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January 24, 2021

People are talking about —

Islamabad

January 24, 2021

—- the shocking news that the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan as well as the Scribe Hotel in Paris, both iconic landmarks in their respective cities and prized assets of the national airline, have been seized by a court order in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) as settlement of the liability to the Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) to whom Pakistan lost an international arbitration case after cancelling the contract that awarded them the Reko Diq gold and copper mines.

—- the fact that the present government has taken a welcome step in making public the judgment of arbitration between Broadsheet and Pakistan National Accountability Bureau that was handed down in 2016. People say there are plenty of skeletons in the Broadsheet cupboard and they must be brought out into the open and the government must ensure full transparency in the matter so that no facts are allowed to be obscured at the altar of political expediency.

—- the report that there are some government institutions which are availing 50 per cent rebated air tickets on any sector/route flown by the national flag carrier and these rebated tickets are always confirmed seats on any intended flight. People say the PIA management can surely curtail a huge financial burden if it rationalizes this facility because no other Pakistani airline offers it to anyone, so why does the national carrier keep up the practice even now it is in dire straits?

—- the little known fact that the liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply defaults last week by two foreign state-owned companies came as a blessing in disguise to Pakistan as two urgent replacement tenders for February fetched about 16-18 per cent cheaper rates as international markets plunged. People say these facts and figures should be broadcast widely by the petroleum division so that the opposition can stop scoring points by dragging the government over the coals for importing expensive gas.

—- the debate over elections to the Senate and the different opinions expressed by various experts over what is the correct procedure, something which causes unnecessary friction among stakeholders. It is an unfortunate, but well known fact, that votes are bought for such elections, no matter that some persons appear to think political entities should feel loyal and vote for their own party. People say a show of hands or open balloting will ensure that the process is open and above board.

—- the heartening news that children living in Thar, which is one of the most deprived regions of the country, formed their own ‘Thar Children’s Parliament’ to create political awareness among the local youth. Students from different schools of Tharparkar participated in the election process and two parties were formed in a democratic way. Their opposition leader, a girl, has asked the party in ‘power’ to ensure strict compliance with what the members have sworn to do.

—- the anomaly of our broadcast laws where there is an authority to control content that is shown via cable but is defeated in its purpose by content telecast via dish antennas. People say it is not possible to control international content, so more viewers are opting for the dish, which unfortunately has taken ‘freedom of speech’ to a cringe worthy level of inappropriate content that has ruined the fabric of decency and respect we owe to our loved ones - and to ourselves.