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May 27, 2019

People are talking about —


May 27, 2019

— the fact that the government is falling into the trap set by vested interests by talking to heads of companies which propagate GMO products because it thinks investment is coming into the country, or through the so-called ‘aid’ projects touted by big countries. People say we all urgently need to raise our individual and collective voices against these looming, imminent, monumental mistakes and irreversible actions and question whether lawmakers in Parliament have been consulted before taking this quantum leap backwards.

— the statement of a wildlife official that the presence of leopards in the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) is healthy for the ecological system and not a serious risk to human well-being. While this is good to know, what needs to be done is to educate the villagers living in the hills by giving practical lessons on how to safeguard their livestock; control their knee jerk reaction when they spot a leopard and report sightings to the concerned authorities.

— the major controversy that erupted after the new Minister of Science and Technology stated that he would be issuing a science-based lunar calendar to determine the start of Ramazan and other Muslim festivals. The clergy, who consider it their monopoly on all religion-related issues, immediately challenged him but there was a sigh of relief and kudos for the minister from the majority of people because of the uncertainty they experience twice a year that puts a dampener on festivities.

— the growing number of incidents when those who are supposed to be safeguarding citizens from harm turn out to be perpetrators of criminal activities. Civilian men in uniform are supposed to be the ones people turn to when in trouble or when they need a helping hand but unfortunately a few bad sheep among their ranks have given them an unsavoury reputation, so citizens are afraid to go to police stations to file complaints and are often sorry when they do.

— the various amnesty schemes announced by the government and how those who pay taxes feel disappointed and angry because they were law abiding. After the whitening of black money by just paying a meagre percentage of tax, the scheme to ‘forgive’ defaulters of electricity payments is on the cards, which is unfair as these persons have been allowed to run up huge amounts without their supply being cut whereas ordinary people cannot default on even a single payment.

— the fine print in the FBR advertisement on the Asset Declaration Scheme which calls on ‘all Pakistanis except holders of public office and their family members,’ which has people wondering whether these persons have been exempted because of their status. While it is not right to point fingers at anyone without proof, there are some ex public office holders who have been under scrutiny because of having assets beyond their means, so maybe the FBR has its reasons?

— the different statements given by ministers/ government officials about the economic situation in the country that kind of contradict each other since some say it will take two years to improve and others quote different time frames. People say now that the PM has given a period of two months for the crisis to be over, his team should remain quiet on the subject to avoid confusion among the public and concentrate on the performance of their own ministries. — I.H.

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