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Mind of a suicide bomber?

Fresh wave of suicide bombings (Karachi, Orakzai) under-scores need for understanding mind of a suicide bomber. `Motivation, opportunity and capacity’ are sine qua non of any act good or evil. True, a US-House-of-Representative resolution dated February 18, 2012 and Delhi-based `Free Balochistan Office (working since 23 June 2018) supports Baloch unrest. Yet, motivation for killing oneself and several other innocent persons appears to be politically, rather than religiously, motivated.

Holy Quran and ahadith forbid taking one’s own life or of other innocent people (even if they are slaves).  They Quran says, “And commit not suicide…whoever shall do this maliciously and wrongfully, we will in the end cast him into the fire; for this is easy with God”.

The ahadith provide penalty of life for life, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, so on. Aside from suicides by healthy Muslim, even killing of terminally ill Muslims by themselves or by others (euthanasia) is not unanimously supported by all jurists. Some outfits equate it with jihad.  But, according to ahadith and verses, an individual cannot wage jihad (farzul Ayn), only a country or a government can do so (farzul kifaya).

Professor Robert Pape of University of Chicago based his book, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, argues that `the connection between suicide attacks and religion is exaggerated and that suicide terrorism is “mainly a response to foreign occupation” (Is Pakistan under foreign occupation?). in Mohammed M. Hafez under chapter `Explanations of Suicide Terrorism’ in his book Manufacturing Human Bombs  points out `Religious fanaticism is one of the most common explanation of why individuals volunteer to become human bombs (p.9 ibid.). `But despite its intuitive appeal, this explanation is not entirely convincing.  Political environment is a crucial determinant of the credibility of their appeals’ (p.10 ibid.). The author points out that secular persons and groups have been in the forefront of suicide bombers.

They include Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, PKK fighting for independence from Turkey, , Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, besides Japanese kamikaze (hot winds) of World War II.  In recent history, suicide attacks began during 1981-83 in Lebanon.

A group of five secular groups spearheaded the attacks.  Just four months after 58 French troopers and 248 US marines were killed in attack on US Embassy in Beirut, the US troops left Lebanon (S.  Alam, Suicide Bomber: Phenomenon, Strategy and Future, p.51)

Michael Walzer, in his book Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations argues  that those engaged terrorism can be morally justified  when a nation or community faces the extreme threat of complete destruction and the only way it can preserve itself is by intentionally targeting  non-combatants. Is Pakistan under foreign occupation?

We need to unmask `religiosity’ of suicide terrorists. And, balm their political wounds, if any.

Abdul Hameed Malik

Islamabad

 

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Myths about Breast Cancer

October is celebrated as breast cancer awareness month across the globe. Unfortunately, in our society there are lots of superstitions about this disease which are aiding in increased death ratio. Since, breast cancer is the only type of cancer which can be easily detected at early stage; there is dire need of increased awareness to save precious lives.

The common misconception about breast cancer, is considering it as an infectious disease which is totally wrong.

This concept adds more difficulties in the lives of breast cancer patients. In some cases it is observed that due to these misconceptions the women left alone by their families in their time if utmost need.

Even sometime patient women are divorced by their husbands.  Another erroneous concept about this disease is considering it a curse of God due to sins of the affected women. This concept force women to hide their illness.

Due to such wrong perceptions about breast cancer in our society, majority of the cases reported on later stages. It is pertinent to mention that, in case of early detection, chances of survival I is more than 90%. To highlight the importance of early detection and to address the wrong concept about this ailment, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre (SKMCH&RC) annually does an extensive awareness campaign throughout the country. This year too, the Hospital is doing great job in this regard. It would be great if more public and private institutes come forward and play their effective part in making this campaign more successful.

Dr. Isma Muneer

Lahore

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Mushkpuri trip

Tourism industry is a prospering industry that enriches knowledge, boosts social development and economic growth. In modern era, it is a fast growing area in Pakistan.

The current government has also added tourism into priority list. But there are lots of problems faced by tourists during their tour.

Yesterday, we visited Mushkpuri, the 2nd highest peak of Abbottabad, KP. Road from Islamabad to Nathia Gali was good but we faced many other problems such as lack of communication services, lack of health care facilities, heavy rush on the trail to Mushkpuri hill top, lack of ATM facility, poor facilities at restaurants, having no public toilets which causes pollution.

While climbing to the top of Mushkpuri, we observed that the trail was not properly maintained. When we reached the top it was raining. But there were no facilities for tourist. The harsh weather hit us hard. Especially the females faced the terrible things in that cold weather. The mobile signals were dropped on the trail which troubled us. While coming down we realised that the trail was too slippery due to rain that many tourists fell down and got minor injuries.

When we came to the only dispensary it was shut down. We enquired about ATM facility, even that was not available. There was only one toilet in a restaurant and both men and women had to use it.

Such cases were being reported in Murree which resulted into severe crisis in Murree. Lack of facilities in tourist sights may effect this industry and national economy.

The tourism department must identify such problems and their intensity. The local administration, restaurants service providers must address issues with service mind. This will not only motivate the locals but foreigners also, to undertake frequent tours. The current government must take measures to address such issues so that it can contribute to national economic development.

Shah Fahad

Rawalpindi

Sfahad538@gmail.com

 

 

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Learning from the history

Our democratic leaders seem to have learnt from their past mistakes. Irony, they have only learnt to complete their five years tenure.

In past, one Democratic Party conspired against another ruling party and stalled democratic progress.  For example, Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) staged protest against Zulifqar Ali Bhutto after 1977 general election claiming the election being rigged.

The issue could have been resolved through political settlement but they demanded the removal of Bhutto and imposition of Islamic rule. Consequently, the military got an opportunity to impose martial law under Zia in 1977 and obstructed the path of democracy. Besides, Nawaz Sharif, while Chief Minister of Punjab, created problems for Benazir Bhutto and tried hard to remove her government.

Similarly, Benazir Bhutto played a role to remove Nawaz Sharif in 1993. The both democratic leader celebrated ousted of each other from the government and distributed sweets among their supporters.

At present, the democratic leaders avoid taking such actions that could impede the democratic progress. For example, during 2008 PPP government, Nawaz Sharif was engaged in verbal war with Zardari but did not staged protest to remove him. On the other hand, Zardari got an opportunity to remove Nawaz government during Imran Khan continuous protest in Islamabad. However, he realized that it would play in the hand of anti-democratic elements.

If our democratic leaders develop similar maturity to save country from evils of corruption, nepotism, terrorism and poor governance, our country would embark on the upward trajectory of development.

Saddam Hussain Samo

Khairpur Mir

saddam.samo@gmail.com

 

 

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Imran Khan led government to focus on its plan

Amin Yousafzai

Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf  with support of its allies  have finally been successful to decorate crown of the premiership on head of the party’s  chief Imran Khan.

In May last, Imran Khan had unveiled the PTI’s government 100 days plan.  One component of the said plan is that if Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf came into power, its government will provide five million jobs to youth of the country.  Now, when Imran Khan has occupied the chair of his choice and countdown of PTI’s government 100 days plan has already begun.

Everyone is looking forward what the PTI’s government can the top priority to be worked on should be, to provide jobs per his pledge.

At the same time, to start implementation of  other  points of the proposed 100 days  plan.  Though, this is not an easy task and definitely it cannot be completed within the stipulated period but what is need of the hour this the most important points of the plan to be addressed first on priority basis……..And in my honest view, to arrange and provide jobs for the Youth,  it should be done on the priority basis.

 

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PTI on the move

Our voters have shown much better awareness in the general elections as compared to past elections.

This awareness adversely affected the ruling party’s mandate.

Actually, the voters have condemned “Corruption” at top level. In my view, public money must only be used in national interest & not in personal interest under any condition. The wrong could never become right by any fascinating statement. Now, the voters choice must be respected by all democratic forces as the care takers & other concerned authorities have sincerely held transparent elections on the overall basis.

I hope, the new government of PTI will be up to public expectations if accountability is taken as a prime task & justice is seen within limited time period.

The other lead issues for the government will be speedy recovery of looted money & restoration of economy besides meaningful improvement in critical law & order situation due to alarming crime rates in city & rural areas. The protest from some political parties against the credibility of elections or rigging charges could be taken as fear from upcoming accountability. The closing line is that “Khan” is very much expected to go against so many things, which were prevailed in last government.

Khalid Mustafa

Islamabad

 

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Shandur Polo festival

Polo is a sport played in the central Asia some 600BC ago. It was initially partly sport and partly training of war with 100 men either side. Later on it was considered to be the sports played by nobility and military persons. The modern polo game is traced back to 1859 by British military officers. It is called as “Sports of the kings” and Shandur, one of the highest polo ground located in the north of Pakistan and is famous for Polo festival.

Shandur polo festival is a national wide sport festival that is being organized by Tourism Corporation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has always been the focus point of national as well as international tourists.

The current festival is going to held on 7th to 9th July. A large influx of tourists is expected for this festival.  In order for the smooth run of the event, several points are being suggested for all the chitralis especially for the district administration considering upon which can portrait a positive image of Chitral on national as well as on international platform.

The 1st thing I want to focus is the attitude of the people towards the tourists.

The people of Chitral are famous for their peaceful nature and hospitality; yet again we need to educate our people to have a welcoming attitude to the incoming tourists.

This role can be played by academia in schools, colleges as well as in universities where by the students as well as locals need to be educated by conducting seminar and workshops.

Change in attitude is subjected to two way interaction. The locals need to interact with the tourists in such a way that they should stall the local traditions foods, Dry fruits and other attractive local made goods. Restaurants should be at least up the level of the national tourist.

This will in turn revenue to the local people and behavior of local people can be altered.

Secondly we need to have Tourist Facilitation centers where by the representatives of District administration as well as local guides to be there for updating and facilitating the guests.

The centers should be at least equipped with first aid and refreshment facilities for both males and females. Pakistan army is doing a good job in this regards still the district government need to take it on a serious note. It will not only help and update the tourists but can also be source of revenue for the locals.

The last and important point is to preserve the environment. We normally observe garbage and plastic bags and other disposable items from tourists’ destinations. In order to preserve our destination, there need to launch a cleanliness campaign. In this regard the incoming tourists need to be educated as well as provided with certain measure for waste dumping.

The security officials in the entry points of the district are trained to communicate with tourists in such a welcoming note where by the message is clear. Banners, stickers and other pamphlets to be distributed to the tourists.

Dumping spots are needed in various spots along with the road sides with clear sign boards so that the guests can dump the disposable wastes.

We had already been recognized by our peaceful nature, rich culture and hospitality. Once the above suggestions are being incorporated not only it would add to our recognition but also sketch a positive image of Chitral in national as well as international platform.

Zafar ul haq

Peshawar

 

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The future of tribal students

This is an accepted fact that the wave of terrorism has made every individual and section of  the then FATA pay an irreparable loss. The houses of the public were destroyed; businesses wereblocked; people became paralyzed psychologically; life and property were looted, and even they were made compelled to quit their houses and live a miserable life in camps and tents. As a result of this situation, the tribal went through a very tough life which was not even thought about. Those hands which were always used to help others became so weak financially to be helped; their children were deprived of education because thousands of their schools were blown away completely or partially on one side, while living as nomads, parents were unable to admit their children in the schools, on the other side. Those who tried to admit their children would face the problem of presenting certificates and date of birth etc. In short, internally displaced students paid a lot of miseries while getting education in this challenging life out of their home towns.

To cope up with this situation, FATA Education Department in collaboration with FATA Education Foundation (FEF) launcheda 3-year Project ‘Literacy for All’, being a part of Annual Development Programme (ADP) in 2016, to facilitate the temporary displaced children get education and also to provide an opportunity for the out-of-school children come into the educational environment, as there is a large number of seven hundred thousand (700,000) out of school children in FATA. According to the said project, on the feasibility and recommendations of Agency Education Officers, points were identified to establish schools across FATA by the name of Alternate Learning Schools (ALS) for the children, boys and girls, of age group 9–16. A condensed course was introduced on the analogy of Accelerate Learning Programme (ALP), meant to issue certificates of 5th class to the students after being taught in a single year.

Recently,almost 5000 students of 1st Batch belonged to almost 150 of ALS were given away 5th Pass certificates. But due to unavailability of government schools in the far flung areas like Tirah valley, these Primary passed students, boys and girls, of ALS are expected to become out-of-school children once again, which means that the fruitful step taken by FATA Education Foundation (FEF) will be of no use anymore and children will be deprived of further education. It’s the need of the day that at least two teachers should be appointed on emergency basis to teach the Middle classes (6th–8th) in the said schools (ALS) in those far flung areas of FATA where there are no government schools or schools are beyond the access of students. Similarly, public schools should be established on emergency basis to cope up with this situation, an emergency which is not limited to banners, seminars, media, advertisements and public speeches only.

Though the Alternate Learning Schools (ALS) are established in FATA particularly to educate the TDPs and out-of-school children of the age group 9–16, which is a project of just 3 years. But it is a fact that thousands of children of the age group 4–8, come to almost half (50%) of the said Alternate Learning Schools despite the unavailability of enough space and resources , in order to quench their thirst of knowledge in the remote and hard areas of FATA. Likewise, the parents of these little kids send them to ALS with the high expectations of getting education. But the project is limited to enroll and educate 40 students only with a single teacher and limited furniture.

Tirah is one of these deprived areas where hundreds of students, boys and girls, come only for attendance in the project schools, but, there is no facility of formal education for them on the part of the government. Though, the owner of the schools and concerned teachers do facilitate the students with mats, jute tots, drinking water and other basic necessities. It means that the government is taking steps to facilitate out-of-school children and TDPs, but, thousands of children become over-age due to unavailability of formal schools in the area on the part of the government. It means that schooling-age children should wait to become over-aged so that a condensed course may be started in a non-formal school. Otherwise, formal schools should be established on the part of the government on emergency basis, or these Alternate Learning Schools (ALS) should be converted into Community Based Educational Centers (CBEC) where out-of-school children should be facilitated with ‘Condensed Course’ under ‘Education for All (EFA)’. Similarly, a separate teacher should be appointed/ hired to teach the established curriculum of KP Textbook Board, to students below the age of 8. These Literacy Centers or CBECs should be provided with formal school buildings and sanctioned posts under ADP or Non ADP. If the above stated necessary points are not implemented properly, it will be a failure of ‘Education for All’ project launched by Directorate of Education FATA and FATA Education Foundation in the fulfillment of its mission.

Jehad Afridi

jgafridi0321@yahoo.com

 

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Attention required!

The administrators and citizenry at large of the country are so preoccupied with some national and international issues- like  Panama, terrorism etc.- that hardly some other genuine problems of the society make it to the national media or our public discourse. One of such overlooked issues is Thalassaemia- a rare genetic blood condition that, it seems, would cease to be rare if due attention not given.

Of all its types, the most detrimental is Thalassaemia Major that is genetically transmitted to an off-spring from his/her patients, who themselves are Minor Thalassaemics. A minor patient usually does not need any special medication like the Major patient, who has to get blood transfusion every fortnight, besides taking rigorous oral medicines and injections on daily basis. Moreover, the frequency of the transfusion may increase as the patient ages.

With transfusions on such regular basis, complications arise. For example, one of every three Major Thalassaemics is also a patient of Hepatitis B or C. Blood transfusion reactions are also very common. The irony is that despite the growth of modern technology, we are unable to give our thalassaemic patients screened and filtered blood.

According to the Thalassaemia Federation of Pakistan, the prevalence of this disease is 6% and more than 5000 Thalassaemics are born each year in Pakistan. Since this condition is genetically transmitted, it can only be controlled by spreading awareness among the masse; telling them to get tested before they marry, and if one is found to be a Minor patient, he/she shall not marry another Minor patient.

In a country like Pakistan, where there is  already a dearth of volunteer blood donations and awareness regarding blood conditions, arranging blood for such patients is a highly difficult task. In summers, especially in Ramadans, patients have to arrange blood themselves as transfusion centers are unable to arrange camps. The agony these patients go through in such circumstances cannot be described in words.

To add insult to injury, our government and parliament are also reluctant to do any work in this regard. Some months ago, a bill was passed by the National Assembly regarding pre-marital tests of the relatives of patients of Thalassaemia Major. Recently, I came to know that the bill was awaiting endorsement for the past many months from any senator who can float it in the upper house by becoming its member in-charge.

It is my observations that thallasaemics are brilliant brains. Their intelligence is God-gifted. If properly treated, instead of becoming onus on the society, they can become asset of the nation. Our government, hence, must need to look towards amelioration of this marginalized group. Moreover, citizens at large are also requested to donate blood voluntarily-at least twice a year. There donations really make difference for the patients of Thalassaemia and their families.

Mujtaba Shareef

Peshawar

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Private schools

Through the section of your regarded newspaper, I might want to draw the consideration of individuals on the issue that parents of numerous students of private school complained that they were being compelled to pay the educational fee for the month of June and July.

Parents said that they had gotten a circular from the school asking them to ensure payment of June fee alongside with the fee for the month of April and the July charge with the charge for the period of May. This creates a burden on the parents who are already under the pressure of paying high fees. Parents from lower and middle wage bunches say that the charging of propel expense puts a superfluous strain on their pockets.

They say that the entire idea of charging expenses for excursion months ought to be addressed alongside the act of requesting that parents pay ahead of time.

This year, most schools both huge chains and little autonomous private establishments sent advance fee circular before the summer holidays and parents were asked to pay the charge ahead of time or face penalties. Parents likewise asserted that various schools additionally wanted to gather tuition fees of a year in two, three or four installments, which ought to be checked.

The parents further said payment of fees ahead of time overburdened them monetarily as well as confined them from moving their children to some other school while having paid the expenses for June, July and August in advance.

In addition, many private schools are not enabling the parents to buy the scholarly books from the nearby markets instead they are taking overwhelming stationary charges from the parents.

The poor parents are much perturbed, as it has turned out to be difficult to manage the cost of the exorbitant education. Furthermore, parents said that the private schools and colleges were keeping the poor away from quality education.

For middle class people providing the education to their children at the private schools now turned into a fantasy, as they are not able to pay substantial charges of school and van fees for 2 months at the same time because not only the schools’ administrations but also the drivers of school vans dependably requested their month to month charges for June and July to be paid ahead of time.

Regardless of provincial Government order of not to collect summer vacation fee for the months of June and July, many parents have been asked by their children’s schools to pay the fees. The SHC ruling said that there ought not be an expansion in the school expenses of more than 5% in a year. However, few schools had expanded the expense to up to 10% in an unmistakable infringement of the law. Sindh Education Department along with Chairman of Private Schools Management Association, Sindh High Court (SHC) and educational institutions should take strict actions against these schools and make some policies which should be implemented in all the private schools.

The school fees should be increased in accordance to the parent’s monthly income, so that they are able to pay the school fees without any difficulty.

Azbal Furat

Karachi

azbal1furat2@gmail.com