IN THE NEWS: PAKISTAN’S TICKING TIME BOMBS (APRIL 11, 2018)

Written by admin on Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Pakistan’s ticking time bombs
SOURCE: Daily Times
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
By WAJID SHAMSUL HASAN

*Every major player — whether civilian or not-so-civilian — is trying to be a square peg in a round hole

The National Assembly’s (NA) final session is in progress. Unfortunately, the outgoing governments, its two Prime Minister’s (PM) and numerous other ministers have done nothing to honour this house. They all walk shamelessly tall, despite their numerous failures and the plethora of corruption that precedes them wherever they go. All the while, this country’s citizens’ socio-economic problems continue piling up and three fatal issues facing this country remain ignored. These are; the population explosion, impending water famine and environmental pollution.

In 2015, I wrote in this paper, that regretfully, we are going nowhere.

The Panamagate scandal that exposed Nawaz Sharif and his family’s corruption also opened floodgates of what has come to be known as ‘judicial activism’. In short, every major player — whether civilian or not-so-civilian — is trying to be a square peg in a round hole. Never have we had a government in such a confrontational position with both the army and the judiciary, each side trying to pull the other down in a tug o’ war for power.

I don’t have the exact count of the cases pending disposal in our higher judicial echelons. Some say it is a figure in the millions. I know the number is so high that it takes ages for the closure of a case. Let’s take a moment to remember the ‘honourable’ former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who tried to rewrite Pakistan’s judicial history with his ‘Suo Motu’ activism, which in hindsight — was aimed at derailing democracy — not strengthening it. It remains to be seen whether his memory will find itself in history’s hall of fame, or its dustbin.

When Pakistan had to import American wheat to meet the short fall in face of domestic wheat shortage, the Mullahs used the Friday sermon pulpit to tell people that if they ate American wheat, they would go impotent.

CJ Chaudhry’s first pyrrhic decision, which continues to cost this impoverished country billions was to stop the privatisation of Pakistan Steel Mills. The way he trapped Nawaz Sharif in the Memogate trap, by tempting him to rock the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government was extremely undemocratic. What made amused the public at large most was his role as controller of prices, without realising that a CJ cannot manage the forces of demand and supply. Now we have more of the same with CJ Saqib Nisar.

Safeguarding the environment falls in the preview of climate control.

Everything that we do in life contributes to it. Karachi is one of the five mega cities of the world. Its population is around 20 million (it can only be ascertained exactly through an international census authority). So whenever allocations are made for development and upkeep of the city, it is a miscalculated because of the millions of people who are not accounted for. Once up a time, Karachi had the most modern water management and sewerage system, today it has none. In cahoots with law enforcers, the water tanker mafia has become a fast growing business, much to the pleasure of the Rangers tasked with maintaining law and order.

Though these issues had not hit Karachi in the 1960s, President Ayub Khan had warned the nation regarding the imminent population increase. Being a modern man he had introduced family planning schemes so that people could raise small but families. He was opposed tooth and nail by the Mullahs — our society’s main curse.

The anti-family planning clerics had gone so wild, that when Pakistan had to import American wheat to meet the short fall in face of domestic wheat shortage, the Mullahs used the Friday sermon pulpit to tell people that if they ate American wheat, they would go impotent. Tonnes of wheat were thrown into the sea.

The good thing about Ayub Khan, however, was that he didn’t surrender to the Mullahs.

Both Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, made serious efforts to introduce effective family planning. Bibi’s was a very scientific approach, employment of over 100,000 female health workers to educate, help and train rural women in family planning, Similarly steps were taken to reduce the infant mortality rate. She eliminated polio in her second term.

The subject of three ticking bombs is much too serious to be dealt with in just in one article by a layman like me. But there is a dire need for these issues to be given due attention in the NA, and a roadmap to deal with these disasters be mapped out. A little late could be too late.

 

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