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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

 

 

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Ramadan and the profit mongers

Ramadan is one of the august and sublime months for all the Muslims around the world. This month is the most awaited one, and it is commemorated with great pomp and show by keeping in mind the sacrosanctity of it.

The observers have very special preparation and paraphernalia in order to earn more rewards and blessings in this holy month of Ramadan. In this month there is a great didacticism for all the people that we should take care of the paupers and destitute in our surroundings. We should provide some comestible items according to our financial capacity that they shouldn’t feel deprived and bereft in this blessed month. No doubt everything is available in copious state everywhere, but the capacity of procuring is somehow beyond someone’s budget, especially in this month.

As this month is considered very hallowed, most of the businessmen and vendors tend to have some rapacious intentions to earn more money. They should sink the prices by having a scrupulous sense of helping the deserving people in this month.

Today is the first day of Ramadan, and the fancy prices in the market on all items will flabbergast you up to the hilt.  The government is busy overhead and ears in its bureaucratic maneuvers and all the politicians are busy up to their eyes in their political campaigns while slandering and accusing one another to win the public opinion for the upcoming election. This proclivity and propensity, especially in this month to earn more money than blessings, is unfair and reproachful.

This is the foremost responsibility and bounden of the government to have a proper check and balance over price control. It’s a travesty even in this holy month; the western countries where Muslims are residing, the prices of different items are dropped for the sake of Muslims. But Muslims in our country tend to have hoarding and fancy prices to earn more. It exhibits our bravados that we really care of one another in this holy month, but in fact we don’t have the sense of serving and assisting the deserving people. It also shows a dereliction on the part of the government by not taking some coercive actions against the wrong-doers.

They should have some special committees with regular visits in the market in order to have proper check and balance over price control and quality. At least people should have a sigh of relief in this sanctified month of Ramadan.

Arif Afridi

Bara, Khyber Agency

 

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70 years of looting

I am writing to highlight the environmental degradation that affecting the Pakistan economy.  It is estimated that damage cost of environmental degradation in Pakistan is at PKRs 346 billion per year. The country is decaying and dying as well as habitant including all living creatures (humans, animals, marine life, etc) over the time. There is need to address the issues step by step as we need major surgery to address the issues otherwise we will our DNA and our exports as well as resources will be affected beyond any thinking.

The plundering and degradation is affecting all living things in Pakistan and there is no fear of punishment / penalty on polluter’s and all is going on uncheck in all province especially in Sindh and KP. In these provinces, loss of land due to water salinity & water intrusion from sea while in KPK, massive deforestation has occurred and process is continuing.

There are many environmental degradations that is uncheck release of pollutant from road side shops, industries / factories especially medium / small scale, open burning of garbage & burning at dumping site, use of plastic in all sort forms, untreated discharge of effluent from cities sewerage and industries effluent into rivers / sea and no checks.

This is ongoing due to ineffective role of general public, local administration, lack of will, corruption and lack of trained staff.

Deforestation

Pakistan is forested about 2.5% or 1,902,000 hectares of Pakistan total land in 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, Pakistan lost an average of 41,100 hectares of forest per year. The amounts to an average annual deforestation rate of 1.63%. In total, between 1990 and 2005, Pakistan lost 24.7% of its forest cover, or around 625,000 hectares.

Compare to Pakistan’s forest cover to India’s 20 percent and Bhutan’s 70 percent. 0.5 million hectares of fertile land in Thatta district alone (or 12% of the entire cultivated area of the province) is affected by sea intrusion.

The highest rate of deforestation has been found in the Indus delta mangroves depleted to 86,000 hectares in 2003 from 604,870 hectares in 1966. About 1300 hectares from 1992 to 2006 period. Disturbing fish catch especially palla fish from 1900 tons in 1980 to below 200 tons per year.

Salinity

Salinity on Sindh coast increased from 35 ppt to 45ppt in two decades. Water logging & salinity is remain major issues. Sindh is the most affected province. About 53 % of total irrigated area in Sindh. Causes crop loss of 31pc every year

Sewerage effluent

In Karachi, 472 MGD sewerage effluent generated in the city while untreated sewage is about 417 MGD which is 88% of total sewerage effluent which is drained and dumped in Arabian Sea untreated putting the marine life in serious danger and various kind of diseases.

Major factors responsible are: –

” Land degradation and deforestation

” Agricultural soil erosion

” Air pollution & health issues,

” Marine life pollution by dumping of untreated effluent from sewerage and industries.

However, at present no serious works carried out so far to indicate the impact of environmental degradation in Pakistan.

Looking Forward

o Engage on merit order the sincere people to help and tackle these issues.

o There is an urgent need to highlight and educate the all masses on impact of pollution through all media.

o Phase up banning of plastic in Pakistan. Please see what we were using in 60’s and 70’s. Implement first in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore.

o Implementation of environmental laws and strict monitoring & action by EPA for compliance.

o Use of remote sensing tools to identify the real loss with the help of research and universities.

o Reforestation on mass scale in all provinces with target.

o Use of public transport in all big cities as well as railway for goods transportation.

o Building effluent treatment plant at source for recycling of water as well as to stop dumping. No effluent to be dumped into river and sea at any cost.

o Drainage scheme for saline land and proper routing of drain water to sea after treatment

o Solid waste sorting, segregation/reuse and proper dumping.

o Integrated approach is required involving universities, Govt agencies, regulatory institutions to tackle the issue of environmental degradation.

Syed Sarfaraz Ahmed

Karachi

ssa1970@gmail.com