Friday June 21, 2024

Getting relief from self-interest sacrifice

By Zafar Alam Sarwar
November 19, 2020

“Our domestic life may not be as sweet as it was a long time ago, but now we have to exercise patience and share each other’s happiness and economic prosperity if it visibly exists. We’re in fact passing through hard times despite some relief being provided by the new elected administration.”

Common people of Pakistan and Canada do not think of democracy differently: they seem to have derived democratic ideas from the very concept of people’s welfare as it was established by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) at Madinah. Women for the first time in the history of the world were given equal socio-economic rights and provided opportunities to live as honourable citizens.

One has come across a number of housewives in Rawalpindi-Islamabad and Lahore in Pakistan and in Canada where I have come to see for myself and listen to members of Pakistani families in respect of their way of living in Canada.

Here in Canada the Punjabis have their own story about food prices: housewives react angrily to price hike and malnutrition that have been not been brought under control. The fact is that most of selfish politicians and their untamed children called ‘chhokras’ have now become a ‘non-sense’. Gentle families say ‘such so-called politicians are nothing but political thugs.

Pakistanis especially Punjabis say everybody is a consumer. So, most of citizens do feel impact on their daily life when in spite of administration’s effort to arrest food price hike there is abrupt rise in vegetable, fruit, milk, yogurt and meat prices.

A United Nations Development Programme official had once said “the people of Pakistan are of course very capable and intelligent, but they’re not making more progress than they should in terms of poverty reduction and inequality.”

Perhaps, he forgot that now-defeated terrorists again were trying to create hurdle in our socio-economic progress.

Prime Minister Imran Khan will have to deal strictly with them better use an iron hand to settle account with looters of public money. Now wealthy sections of society may not take time in realising that beneficial change demands, as he said, sacrificing short-term, individual and family interest.

The heartening news is that our country is fighting devastating malnutrition with mass food fortifying programme. A programme of fortification of everyday foods such as bread and oil had already been undertaken in an attempt to tackle chronic and widespread malnutrition.

One can recall that under a £36 million programme one had seen nutrients added directly to wheat flour, edible oils and ghee at source in mills and factories. This was the first time that staple food was to be fortified across the country which reportedly had some of the worst rates of child malnutrition. The programme aimed mainly at changing the health of women and children.

Prime Minister Imran Khan appears wise enough to look back into the misdoings of the past rulers. He personally asked me to visit Lahore to see people working for the participation of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. I was surprised to see many of them were engaged in self-interest. I had to warn them against doing anything that harmed the national interest.

How many political power seekers know that early child bearing reduces a woman’s nutritional status and there are taboos around women eating certain food? For example, they might be told they can’t eat much egg or meat in pregnancy, which in fact are rich in protein and iron that they need.

The high levels of malnutrition have a devastating impact on our country’s development.

When these children become adults they are more susceptible to communicable diseases, they generate less money for their families. Hence, fighting disastrous malnutrition is must. How many politicians will come forward to work together on this sacred front?