April 2020

Bitter Truth

This is related to your cover story on the continuous corruption the leaders of Pakistan are indulging in and the outcome the general public has to face. Your last cover story was titled ‘The Loot and Boot Factor’ depicting their looting and then being booted out by the powers that be.

We are all familiar with the way the Pakistan government works. There is corruption, money-laundering and what not. This is nothing new as the people of the country are quite aware of these things and have been suffering time and again due to all this. The people keep paying the price of the mistakes that their leaders commit. Whenever the military takes over in Pakistan, the people are happy but as soon as they leave the situation becomes even worse. The government must realise that it is the servant of the people and not the other way round.

Laraib Javed,
Karachi, Pakistan.

Worth Reading

Everyone must go through the detailed interview of Munir Akram, the Permanent Representative of Pakistan at the United Nations, published in the March 2020 issue of SouthAsia magazine as it contains valuable information. Talking about the harsh treatment the Muslims of India are getting at the hands of the Hindus, Akram sahib is of the opinion that the BJP-RSS government is stoking Islamophobia by using religion as an instrument of identity politics in India. He firmly believes that this is all part of the larger extremist ‘Hindutva’ agenda of the RSS-BJP government. He also emphasises Pakistan’s contribution to the UN Charter in terms of maintaining international peace and security. According to him, Imran Khan’s policies against terrorism have contributed greatly to generating a positive image of Pakistan in the international community.

Beenish Fatima,
Islamabad, Pakistan.

Pay Disparity

Discrimination is the most significant factor driving the gender pay gap. Researchers attribute gender discrimination to almost two-fifths of the gender pay gap and note its influence on the gap which has increased since 2014. The national gender pay gap measures the difference between the average weekly full-time base salary earnings of both genders, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. It is a measure of women’s overall position in the paid workforce and does not compare similar roles. The sad part is that these women and men are not paid on the basis of their work but on the basis of their gender, which is unlawful. The gap further results in an emerging problem of homelessness and financial struggle for women entering their retirement years.

Veronica Lodge,
Sydney, Australia.

Pakistan Super League

This is regarding the article ‘Homecoming’ written by Taha Kehar about HBL PSL Season 5. The best thing about HBL PSL this year was that the entire tournament was played in Pakistan. The efforts of PCB in this regard should be highly appreciated as this was a major turning point since Pakistan hadn’t hosted a Test series on home soil since 2009 when the Sri Lankan team was attacked in Lahore. With its fifth edition, PSL has now become a brand in itself garnering global attention and drawing major players from all over the world. Alas, PSL 5 could not be concluded the way it should have been. Now that the League has become the centre of attention for all, PCB should also concentrate on cricket academies to promote new talent. And yes, more Test cricket should be played in Pakistan.

Talha Murad,
Multan, Pakistan.

Cost Cutting

Following the spread of coronavirus and alerts issued by different countries, the aviation business has been badly affected as international air travel has been drastically reduced. Airlines, the world over, have cut down on their scheduled destinations and reduced the number of flights owing to poor demand. This has made aircraft sit idle on the tarmac while revenues have greatly plunged.

To cope with the fall in revenues and declining profitability, airlines are cutting costs in innovative ways. The PIA management must also take immediate steps to reduce the cost to offset the impact of reduced revenue. Since the airline is over-staffed, as a first step, employees can be advised to go on unpaid leave as well as consume their paid leaves that are not availed yet. Lucrative allowances and privileges being availed by certain groups of employees should be reviewed.

PIA has been facing financial haemorrhaging for many years and the burden may increase beyond redemption if timely and tough cost-containment measures are not implemented in the present situation.

Shoaib Arif,
Karachi, Pakistan.

Political Ties

This is about the article ‘Leading by Force’ written by Sabria Chowdhury Balland about the enactment of NRC and CAA in India and the negative impact it had on the Bangladesh-India diplomatic relationship. Hasina Wajid has been from time to time accused of sacrificing her country’s interests and well-being to India as she has never cared for public opinion. But now the tide has turned as the BJP has made accusations of Hindus suffering in Bangladesh, proving the torture and killing of Muslims in India.
The CAA was labelled as ‘trouble in paradise’ following which three Bangladeshi ministers postponed their official visits to India. Though the act was condemned by many, Sheikh Hasina has now begun to see things clearly. She herself confessed to the public that she did not understand ‘why India did this’, something which the people of Bangladesh have always known.

Mehwish Tanveer,
Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Skyrocketing Prices

The skyrocketing price of essential commodities is making the life of common people very hard. The Covid-19 outbreak has further worsened the situation. The government has failed miserably in its promise of keeping inflation low. The prices of essential commodities such as pulses, vegetables, cereals, cooking oil, sugar, rice and petrol, etc. have been rising unrelentingly. All measures to bring the prices down have failed. Even the international fall in oil prices has not made a difference .

The question is, why does the government not put a rein on inflation? On the one hand, we have food grains worth millions of rupees rotting in the FCI godowns and, on the other, the poor and the middle classes of our country are not getting grain and pulses at reasonable prices. Once the government supplies these food items in the market, the prices will automatically go down. Besides, the hoarding and black-marketing of food items needs to stop and concrete steps should be taken to alleviate the people’s problems.

Maaz Azher,
Karachi, Pakistan.

YouTube Bans Content

YouTube has announced that it would remove election-related videos that are manipulated or doctored to mislead voters, as part of its efforts to stem online misinformation. The Google-owned video outlet will take the measure as part of an effort to be a more reliable source for news and to promote a healthy political discourse. The policy will also ban content which aims to mislead people about voting or the census process. The move comes amid growing concerns about videos being altered using artificial intelligence and rudimentary techniques which can create credible-looking events and deceive viewers.Online platforms came under pressure to eradicate misinformation in the wake of a foreign manipulation effort in the 2016 US elections and claims that not enough was being done to curb false claims by candidates themselves. The latest YouTube statement, which seeks to clarify policy on misinformation, comes as the campaign for US elections starts.

Samuel Richard,
Washington, USA.