Friday August 19, 2022

People are talking about —

June 26, 2022

-- the dual ‘governments’ in Punjab that are confusing the public, not to say anything about how ridiculous the situation appears to thinking persons. People say it’s a questionable action that the ‘government’ which holds its sessions at Aiwan -e- Iqbal, has sent a show-cause notice to the secretariat staff for not attending the budget session since the staff decided against it because they must be as confused as everyone else and wonder where they are supposed to report.

-- the news that the government has decided to sell state-owned enterprises to foreign countries through negotiated deals instead of conducting transparent bidding and also ruled out the possibility of handing over management control of power distribution companies to the private sector. People say the decisions taken by the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCOP) mark a departure from the privatization path laid in an Act of Parliament, which aimed at ensuring maximum gains for the state and avoiding discretion in such sensitive matters.

-- the mayhem that ensued during and after local body elections in a constituency of Karachi and how distressing it is that political parties resort to violence and destruction of property when results are not to their expectations. People say while it is a sorry state of affairs that rigging takes place and appears to be uncontrollable by the authorities, what is even more upsetting is the fact that many innocent bystanders suffer, losing their lives or getting their property damaged.

-- the reason why poverty remains rampant in rural Pakistan is unfair land ownership, in addition to which landlords have turned their sharecroppers into captive voters allowing them to acquire political power and use it to perpetuate their own interests. People say after a token attempt to redistribute land to landless/ small-scale farmers, land reforms were deemed ‘un-Islamic’ by the Shariat Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court in 1989 and no attempt has been made to review this decision by any government.

-- the sad fact that any government which comes into power takes credit for the development and other initiatives taken by the previous one when they are completed. People say it takes months/years to achieve certain goals whether they are of development or other improvements to the infrastructure, so credit should be given where credit is due because now the public is much more aware of what is going on in the country and false claims are ignored or laughed off.

-- the ban on importing luxury items and how it has come as a blessing because Pakistanis are discovering that local alternatives of many items are just as good as imported ones. People say either the mindset of consumers or poor marketing by the companies was at fault as generally it was not known that Pakistan has many quality consumer products and it is not necessary to import similar ones in large amounts -- just enough to keep the local standards high.

-- how with the downpour of pre-monsoon rains most of the country witnessed power outages and proved that sewerage and drainage systems are in poor shape because rainwater accumulated on roads and residential areas, resulting in fatalities and causing disruptions to routine lives. People say municipal authorities continue shifting the blame on one another and fail to accept responsibility or work on improving the situation and it is high time that they and the provincial governments work collaboratively to prevent the risks of urban flooding. -- I.H.