Readers’ Thoughts

January 2023

A Test of Political Maturity

This is with reference to last month’s cover story titled ‘Nobody Runs Forever.’ Though there is no second opinion about the indispensability of the transition of leadership power, no state institution can ever afford to revolve around a single figure to lead the institution for life and then make a mess of appointing the next in line, as it has recently been done by the current government led by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif. The responsibility equally lies on the former prime minister Imran Khan too who went an extra mile to turn the matter of the selection of the new army chief into street gossip. No doubt, the Parliament reigns supreme over the rest of the state institutions, including the armed forces, however, the bevy of parliamentarians and legislatures should have shown some political maturity before discussing such crucial matters in public.

Jamil Ahmed Janjua,
Karachi, Pakistan.

Double-faced Politics

IT is strange to observe a dual personality syndrome found in our political strata. Almost all politicians in the country suffer from this syndrome. First, take the example of our former finance minister, who has recently stepped down. I have read his two articles in the last few weeks. Both pieces reflect intellect. But this intellectual side of his personality came out only after he was replaced by another former finance minister.

When he was in office, his brilliance could do no wonder. It is a typical case of the same person having different personalities. But he is surely not alone. In fact, there are many to give him company in this club, like, say, a former prime minister who wants to reclaim power even while conceding that he could not understand for more than three years in office what was going on around him and how the system worked.

These are just two examples of the dual personality representing the whole class of politicians. This is high time the citizens took their destiny in their own hands. Politicians simply make promises.

Till we find a cure for this dual personality syndrome, we should stop trusting politicians.

Sagheer Abbas,
Lahore, Pakistan.

Remembering Javed Ansari

This is with reference to your article titled ‘A Journalist Par Excellence.’ The piece was written in tribute to Javed Ansari, former editor of SouthAsia, who died on November 18, 2022. I want to add something about Javed Ansari who was, in fact, a teacher in addition to being the most dedicated journalist as well as PR and advertising practitioner the country has ever seen.

Teachers aren’t confined to classroom settings as we can find them in the unlikeliest of places. When I joined Slogan Magazine as an assistant editor eleven years ago, Javed Ansari became the first of my many unexpected teachers. What struck me most about him in the initial days of working with him was his taciturnity. Still young, I attributed the invisible boundary in our professional relationship as a heady mix of a generation gap and his undisguised scepticism over my skills as an editor. I was nineteen and searching for a comfortable distraction during an unplanned gap year. I had been hired as an intern at Slogan Magazine when the previous assistant editor took ill and was offered her position when she decided against returning to the office.

I doubt Ansari Sahab was thrilled at the prospect of training an inexperienced editor whose copy was submerged in a sea of red, but he remained patient yet firm. He delivered his edicts -- that were both gentle and stern -- through a series of emails.

I didn’t take umbrage at the occasional reprimands. Those emails were an unofficial classroom, a golden opportunity to learn something new. I soon realized that an editor is a powerhouse and a repository of insights.

As the months passed, I seemed to have found a drain-stopper to flush out the embarrassing sea of red. The email decrees weren’t as stern as before and I convinced myself that I’d gained his approval.

When my gap year ended and I went off to university, emails from Ansari Sahab continued to arrive for many years. This time, they didn’t contain veiled reprimands, but were filled with pitches to write for SouthAsia magazine. Each pitch was a ticket to tread unknown territory as a writer and journalist.

With the sudden demise of Javed Ansari, the doors of the unofficial classroom are now closed forever.

Taha Kehar,
Karachi, Pakistan.

Unjust Taxes

This is with reference to the news report about the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) which is planning to revise property tax. The increase in property tax by Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) is clearly unjust. The CBC administration must revise its decision, and should, instead, work on the betterment or provision of basic amenities. Even matters related to basic facilities are not handled efficiently by the CBC.

Ahmed Muslim Alavi,
Karachi, Pakistan.

Acquisition of IT Knowledge

In this modern time and age ruled by technology, it is mandatory for students to know how to effectively employ such sought-after technological tools and programmes as Microsoft Office and the rest. This is because during the job hunt the first thing that is required by potential employers is good communication and computer skills. In other case, it will be an arduous task for students and the rest of the job seekers to find a suitable employment opportunity if these qualities and professional attributes are not acquired. However, there is always room to learn such much-needed programmes by taking small courses and getting ready to step into professional life with confidence.

M. Bilquees Mujahid,
Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Plastics and the Environment

Plastic pollution is increasing rapidly across the world, causing irreparable damage to the environment. In case of Pakistan, the level of plastic pollution in the country is quite higher, but the overall response from the government authorities is not very encouraging. Before it turns into another environmental disaster, the concerned authorities and government departments must take a slew of effective measures to address the critical issue. As a responsible citizen, we must also join hands with the concerned people and by raising the awareness about the pressing issue, particularly in the social media so that our voices are heard by many. This will eventually bring about a drastic change into the lives of many people.

Khwaja Riaz Uddin,
Sargodha, Pakistan.

Positive Journalism

This is with reference to the Special Editorial Feature on Kaizen Paint that appeared in SouthAsia in its December 2022 issue. Giving adequate space to such business and corporate firms and bringing their economic contributions to the limelight is kind of a positive journalism that must always be supported and applauded. I suggest you please keep up the trend in your future editions and cover the rest of the leading business organisations and commercial ventures that are playing a key role in keeping the South Asia’s economic wheel running against overwhelming odds.

Anjum Iftikhar,
Islamabad, Pakistan.