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January 17, 2021

People are talking about —

Islamabad

 
January 17, 2021

-- the manner in which the case of removing the chairman of state-run broadcasting channel was handled by the cabinet, which took a decision in haste through the circulation instead of convening a formal meeting about the issue and how it should have at least defended its decision by arguing that age is irrelevant if someone has experience. People say that though the court had given a verdict questioning the appointment, this kind of erratic behaviour makes the cabinet look incompetent and a laughing stock in public opinion.

-- the complaints that the National Savings organisation is riddled with corrupt practices in which many employees are involved and how widows and less-educated clients who cannot fill their profit cheques/withdrawal slips are the soft targets. Under the garb of withholding tax and service charges, huge amounts are deducted from their monthly profits. People say these practices can easily be controlled if the organisation adopts the system of SMS alerts that can notify certificate holders of the exact amount of profit.

-- the feasibility of installing prepaid electricity meters all over the country and how this may be beneficial in many ways, not only for landlords and tenants but the country as a whole. People say prepaid meters will help reduce the circular debt if installed where payment of bills is an issue; will reduce costs as meter readers and the billing department will become redundant and queues at banks to pay bills will no longer be a headache for the ill and aged.

-- the fact that the government regrets that only two million people out of a population of 220 million, pay tax and yet it offers amnesty schemes that encourage people not to file returns because they know that eventually, the government gives in. People say not only should amnesty schemes be banned, the deadline for filing tax returns should not be extended like it is each year as this encourages evaders and is not fair to those who file in time.

-- the Billion Tree Honey Initiative and how the wide dry bed of Malir river is ideal for turning into a forest to meet the needs of the project. People say several hundred acres of this river bed have been encroached upon and all that needs to be done is to stop the illegal cultivation and replace it with fruit-bearing and honeybee friendly trees, while in addition, this ‘forest’ will provide much needed oxygen to the inhabitants of the concrete jungle.

-- the sad fact that whenever there is a shortage of items of daily use, rich and influential persons are behind the crisis, the report on petroleum shortage some weeks ago being the latest scandal. People say stockpiling of petroleum products was a major problem that caused a loss of billions of rupees to the national exchequer as companies owned by these persons ensured that petrol stations were kept dry and were only supplied after the rise of the price of oil through hoarding.

-- the ongoing drama titled ‘Broadsheet’ and how this real-life scandal is keeping social as well as other media platforms busy giving out information about who said what and what happened when to a populace that thrives on sensationalism. People say as in all such cases the truth will never be known as antagonists and protagonists pull the rug from under each other’s feet and give their versions of what happened or are happening, so keep tuned till the uncertain end. – I.H.