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The customer is wrong
Sir: I called a cellular phone customer services centre recently to seek help with MMS settings. As an official started giving me instructions I happened to correct him on something. He responded by asking: “Have you worked her? Why do you think you know better than I do?” I was stunned. Then I said: “No. I was only trying to correct you about...” He replied with: “Sir, I can block your number if you misbehave with me.”
I hung up on him wondering how rude people could be. The next thing I know, I can’t make calls or receive them. My SMS stopped working too. I was astonished. How can a phone company authorise its customer services representatives to do something like that. My SIM had been truly blocked! I couldn’t even contact the customer services centre again! I called the company up from my landline and narrated my story. The person I talked to found it hard to believe but still promised to forward my complaint to the authorities concerned.
I request the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to look into the matter and see how cellular phone companies can strip a customer of the services without prior notice and how their representatives can abuse such authority.
Privatise ‘em all
Sir: The arrogance with which PTCL officials used to treat the subscribers is the reason there is little sympathy for the PTCL workers likely to lose their jobs as a result of the imminent privatisation. The monopoly the corporation enjoyed seemed to encourage most, if not all, to seek rent. If privatisation means a more courteous and efficient service, why should the subscribers object to it? The citizens, in fact, eagerly await the privatisation of the WAPDA and the PIA, as well.
MAJOR ANWAR PASHA (RETD)
Sir: The other day I visited the Food Park at Melody, launched by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) with much fanfare some two years ago. We used the back entrance. Much to our dismay, there is an overflowing sewer at the back entrance. The nearby shops, too, had not been painted for a while. There was dirt on the floor. The waiter ‘cleaned’ our table by wiping it with a filthy cloth, throwing the bones and bits of food left by the previous customer on to the floor.
The paper crockery, the management seems to forget, is not meant for Pakistani foods, which tend to contain a lot of water.
The CDA, we are told, plans to launch more such Food Parks. May I suggest that they also pay some attention to maintaining them?
Sir: PIA’s decision to stop issuing boarding cards to the protocol officers of the so-called VIPs is welcome. I hope that this will prevent numerous last minute delays that have unfortunately become routine with the national airline. For once a boarding card has been issued the airline has to follow lengthy security procedures in case the passenger does not board the flight.
One hopes there will be no exceptions to the rule.
Sir: Every time I travel by the Motorway, my heart is filled with gratitude for Nawaz Sharif. Let every government leave a legacy other than stories of the rotten conduct of its leaders.
Sir: I was amazed to read a statement by Dr Khalid Masud, the Council of Islamic Ideology chairman, that the man-made Hudood laws could be amended (Daily Times, May 30, 2005).
It is common knowledge that a very large number of people, particularly women, have suffered miserably on account of these laws. According to a non-government report, 196 Hudood cases have been registered during the first four months of this year alone. Why does not the government go ahead and repeal them?
MUNAWAR ALI SHAHID
Sir: What are the governments of Sindh and Pakistan doing about Dr Ishrat ul Ibad, the Sindh governor, after allegations of receiving assistance from the British government he was not entitled to? What is the good doctor doing himself? Nothing?
IQBAL HADI ZAIDI
Sir: The announcement of the secondary school examination results by the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education is almost due. May we urge the Peshawar board to make it promptly available on its Website?
Sir: An official of the health ministry has said that Pakistan will be polio-free next year. Did not the health minister, Nasir Khan, promise that last year and the year before?
Sir: Kudos to Rashed Rehman for his thought-provoking analysis of the government action against the PTCL workers’ union (‘Dictatorship of the bourgeoisie’, Daily Times, June 14, 2005).
The government insists on conformity — willing or otherwise — to present to the world a picture of peace and tranquillity.
Quiz for CDA
Sir: How many wastewater treatment plants are there in Islamabad? How many of them are in working order? Why can’t Pakistan fix the ones that are out of order?
Does the CDA plan to buy a French wastewater treatment plant as rumoured? What will it cost? What is the CDA doing about hundreds of rich and powerful citizens who blatantly throw their untreated industrial waste in the nearby streams? How come the entire wastewater from E-9 is discharged into a stream flowing through the F-9 park? What does CDA plan to do about it?
Sir: Khaled Ahmed is right again (‘The Mullahs will never agree!’ Daily Times, June 14, 2005). Dr Israr Ahmed and Samia Raheel Qazi are stuck in the middle ages.
They still believe that women should not be in the parliament and have no say in the local government. “40,000 women,” laments Ms Qazi, were taken out of their rightful place at home to serve in the assemblies”. Aware of the obvious contradiction in her opposition to the seats reserved for women and her own membership of the National Assembly, she says she would go only after sending all others home. Even if they want to serve?
I suggest that all MMA women legislators resign and stay home (their rightful place) and allow moderate/liberal women to serve in the parliament.
Sir: The PTCL should avoid a stand off with its employees that can only inconvenience its subscribers. It would indeed be a hollow victory if it can have its way only by alienating the workers.
On the other hand, the union leaders should realise that privatisation is inevitable in the long term. The only way the utility can remain profitable and the workers keep their jobs is by retaining the subscribers.
SHAHRYAR KHAN BASEER
Sir: Why is it that there is no government department and no non-government organisation working for the protection of eunuchs, educating the society about their problems and rehabilitating them? Why are there are no schools for them, no job quotas and no shelter homes? Can the government just wish away their existence? Or their problems?
For the people
Sir: In a country where nearly 40 percent of the people are extremely poor and another 20 percent at risk of joining them it is disgusting to see a budget that fails to address the serious problems of poverty.
A growth rate of 8.4 percent means nothing to those who have seen their own incomes declining in real terms. I am shocked and bewildered at our leaders’ lack of guilt. Economic progress that does not reduce poverty is far worse then a stagnant economy that is more equitable. The fact is that there is more poverty in the country today than 30 years ago, justice is as remote as it was 30 years ago and law and order is far worse than it was 30 years ago.
Financial ratios and statistics cannot make up for the lack of dignity, justice, humanity and basic quality of life in the country.
Sir: Every society has its rare absolutely incorruptible people. But most people need a minimum standard of living, the loss of which can tempt them into corrupt ways. No amount of regulation, inspection and law enforcement can hold corruption at bay once this has happened.
There are clearly signs that increasingly large numbers of Pakistanis are sinking below the threshold.
JUNAID ASLAM KHAN
Sir: Khaled Ahmad is right. The mullahs will never agree. But then how open to reason is the rest of the society? Why chide the mullah alone?