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APROPOS the editorial “Ghost pensioners” (Aug 20). This phenomenon should not surprise us. After all, we have ghost teachers, ghost policemen, ghost schools as well as government employees who (when they turn up for work) are so inefficient that they are totally useless.

It seems Pakistan is in danger of becoming a country of ‘the living dead’, and the existence of so many ghosts confirms it.

Shakir Lakhani
Karachi
Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2015









Paying to be robbed

This refers to the news report, ‘Gas consumers may have to pay for gas theft’ (August 11). It seems our country is a haven for thieves, smugglers, dacoits and crooks of all kinds. Because our “worthy” traders do not wish to pay income tax, honest citizens have to pay more to balance the country’s budget. Owing to rampant electricity theft, we are penalized with high tariffs. And now we hear that due to gas theft those consumers who do not steal gas will have to pay for the stolen gas.

Out of roughly Rs40 billion worth of gas theft, Kohat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa accounts for theft to the tune of Rs8 billion. What about the remaining Rs32 billion gas theft? Obviously, this kind of theft must be taking place with the connivance of gas company employees. How many have been caught and punished so far? Why are the two gas companies not doing anything to reduce theft? How long will we poor mortals have to pay for this loot and plunder?


Shakir Lakhani
Karachi
Printed in The News, August 20, 2015








Sweet travel

 Over the past year, sugar prices have declined by 39 percent internationally but we are paying 40 percent more for sugar than we did last year. The probable reason for this is that many of our politicians – both in the government and the opposition – are sugar mill owners.

Perhaps Imran Khan should ask his favourite (JKT) why he continues to rob us in this manner. But then JKT has to maintain an expensive aircraft to take the great leader and his wife all over the country. So why should he allow poor Pakistanis to get sugar at reduced rates?

Shakir Lakhani
Printed in The News, August 7, 2015


The victory game

This refers to the editorial, ‘The victory game’ (July 25). While the Judicial Commission concluded that the 2013 general elections were by and large fair and transparent it cannot be said that rigging did not take place at all, particularly in Karachi and rural areas.

In Karachi, rigging may or may not have been on a big enough scale to affect the overall result (this is debatable) but one can say with confidence that in rural areas, this was not the case. With most voters being highly illiterate, it would not have been very difficult to buy their votes or compel them to vote for the winning party in other ways. Therefore, the only way to prevent rigging is to empower the ECP by increasing the number of its employees. Why do we have elections to the National Assembly and provincial assemblies on the same day? The best thing would be if elections are held over a period of four days and the results not announced until all votes have been counted and verified. Another reform that is needed is to have elections to the four provincial assemblies two years after the National Assembly elections – but it would be too much to expect from the present lot in parliament to agree to this.

Shakir Lakhani
Karachi
Printed in The News, July 28, 2015










THIS refers to Dr Hoodbhoy’s article ‘Math in our madressahs?’ It is tempting to think that the teaching of science, mathematics and English in madressahs would substantially reduce terrorism in the country.

The author has, however, ignored the fact that some terrorists (like the ones responsible for Sabin Mahmud’s murder and the Safoora massacre) had a good education, and one of them is even a business graduate from a prestigious institution.

And what about those Pakistani origin men who carried out train and bus bombings in the UK? In fact, the UK was terrorised for many years by Irish terrorists, most of whom were products of the British education system which prioritises the teaching of mathematics, science and English.

It should be obvious that even quality education cannot prevent a person from being brainwashed and turning to terrorism. There must be other factors involved.

Shakir Lakhani
Karachi
Printed in DAWN, July 27, 2015

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