walking the PTI talk’, published yesterday. I found Imran Khan's views on economy and politics in general, childish and uninformed, to say the least. in one interview, he said that Pakistan should end its alliance with USA and meet its subsequent balance of payments crisis by developing a copper mine somewhere in Pakistan. Well, balance of payments refers to current account and developing mines is in itself a capital expenditure, which will take years to materialise when Pakistan may default on its current liabilities. Moreover, if America imposes sanctions on Pakistan, after its withdrawal or Pakistan defaults, no financial institution will finance these fancy copper and coal projects. Imran Khan’s views on Taliban and peace talks with them are even more childish and reflect the Pakistan Army's view that all is lost in tribal areas and it is best to hand over parts of tribal areas to Taliban, which will make them more ambitious. All in all, it is a sheer hopeless situation for Pakistan and Pakistanis’ inability to accept that their state and its idea has failed which is what makes them desperately cling to a mirage called, Imran Khan. In my opinion, Nawaz Sharif would be a much better bet for Pakistan. Financial Analyst Karachi
This is with regards to the interview, ‘Addressing the gas dilemma’, published yesterday. I had the opportunity of reading the interview with MD SNGPL, Arif Hameed. The writer has not asked important questions related to corruption and mismanagement in SNGPL, such as theft of gas in connivance with SNGPL lower staff and their contractors. Both SNGPL and Sui Sourthern Gas Company are white elephants having monopoly in the distribution of natural gas. Their staff is very rich and owns plazas and other properties. There should be more gas companies region wise, so that consumers can have the choice of buying gas at competitive rates. Why does SNGPL also have to cover the province of KP? Why does Balochistan not have a gas company to distribute natural gas in the province when it is the one of the main producer of natural gas? Why are SNGPL and Southern Gas Company allowed to participate in the installation of CNG stations when the federal government policy was to allow one CNG station between five kilometers from each other? Actually these companies’ staff has made a lot of illegal money by sanctioning CNG station without any future vision. S T Hussain Chief Executive Consumer Awareness and Welfare Association
This is with regards to the article, ‘Zong and Manchester Unite(d)’ published yesterday. One has to agree that Zong’s sales are going to skyrocket after the collaboration with Manchester United. I have many friends who are die-hard United supporters, and they want to collect every single thing that is associated with their club. But yes the omen factor pointed out in the article is also very interesting, because Zong’s deal has come at a time when Manchester United has been struggling on the pitch. There has been recent improvement though, and whether they struggle or not, the annoying bandwagon of United fans does not look like halting any times soon.
This is with regards to the feature, ‘MFN, a promising dream’, published yesterday. The title itself is a misnomer today, keeping in mind the fact that once, back in 1996, India had also blessed Pakistan with a similar title and since then, it has remained a subject of immense debate. There are a number of trade experts and economists that have spoken in favour of the grant of MFN status to India; negating the notions that domestic industry would suffer on several grounds as a result. As a general rule, the clauses laid down in the agreement clearly promote non-discrimination among both the countries and aim to uphold the true spirit of free trade. Therefore, MFN status to India would bring greater benefits to Pakistan.
This is with regards to the feature, “Who knows, who knows not” published yesterday. It is indeed a pity to note that Pakistan is ranked at the 145th spot on the Human Development Index. However, the fact that we are languishing at the 160th position out of 182 countries is what perturbs me the most personally. Without education, there is absolutely nothing that we can do to improve ourselves. We are crying for democracy, we are clamouring for change, but without ameliorating ourselves on the education front, all this noise is pointless. The lack of education is the biggest problem in Pakistan, and we need to address it very soon.
This is with regards to the interview titled, “Pakistan to benefit by granting MFN status to India: Dr Manzoor Ahmad”. I think one would have to agree with Dr Manzoor on this because by increasing diversification and in turn enhancing competition, one can ensure that the quality of goods in our neck of the woods improve. We have been importing goods from India via a third country and that obviously adds additional burden on the exchequer. I think most antagonistic voices are just afraid of competition, and it’s about time they realise that healthy competition leads to overall improved performance. The world knows this, and so should we.
This is with regards to the article, ‘Most eligible public transport in town’ published yesterday. I am glad someone brought up this issue in the limelight and actually wrote about it. I feel like screaming at the top of my voice when I see that the government is introducing yellow cabs and CNG buses. Are the policies of our government travelling backwards or what? It is worth a mention here that the most ‘eligible’ CNG buses are just another ruse, we don’t have enough CNG for normal traffic and now just to enjoy the enormous kickbacks, the government introduces another huge CNG guzzling monster!
This is with regards to the news report, ‘Country is safe on economic front: Dr Sheikh’ published yesterday. The worthy finance minister has, surprisingly, drawn a very rosy picture of the economy just to please his boss, but it is against the ground realities. Poverty is penetrating among the public at large, Pakistani currency is getting devalued continuously, etc. In the absence of availability of power and gas, both of which are available at almost half of the potential demand in the country; how can we expect the economy be healthy in the absence of these two commodities which are life blood of the economy?
This is with regards to the news report, “Thai govt to open markets for Pakistani fruits” published yesterday. We are traversing such times that any news that promises to bolster our economy is like a breath of fresh air. By opening markets to Pakistani fruits the Thai government is giving our valuable goods another market to explore and we should make full use of this opportunity. Pakistani fruits are considered to be amongst the highest quality fruits globally and we should advertise them properly. This is a really welcoming development on Thai - Pakistan trade and investment promotion. I hope it does not become a victim of typical Pakistani bureaucracy and red-tapism.
This is with regards to the news report, “Govt to extend railway track to China:Bilour” published yesterday. This indeed is ridiculous, since there are reports every day on how our railway system is on the verge of collapse. Trains aren’t running on time, massive corruption scandals surface regularly and what not! Rather than planning on improving or actually trying to keep the existing system alive, our magnificent Mr Ghulam Ahmad Bilour is planning on extending the railway to China and Afghanistan. I mean there is so much disparity between the noise generated by our hierarchy and their actions that one wonders if there is any hope left whatsoever. Only God can save us.
This is with regards to the news report titled “Politicians eyeing top positions in trade bodies” published yesterday. This trend can be seen in just about every sector of our nation, that most of the topmost seats are being reserved for politicians and there is absolutely no merit system. The true representation of traders, as pointed out in the report, is obviously undermined as a result and hence those that deserve to be at the helm of matters are rarely seen there. Be it trade bodies, or other institutions we need to ensure that only those that deserve to be at the top manage to be there.
This is with regards to the news report titled “Gilani directs railways to improve efficiency” published yesterday. The poor condition of railways has been expressed by everyone all over the media and in the newspapers, but no one seems to be doing anything about it. There was a time when I actually enjoyed my travels via train. It used to be a comfortable experience and one that didn’t cost much. Now the comfort level is on a decline and the ticket prices are increasing in an extremely bizarre situation. I hope the government manages to turn around the state of railways.
This is with regards to the feature, ‘National Youth Policy and its grey areas’ published yesterday. The writer has done remarkable research and analysis. However, it would have been better if the feature were followed by interviews of the students and youth (working as well as non-working) in order to see their side of the picture as well and to know what they think and want from the government. It is pertinent to note here that the government of our country concentrates more on imparting technical education among youth and only produces paper MBAs, etc. For the youth to play a productive role in the success of this country, it has to add to the industrial production as well, which over a long period of time would help us become a self sufficient country rather than a country that relies on imports only. China, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia are great examples to follow as to how youth can form part of the mainstream. Even India is quite ahead of us and now Bangladesh has also surpassed us. Rana Saqib Faisalabad
This is with regards to the news report, ‘Ticket sales of first private train start’ published yesterday. Ticket sales of the first private train in Pakistan might sound like a good news for regular commuters in Lahore and Karachi generally, because the air fares are skyrocketing and buses or any other public transport do not provide necessary facilities to the passengers. This venture is no doubt a successful example of public-private partnership, but the real thing is that it will cater the business class only and not the general masses. The fact that this train is providing excellent food and catering facilities and air conditioned compartments narrow down its target audience to only business class. Aamir Sultan Faisalabad
This is with regards to the news report, ‘NATO supply disruption reduces tea smuggling’ published yesterday. It is indeed funny that the Durand line has become a perpetually permeable membrane with regards to open smuggling. Now, the news report has highlighted the smuggling of tea and how the NATO supple disruption seems to have halted the act for the time being. Thankfully this has resulted in some legal import finally and one hopes that this trend continues; mind you not only in the realm of kitchen items. I hope we continue to enhance the legal set up and legal trade continues and stops being a nuisance that it undoubtedly is. Shakeed Ahmed Hashmi Rawalpindi