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Letters to the Editor (Aug 2014)

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Operation Zarb-i-Azb

Thank God the charade of peace talks with the militants is finally over and a fully-fledged operation in North Waziristan has begun. As a nation, while standing squarely behind our brave soldiers, we must have realistic expectations of Zarb-i-Azb.

The greatest achievement after the success of the operation would be the denial of physical space or sanctuary to the Taliban, from where they could plan their murderous attacks on the heartland of Pakistan.

We should not expect a quick end to the operation. The Taliban have spread throughout the country and many more battles have yet to be fought against them.
We must be mentally prepared to be in this war of survival for a long haul, decades perhaps.

Equally important would be for our intelligentsia and media to wage a war of ideas against the retrograde worldview of the Taliban. A national counter-narrative based upon enlightenment and peaceful coexistence has to be developed against the dark and intolerant narrative of the Taliban, which is unfortunately accepted by major segments of our society.

Akbar Jan Marwat
Islamabad

Are Palestinians doomed forever?

Today, human rights are vociferously advocated across the globe. But, we are still witnessing brutalities unimaginable even in Stone Age. Palestine is bleeding and smouldering, Gaza is being pelted with Israeli rockets killing scores of men, women and children, and making thousands of Palestinians crippled for all their lives. Palestinians are being killed so brutally that an unbiased person would definitely condemn Israel not only for its atrocities but for all of its perpetual persecution of innocuous Palestinians.

We should demand answers for two questions from the so-called civilized world:  First, when the ‘champions’ of human rights like US, UK, Germany and Japan would sincerely force Israel to halt its blatant violation of human rights. Second, when we will see unity among ranks of Muslim World. Why, despite being spread in 57 states, we as Muslim Ummah haves failed to get justice for the Palestinians.

It is the time for our leadership to unite and take pragmatic, gallant and resilient measures to counter ever-growing threat of selective persecution of Muslims across the world. In this regard, Governments of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia along with OIC and Arab League must come forward and take a lead besides using their diplomatic, financial, militarily and other clouts.

Syed Asghar Ali
Sanghar

Fee reimbursement

The prime minister has initiated the fee reimbursement scheme for master’s, MPhil, and PhD students. This scheme is focused on enhancing opportunities for access to higher education, especially to talented, ambitious and financially-constrained students belonging to remote and far-flung areas of the country.
Actually MS, MPhil and PhD contain research work and it requires a lot of time.

The eligibility criteria should be lenient.

It should be applicable up to five years minimum so that the majority of youths can be encouraged and take advantage of this scheme. I request the prime minister and authorities concerned to look into the matter.

Suhail Ahmed Shaikh
Larkana

Jeremiad Against SPSC

Besides FPSC, the Constitution of Pakistan provides for a public service commission for each province. Provincial service commissions are tasked to recruit the most competent candidates to the posts in various government departments through competitive exams.

Unfortunately, in Sindh, the efficiency and transparency of SPSC have unequivocally been under the cloud with its pathetic performance. An eye-opening instance of such ineptness and belatedness is the CCE the advertisement of which was published in September 2013, but SPSC is still in hibernation and is oblivious to the outcries of the candidates who are getting over-aged. Besides this tardiness, a number of sensitive slots are filled on the basis of nepotism, cronyism and backdoor influence by the politicians or by offering hefty bribes. This slaughters the meritocracy, and dashes the high expectations of the deserving youth.
I call upon all the concerned authorities to bring to book all those responsible for this state of affairs..

Farrukh Aziz,
Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad

Need for Media Ethics

Media is the most powerful entity in today’s world. It controls the minds of the masses and has the capacity to convert a hero into villain and vice versa. Pakistan, regrettably, is a country where strategies are not formulated, rules are not followed and individual interests are always preferred over national interests. Our successive governments have issued licenses even to intellectually mediocre persons to control minds of the masses without proper regulatory body. We did not even bother to think that how it will affect the new generation.

Indeed, our media organizations and anchorpersons are king-makers. Can we imagine what will happen if a person with little communication skills anchored the shows?

TV channels broadcast live every incident and display torture, dead bodies, blood and fire. Such scenes and stories may help media organizations earn more money, but what they give to the masses? Nothing much!

We need to set limits for our media and we should bridle it in a positive way.

Rohail Ali Ahmed
Lahore

Fairness in Rescue Programmes

IDPs have resorted to altruism and have sacrificed their pleasures for their countrymen after the military launched Operation Zard-e-Azb to eradicate militancy from Pakistan, are spiralling around in the abyss of despair. Very contritely, once again the atmosphere has been overly deluged with the sense of provincialism and IDPs were denied entry into Punjab and Sindh.

In the wake of such inhuman and un-Islamic behaviour, it is incumbent upon us to help these penury-marred people. It is now the paramount duty of our media houses to give commensurate coverage for propagating the idea of espousing these displaced families.

Sohail Mandokhel
Mursenzai Zhob

Pathetic State of NTS Affairs

National Testing Service (NTS) has been the most respected and the most credible testing agency in Pakistan. Previously, it was known for its transparency.

But, presently, it has once again failed miserably in ensuring merit. Recently, a second level recruitment test for the vacant posts in Employees’ Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) was held under the supervision of NTS. I took the test and I am a witness to the eye-opening facts. The pre-test arrangements exuded the deliberate mishandling on the part of NTS. At the first instance, allowing the candidates to keep mobile phones with themselves was the step which guided the later stages of organized maladministration by the NTS. This step proved to be of enormous help to the candidates in unfairly attempting the paper.

Secondly, the invigilators, usually hired by NTS, instead of monitoring the exam process themselves assigned the task of vigilance to the teachers of computer centre who seemed to be less experienced and lacking know-how of invigilating the exam. And last but not least, the seat plan also reflected a sense of irresponsibility as seats were arranged too close to one another without even little spaces in between them which further facilitated the candidates to resort to cheating. Such a huge mismanagement is quite regrettable indicating that merit and transparency has become a far cry for NTS.

Abdul Waheed Mirbahar
Pano Akil, District Sukkur

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