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We call this liberalism
Sir: The television channels never cease to amaze me. In a bid to compete with the Indian channels, our entertainment industry has expanded quite a bit and one can witness far more ‘liberal’ entertainment than we were ever allowed in the good ol’ days. So much so that the guardian of our morality are now complaining about the invasion of the Western and Indian culture etc. But what worries me is something quite different. Despite the superficial liberal values that the electronic media is being associated with, in reality it is propagating right wing conservative values.
Let me illustrate with an example. One programme on a Pakistani news channel invites religious scholars to discuss religious issues. Inevitably the majority of the questions or issues discussed on this programme relate to women and the opinion of the guests are rarely ever enlightened or liberal. Just the other day they were asked if women could go to mosques for prayers. Both the guest scholars agreed that it was not forbidden but (there always is a but) as long as their going to the mosque did not lead to fitna and fasad. It wasn’t difficult to conclude that they thought women should not go to the mosques as their presence would only cause problems! Why? Obviously because women will ‘tempt’ men to sin and hence should not be allowed to venture out of the chaar devari.
If these are the bigoted views that the popular media will propagate, how can Pakistan ever become liberal and tolerant? The battle is already lost.
Sir: The residents of Block H-1, Johar town Lahore have been facing inconvenience for the last ten years. Most of the population is residing in phase 2 where the connections for Sui gas were laid last year. But only half the people were provided gas connections. The majority of the residents are still deprived of gas. Why the discrimination for everyone in the area has paid the development charges to LDA?
The government and the LDA authorities should make immediate arrangements to provide gas to the rest of the residents.
MOHAMMAD AMJAD BHATTI
Whom does he represent?
Sir: While one returns, the other boards the plane. One disembarked with promises of F-17 and $1.5 billion in US aid for arms procurement, at the cost of our children’s schooling, health, clothing and better future. If this not madness, pray what is?
The general continues to crow that ‘Uniform is not the issue. I will not take it off.’ What world is General Pervez Musharraf living in? Whom does he represent? He does not speak for the people of this country.
I think we are heading for a tragedy even bigger than 1971. If a general becomes the be-all, can disaster be far behind? Like the historically condemned Generals Ayub, Yahya, and Zia, he too wants to lead the country towards catastrophe. It is the duty of all opposition parties to launch a full-scale campaign to send General Musharraf back to the barracks. It is time the politicians stood up and worked to restore democracy before our country comes to any harm. Just holding demonstrations in far away places won’t do.
Car industry vs people
Sir: Some people are suggesting importing re-conditioned cars. But this should not be allowed because it will have a negative impact on the flourishing Pakistani automobile industry. Import will encourage smuggling of cars. We have witnessed the 'yellow cab scheme' in the past which led to wrongdoings on a massive scale.
According to projections the demand of cars in Pakistan is expected to grow three-fold in the next few years. The government should encourage existing assemblers to expand and allow entrepreneurs to set up new plants. We cannot afford to destroy our local industry by importing re-conditioned cars; so many people depend on this industry. Banks have been helped by the increased demand for cars as many people have leased cars from them. Importing re-conditioned cars will adversely impact them also.
Do we need the C’wealth
Sir: Are we in the Commonwealth or not? If not, why do we have High Commissions instead of embassies? By the way, what do we really gain from the membership to the club that we are clamouring to re-enter?
COL. RIAZ JAFRI
Sir: A grand festival in the name of ‘Gold Rush’ is being organised under the auspices of World Gold Council (WGC). The month long festival will not only encourage the gold industry in the country but will also assist economic activity in Karachi. The festival is being held at a time when the preparations for the wedding season are in full swing in Karachi. This is the perfect time to hold the festival and reflects the competence of the local administration of WGC. I hope festivals like this will be held in other cities of Pakistan also.
FAHIM G SYED
Not in the people’s interest
Sir: The news report that Pakistan is sharing details of Foreign Currency Accounts with FBI to help America track money being used by terrorists is hardly pleasing. It seems that we have become a colony of the West.
Most Pakistanis working abroad are paid low wages and most of their transactions are done in cash to avoid taxation. Most of them used the hawala system to send money to their families. After the crackdown on the hawala system, money has to be sent through banks but this is risky because a large number of these people have not paid any taxes.
America is mistaken in thinking that the terrorists launder money like the South American drug cartels. On the other hand, Pakistani FCA are growing in number mostly because of remittances from abroad and any sensible government would help and assist such transactions. To crackdown on this would be like killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Banking secrecy laws are meant to protect the costumer and allow the country to grow financially. If the FBI is given access to information about these accounts, the records of non-resident Pakistanis will be scrutinised by the US and a number of them will be thrown out of jobs or deported from the States. This will not serve the interests of our people.