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May 9, 2021

People are talking about —

 
May 9, 2021

-- the fact that after all the violence it unleashed recently on streets across the country, a religio-political party was banned with a show of bravado but then this weak and frightened government held talks with the same party, released its chief, accepted its demands and the party was allowed to contest by-polls in Karachi. People are wondering whatever happened to the ban and the mindboggling fact that the loss of lives and property turned out to be nothing but collateral damage.

-- the mind boggling fact that another prominent politician under investigation has been allowed to go abroad for ‘treatment’ giving the whole world the impression that there are no good doctors available in Pakistan and also overlooking the fact that those who were allowed to go earlier have not returned despite giving their word. People say no wonder the public bemoans the dual standards applied in the country, one for the rich and one for the less privileged.

-- how persons in the top tier of the government need to be less aggressive and more understanding while dealing with officials, investigating the issues and reasons that complaints have been made by the public. People say not all officials are inept -- many work with financial constraints; clueless, political favourites appointed for specialized jobs; lazy aides and it’s also a fact that we are a nation of complainers, and blame others even if the fault lies with us.

-- the fact that the federal government has decided not to compromise on the country’s blasphemy law in view of a recent resolution by the European Parliament but will introduce new legislation with regard to various aspects of human rights. People say this is good news as blasphemy laws are increasingly used for personal or political score settling in violation of the rights to freedom of religious belief and of opinion, targeting human rights defenders, journalists, artists and the most marginalized people in society.

-- the defiant stance of traders who say they will not stick to lockdown rules no matter what the government says, while the majority of the public think the pandemic is just a myth and refuse to follow SOP’s. People say what was the idea of calling on the army to help the police if they are not allowed to enforce strict observance of SOP’s, while the weak government needs to have the gumption to get its orders obeyed or then not pass them.

-- the news that a banned political party has been using social media, holding press conferences and urging the public to defy the government and come out on the streets to protest and cause mayhem by which the general public suffers the most. People question the role of the social media watchdogs who are supposed to remove controversial content from being circulated and whether they are afraid of tackling the issue or just careless about monitoring content.

-- that while we are at the height of the COVID pandemic and the public is expected to follow protocols, TV transmissions are squeezing large numbers of people onto sets without following any SOP’s. People say these shows are non-productive, they just seem hell bent on ridiculing and insulting human beings in the name of entertainment and profit, with zero respect for human dignity, while those taking part in them should at least show some self-respect and refuse to participate in them. – I.H.