Thursday December 08, 2022

People are talking about —

October 02, 2022

— the news that the condition whereby only male candidates were declared eligible and females were barred from applying for the post of Tehsildar and Naib Tehsildar by the Balochistan Public Service Commission has been declared ‘illegal and unconstitutional' by the Balu­chistan High court. People say the illogical reason for the non-eligibility of female candidates for the post is not valid for the simple reason that a number of females are working as superintendents of police, SHO, assistant commissioners, judges, secretaries, and ministers.

— how 600,000 pregnant women in flood-affected areas lack maternal health services and have no safe place to deliver, with lack of reproductive health services impacting their lives. People say the government must strengthen community-based providers to help them provide much-needed services to their communities, while urgently prioritizing the needs of women and girls who disproportionately bear the brunt of the devastating impacts of climate change and are suffering because of this and other illnesses plaguing the flood affected.

— the farmers strike; how they have refused to end their protest unless their demands are accepted and how the government appears helpless because of IMF demands. People say the country’s fiscal and current account woes cannot be tackled on a sustainable basis without drastically and rapidly improving its agricultural economy which can play a major role in economic revival and for that to happen, policies must be revamped to make smallholders and landless farmers the centre-piece of all new initiatives.

— how the extensive damage caused by the floods to road infrastructure, physical access to food in some areas has become very difficult and acute food insecurity is expected to go up considerably as the livelihood of a large number of people has been disrupted as vulnerable households have been forced to deplete their productive assets to secure their basic needs. People say all efforts should be made to remedy this disastrous situation by diverting funds from useless projects like beautifying cities.

— the hulla ballo over PIA’s general manager asking flight attendants to ‘dress appropriately’ while on duty and out and about and how the controversy could have been avoided by use of proper language and selection of words. People say while this ‘private’ issue was taken up between the management and the female flight attendants, in this day and age of social media when nearly everything is recorded and ‘shared,’ those at both the ‘giving’ and ‘receiving’ end need to be extra careful.

— the news that Pakistan’s Oscars Selection Committee has shortlisted the movie ‘Joyland’ as the country’s submission to the 95th Academy Awards for the ‘International Feature Film Award’ category with hopes the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will choose it as a final for the awards. People say while this is good news, the fact that the film has not been released in the country so far because of its so-called ‘sensitive’ subject matter is rather sad.

— the threatening pamphlets that have been posted in the conservative town of Lakki Marwat in Khyber Pakhtun­khwa, warning citizens not to send their girls to regular schools but to support seminaries and how these have unnerved the residents. People say the pamphlets were posted quietly at night so no one knows who has put them up and even if anyone knows they are afraid to speak up, which is the sad reality of living in areas where ultra-conservatism is the norm. — I.H.