People are talking about —

By Our Correspondent
May 19, 2024
An aerial view of Islamabad is seen in this undated image. — X/Islamabadies/File

--- the report that states that the government owns some 200 ‘white elephant’ SOE’s and that, over the past five years, these have accumulated around Rs4 trillion worth of losses. People say it is high time the government made up its mind to privatise these ‘white elephants’ and not fall victim to pressure by workers and management who have not delivered, yet have drawn their salaries and enjoyed other privileges at the expense of our cash strapped, debt ridden country.


--- the announcement of an ‘education emergency,’ to promote literacy and ensure the enrolment of out of school children to deal with the education crisis, which is a deep-rooted and widespread. People say the disparity in education between urban and rural areas, as well as between boys and girls, exacerbates the problem, so a revamp of the educational syllabi, updating them to meet the demands of the 21st century, is necessary, while upgrading the teaching skills and content knowledge of educators must be a priority.

--- the report that funds of eleven billion will be spent on improvement/building houses for government officials in the Rawalpindi area alone. People wonder at this lavish expenditure when the country and its less privileged citizens are dealing with inflation and finding it difficult to make two ends meet, since government servants must be living somewhere before they were appointed and should not be given such luxuries in the present circumstances.

--- the report, “Body to regulate unbridled social media set up,” about the federal government constituting the National Cyber Crime Investigation Agency (NCCIA) to deal with offences related to cyber security though the Cybercrime Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) already existed. People say while the debate of whether this is legal or not will continue but one thing is certain, the genie of social media is out of the bottle and no amount of restrictions will be able to put it back!

--- the fact that problems created by nepotism affects not just the top management in any organisation, it effects the selection of teams and other officials down the line, resulting in the decline in the performances of official duties and sporting events. People say it is high time the credentials of all the officials working at senior positions in governments and corporations were checked and posting of political blue-eyed persons at positions of significance is avoided.

--- the fact that parents or family members hand over devices, like mobile phones and tablets, to children, even babies, to keep them ‘entertained,’ which is seriously detrimental to their development, hindering their cognition, memory, critical thinking and, above all, decision-making abilities. People say a balance between study, sleep and entertainment in one’s life is important, so limiting screen time, keeping a check on content the children watch and encouraging them to take up physical activities are critical for mental and physical health.

--- the mushroom growth of illegal housing societies which has contributed to a surge in criminal activity, with some officials in the relevant government departments facilitating this illicit industry. A recent survey by a leading newspaper revealed a startling rise in the number of these societies, their success of those involved in the shady business and how the public has demanded accountability, particularly targeting these officials for their complicity in enabling land grabbers. — I.H.