Monday December 05, 2022

People are talking about —

January 23, 2022

—- the indiscriminate felling of the mangrove forest along Karachi’s coastline by the wood mafia and the manner in which the provincial government is ignoring the destruction of this vital asset to keep the city safe while supporting various life forms. People say the only group trying to save the mangroves, the Pakistan Fisher folk Forum (PFF) is not strong enough to fight the powerful mafia and two of its activists were killed and drowned allegedly at the hands of these grabbers.

—- the dismaying news that a road is being cut through the idyllic Karoonjhar Mountains in Tharparkar desert, as their attributes also include religious, cultural and historic significance, while despite court orders, some private companies are still mining granite and other minerals from the mountain to utter dismay of the local residents who revere the mountain. People say it is negligent on the part of the provincial not to get the mountains declared a heritage site under The Ancient Monuments Preservation Act.

—- the bill seeking to regulate the system of moon-sighting and empowering the Ruet Hilal committee in an effort to end the seasonal controversies over sighting of the crescent. People say it’s about time such a law was passed as there is so much confusion on the issue in this country, unlike in other countries where the government takes a firm stand and does not allow this uncertainty to spoil the public’s enjoyment of a special occasion.

—- the mind boggling fact that the government is unable to stop the use of plastic bags despite the reality that they are the major cause of environment pollution and defiant shopkeepers and ‘couldn’t care less’ customers openly use them because they know bans and court orders are not followed through by the administration. People say there’s an easy solution to the problem - shut down the manufacturing plants - but it appears the powerful plastic lobby is stronger than the government’s writ.

—- the heartless manner in which bystanders take videos to post on social media when a tragedy occurs instead of helping victims or injured persons, just so they can get thousands of meaningless ‘likes’ from others as insensitive as them. People say social media platforms have become more of a curse that a pleasure because of such behavior, with many persons losing their sense of humanity and propriety and becoming spectators rather than saviors, so the few good Samaritans who are left should be appreciated.

—- the debate on whether it is right for courts to take notice of anomalies in the administrative affairs of the country or remain within the ambit of their professional duties. People say a lack of good governance and administrative incompetence probably warrant that courts take notice but unfortunately their orders are mostly ignored because there is no mechanism to see that they are implemented by the administration, so this should be rectified or courts are considered weak and lose public trust.

—- the costly advertisements that are being printed in the newspapers courtesy the Population Welfare Department, and what a waste of money they are as it’s not the educated who need advice on small families but the uneducated and underprivileged. People say it would be better if special teams were formed to reach out to them or small clinics with dedicated staff opened in the areas where they live. — I.H.