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APROPOS Dr Parvez Hoodbhoy’s article ‘Sending Pakistan to Mars’ (Oct 18), not many Pakistanis know that Pakistan began the space race in the sub-continent by launching two rockets into space in 1962. Until then, only nine countries (which included Israel but not India) had been able to launch rockets into space.

Unfortunately, our successive governments did not pay much attention to our space programme and India was able to steam ahead of us. In fact, even Iran sent a monkey into space a couple of years ago.
It will be many years before Pakistan is able to do this, despite having launched two experimental satellites in 1990 and 2001.
For Pakistan to make further progress in space technology, the first thing that needs to be done is to replace our outdated locally-produced science text books with imported ones. We can then hire Pakistani teachers from English-speaking countries to train the new generation in physics, mathematics and allied subjects.
Shakir Lakhani
Karachi
Printed in DAWN, October 23, 2014


Imran and Jinnah

Sir: With reference to the article “Imran Khan is no Jinnah” (Daily Times, October 10, 2014), I’m amazed that the writer could even think of comparing a power-hungry person like our ex-cricketer Imran Khan with the founder of our nation, Jinnah. If at all there is a need to compare this Taliban sympathiser to any leader; it should be Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was so eager to become the prime minister of the country that he refused to acknowledge the winner of the 1970s elections and to hand over power to Mujeebur Rehman. We know what happened as a result of this stubborn and arrogant attitude; the country was dismembered. Imran Khan’s attitude is similar to Bhutto’s. The country be damned as long as he gets to be the prime minister.

SHAKIR LAKHANI
Karachi
Printed in Daily Times, October 14, 2014


Provincial games

This refers to the article, ‘Demanding more provinces’’ (September 27) by Sikander Ali Hullio. If the provincial government spent taxpayers’ money where it really mattered (not siphoning it away to foreign bank accounts), there would be no demand for more provinces. However, the people of the urban areas have a right to ask why they should pay any taxes, considering no one knows how our taxes are spent. Even if there had been visible progress in rural areas, we would not have been aggrieved. 

Unfortunately we do not know what is being done with our tax money, so it is time to devolve power to the cities and hold local bodies elections without delay. Otherwise people would not be satisfied unless the present divisions are made provinces. It is worth mentioning that the entire country of Switzerland is divided into twenty six provinces, even though that country’s population is less than half that of Karachi.

Shakir Lakhani
Karachi

Printed in The News, September 30, 2014


Like a puppet on a string

This refers to your editorial ‘In the wilderness’ (September 16). I think you’re being rather harsh on Imran Khan. Please wait for him to grow up. After all, he is only 61 or 62; he needs many more years before he learns to think before speaking. 

Let him go on hurling false allegations against practically everyone in the country. It will take a very long time, but I’m sure one day he will realise that people have grown sick of him and want him to behave like a mature adult. Until then, let him do what his advisers tell him to do. He is like a puppet on a string, saying and doing what he’s ordered to say and do.

Shakir Lakhani
Karachi
Printed in The News, September 19, 2014




Going, going, gone?
  
Both Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri must be very dejected. They thought that the government would fall perhaps even before they reached Islamabad. When the government did not budge, they incited their followers to indulge in violence, probably expecting that hundreds would die in the resulting police action and the army would be compelled to intervene and overthrow the government. 
The most astonishing thing was that their men calmly beat up policemen while other men in uniform looked on indifferently. We had no idea our police are so helpless. One of the first things to be investigated is why the police are not trained to deal with demonstrators attacking state and private property. The two leaders have also shown the way to others how to effectively paralyze the government. With such people in our midst, do we need external enemies? Both Imran and Qadri should retire immediately from politics and leave the country. As for those in power, the PML-N, one hopes they've seen the writing on the wall and will perform in accordance with people's expectations. If they had allowed local bodies elections to be held, perhaps things would never have come to such a sorry pass.

Shakir Lakhani
Karachi
Printed in The News, September 05, 2014 








Imran insanities

Sir: With reference to the editorial “Dialogue and flexibility” (Daily Times, August 25, 2014), we should no longer be surprised by anything Imran Khan says, even if he demands that he should take over the country without elections being held. Those of us (including myself) who voted for his party are bitterly disillusioned. Mr Khan appears to be a megalomaniac, and has scant regard for the damage he is causing the country. Comparisons are being made with the massive rigging that took place in 1977 but the situation then was very different. At that time, all opposition parties were deadly against the government while today the entire opposition is against Mr Khan. As for the ex-cricketer being advised wrongly by his aides, I doubt if he even listens to them. He is an autocrat by nature, a characteristic that he may have found useful when he was the cricket team’s captain. If he had listened to sane voices within his party (like, for instance, Asad Umar), he would not have asked his followers to stop paying taxes and utility bills, which would be considered an offence in all civilized countries. As for asking Pakistanis not to remit money through banks, but to use the hundi/havala (an alternative system that operates parallel to traditional banking channels.) route, it is a violation not only of our laws but also of international laws. How can world leaders trust such a man who speaks without thinking? I don’t think he can be trusted to be the chief executive of a country that has nuclear weapons. In my opinion, Imran Khan badly needs a psychiatrist.

SHAKIR LAKHANI
Karachi
Printed in Daily Times, August 27, 2014




Just not his game

This refers to your editorial ‘Hyper isolation?’ (August 22). It should now be apparent to most people that Imran Khan is doing irreparable damage to his party. 

As his well-wisher and former admirer, I sincerely advise him to retire from politics. He should leave the country after handing over his party to capable people like Asad Umar or Shafqat Mahmood. If he can't do that, he should at least get rid of people like Javed Hashmi, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Shireen Mazari, whose antics have distressed his followers and made his party so unpopular.

Shakir Lakhani
Karachi
Printed in The News, August 25, 2014

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