THOSE WHO ANNOUNCE BOUNTY MUST BE AWARDED STRICTEST PUNISHMENT
It is hitting the headlines all over that the Delhi Police Special Cell has arrested Bhim Sena chief Nawab Satpal Tanwar for allegedly announcing a bounty of Rs 1 crore on Nupur Sharma in a Facebook video and also made threatening remarks. The Delhi Police said that Tanwar had allegedly issued death threats and announced bounties earlier too. Within no time he gets bail as we see in similar other such cases!
It must be asked: How can Centre take all this just lying down so quietly? Why is it becoming so common to issue death threats and announcement of bounty on the head or throat of some one? Why is bail given so quickly and so easily to those who issue such dastardly threats?
Needless to say, our penal laws merit prompt correction in this regard and law makers who are reviewing penal laws must immediately deliberate, discuss and debate on this also so that the growing reprehensible tendency of issuing death threats or threats to maim some person is promptly reigned in!
Of course, we are not living in a Talibani India! We are a secular country and no one has the unfettered right to issue such death threats or threat to cut tongue or hands or legs! Why can’t Centre make such strict laws which mandates at least 14 years imprisonment to all those who dare to issue such death threats or threats to maim someone?
Who is Nupur Sharma? She is just about 37 years old who is a graduate in economics from Delhi University’s Hindu College and LLB from the Delhi University’s Faculty of Law. She also has a Master’s degree in law from the London School of Economics. She started her stint in politics as a student leader and, in 2008, went on to win the post of Delhi University Students’ Union president. It was a time when the Congress’s student wing, the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), had a strong presence on campuses. So while Nupur managed to get the president’s post, all other posts were won by the NSUI. The most high-profile of her electoral contests, however, remains the 2015 Delhi Assembly election, when she decided to pick up the gauntlet and take on none other than the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor Arvind Kejriwal from the New Delhi seat. She however lost by 31,583 votes but gave tense moments to Kejriwal.
Many of us know very well that Nupur Sharma who has been a very familiar and prominent face of the party’s youth wing, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, has also held several positions in the party such as national executive committee member of the youth wing and member of the Delhi state executive committee. In 2017, she was appointed Delhi BJP’s spokesperson when the then Delhi state unit chief Manoj Tiwari formed his team. In September 2020, when JP Nadda set up his team, Nupur Sharma was then picked as a national spokesperson.
It is said that Nupur Sharma made some controversial comments about Prophet Mohammad who is the founder of Islam. It merits no reiteration that no sane person can ever endorse anything wrong said about such a prominent personality whom Muslims hold in the highest esteem. She spoke about Prophet Mohammad marrying with a very small girl.
We don’t even get to read as to what exactly she said. She later apologized also humbly for the remarks which she made while speaking in a discussion in a news channel. Then why so much of brouhaha is made not just in India but all across the globe! We see so many times even Hindu Gods and Goddesses are not spared! But everything normally ends with an apology! This is what in this case I find most reprehensible and I am glad to see that many Muslim prominent faces too are condemning the issuing of death threats to Nupur Sharma and have voiced the controversy to be laid to rest as she has apologized.
It cannot be glossed over that a very eminent Muslim scholar named Maulana Salafi Engineer Mohammad Ali Mirza of Pakistan has fully, firmly and finally supported Nupur Sharma. He said that the Muslim panelist had first provoked Nupur Sharma by commenting and it was in response to this that she commented about the Prophet. Maulana Mirza said forthrightly that, “We have to see the whole atmosphere in this entire controversy. The real culprit is the Muslim guy who first mocked Hindu religion in the live TV show. BJP leader [Nupur Sharma] made remarks about the Prophet in rebuttal. Islam does not allow us to mock other religions.” He said that from the style and tone of Nupur Sharma’s statement, it will be known that she is retaliating. He said that the first criminal is a Muslim who talked about one’s religion in a live TV program but about whom none is speaking in India. This is what even I find really atrocious!
Maulana Ali further said that in the Nupur Sharma controversy, people of the Arab countries are provoking the atmosphere by sitting in ACs while in India people are protesting in the scorching heat and the policemen are answering them. He further puts across his point saying that, “This is basically an international politics. Arab countries are the slaves of those nations who are not the allies of Russia. These countries instigated Arab countries against India. Before this, there have been many big cases on which Arab countries did not react. Now Arab countries were instigated to put pressure on India regarding Russia.” No doubt, the reference is to countries like Canada, US, UK and other European countries!
We are a democratic country where every person has a right to put across his/her viewpoint. If Nupur Sharma has said something wrong the law is there to take her to task but what about the person named Tasleem Ahmed Rehmani who provoked first Nupur Sharma? Why no one is talking about him? Why he commented adversely about Lord Shiv and the Shivalinga found in the Gyanvapi Masjid well which is just not being discussed anywhere but which even a Maulana based in Pakistan is pointing out as I have just mentioned above! Nupur Sharma who herself is a lawyer has a legitimate point when she claims that her comments were a reaction to continuous insult and disrespect towards our Mahadev (Lord Shiva) by the other panelist named Tasleem Ahmed Rehmani who was also speaking on the TV debate and who happens to be a Muslim. Why no one is talking about him also? Why only Nupur Sharma is alone being selectively made a scapegoat? Why we don’t see anyone mentioning about that person also? This makes it indubitably clear that we practice discrimination in such a terrible manner which cannot be ever justified under any circumstances!
The million dollar question is: Why are we seeing growing intolerance in India? Why those who give death threats are very rarely punished and why at least for 14 years they are not thrown behind bars who issue death threats for any reason whatsoever? Why is Centre not making law on this at the earliest? Centre must act on this also so that no one ever dares to ever issue such bounty awards and death threats. If Centre fails to act on this at the earliest then that day is not far when we will openly see beheading and what not which will only signal the end of democracy in India!
It really pleases me to the hilt to see for myself that none other than the Jamaat Ulama-e-Hind president Suhaib Qasmi on Sunday himself is on record saying that the former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nupur Sharma, who allegedly made controversial remarks on Prophet Muhammad, should be forgiven as per Islam. He added that the organisation of Muslim scholars disagreed with the nationwide protests in wake of her remarks. He also pointed out that the matter should have been laid to rest after she publicly apologized for the remarks which she made. Qasmi said, “Islam says Nupur Sharma should be forgiven. We disagree with the protest that started across the country after Friday prayers against Nupur Sharma and her derogatory remarks.”
Apart from this, Jamaat Ulama-e-Hind also welcomed the decision of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to suspend Sharma. Qasmi said at the press conference that, “We are welcoming the decision of the law because India is the law of the land and we are not going to take the law into our hands. The law does not allow to come on the road and break the rule.” Jamaat Ulama-e-Hind has decided to issue a ‘fatwa’ through which it will urge people not to support any kind of violence in connection with Nupur Sharma and her remarks. “The fatwa will come against Asaduddin Owaisi and Mohammad Madani,” the Jamaat said. It is good to see that we have such Muslims who have downright condemned the use of physical force and violence against a woman named Nupur Sharma and no civilized country can ever support such death threats or any other kind of threat of causing any kind of harm and that too to a woman!
As if this was not enough, we see Mamata Banerjee passing resolution in West Bengal State Assembly condemning Nupur Sharma but not saying a word on Tasleem Ahmed Rehmani who first provoked Nupur by what he said! Not just this when we see Hindu Sadhus being burnt and beaten to death then no one condemns so strongly! This dubious double standard smacks of sheer hypocrisy which cannot be justified under any circumstances!
This alone explains why even Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders said on Twitter that, “Don’t listen to the hypocrites. Islamic nations have no democracy, no rule of law, no freedom. They persecute minorities and disrespect human rights like no one else. They should be criticized whose ideology is offensive and abusive, not the heroic Nupur Sharma! Democracies like India and Netherlands have a rule of law. Courts will decide if one oversteps the mark and not mobs who threatens to kill anybody.”
Why these very Islamic countries who are reacting now so angrily on Nupur Sharma and protesting to Indian embassies maintain a shocking and deafening silence to Chinese ghastly assault on Islam by confiscating Qurans, not allowing Muslims to pray even in mosques unlike India where they pray even on roads and mercilessly persecute Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province? Why these Islamic countries don’t utter a word when ancient Hindu temples are burnt down in Pakistan and Bangladesh and idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses are also similarly mercilessly broken to pieces? Similarly, why when terrorists trained in Pakistan mercilessly kill Indians which includes even Muslims like a Sub-Inspector Farooq Ahmad Mir in Pulwama do we see no such protest by anyone?
This alone explains why my best friend Sageer Khan said way back in 1993 that, “Muslims enjoy maximum liberty in India all over the world. Muslims must accept that Hindus quietly accepted monogamy in 1955 even though earlier both Hindu men and women could marry as many as they wanted but no one dare abolish polygamy among Muslims because Muslims don’t accept quietly unlike Hindus who accept everything so quietly. If Ram temple and Shiv temple will not be built in Ayodhya or Kashi will it be built in Mecca or Medina? Not a single mosque should ever be built in Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura! Hindus are so tolerant that inspite of nation getting partitioned on basis of religion still Hindus didn’t favour a theocratic state unlike Pakistan which became a theocratic and yet itself got partitioned in 1971 whereas India is still united and will always stay united because Hindus are so tolerant that they never prefer to fight! So all credit definitely goes to Hindus that India is still a secular country!”
It must be underscored that those who resort to stone pelting or burning of trains or burning of buses or any other kind of violence in a democratic country like India must be punished with the strictest punishment and should never be allowed to go scot free. We saw how in Kanpur among other cities, many protesters who were protesting against the statement of Nupur Sharma pelted stones and damaged vehicles and ransacked shops etc! Violence by anyone whether he/she is a Hindu or Muslim or Sikh or anyone else cannot be justified under any circumstances! If anyone tries to justify this then it will definitely become a most dangerous trend which will be justified on one pretext or the other which can never be in the long term national interest and cannot be ever justified under any circumstances!
It is really most shocking to see that in a democratic country like India which believes in pluralism and tolerance and harmony, we see just one argument in a TV channel assuming such gargantuan proportions which cannot be justified. It is so shocking to see that some leaders and fundamentalists organizations are openly calling for action to be taken against Nupur Sharma and hanging her publicly which I find most reprehensible because we are a democratic country and not some hard core Islamic country like Afghanistan! This has only compelled many Hindu organizations like VHP, Bajrang Dal among others to come out openly in full support of Nupur Sharma and they have a legitimate point too that so much of brouhaha is being made over a debate discussion in a news channel in which the other panelist Tasleem Ahmed Rehmani also was seen making some sarcastic remarks about Lord Shiv which provoked Nupur Sharma also to reply in anger as was pointed out even by a very eminent Maulana of Pakistan as stated above.
All said and done, it is high time and now Centre must definitely step forward and take the much needed bold initiative in this regard of stipulating the strict punishment of at least 14 years if not 20 years in jail to all those who dare to ever announce bounty rewards to kill someone or maim someone or cut the throat of someone which is nowadays becoming a fashion in India and yet such rogues are rarely punished. Why should their property also not be seized? Why should they be let off so gently after just 2 or 3 years only as we see under our present laws?
Why should such criminals who announce bounty on head of someone get bail so easily? Why should such offence not be non-bailable and cognizable? Why should such criminals not be promptly arrested and put behind bars which is their right place also? It certainly merits no reiteration that this burning issue must be addressed by Centre now itself without any more further delay by promptly amending the law in this regard as it brooks no more delay now! It certainly merits no reiteration that this burning issue must be addressed by Centre now without any more further delay as it brooks no more delay now!
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate.
The million dollar question is: Why are we seeing growing intolerance in India? Why those who give death threats are very rarely punished and why at least for 14 years they are not thrown behind bars who issue death threats for any reason whatsoever? Why is the Centre not making law on this at the earliest? The Centre must act on this also so that no one ever dares to ever issue such bounty awards and death threats. If the Centre fails to act on this at the earliest, then that day is not far when we will openly see beheading and what not which will only signal the end of democracy in India!
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Election Commission declares 253 RUPPs as inactive, bars them from availing benefits of the Symbol Order, 1968
Additional 86 Non-existent RUPPs shall be deleted from the list and benefits under the Symbols Order (1968) withdrawnAction against these 339 (86+253) non-compliant. RUPPs takes the tally to 537 defaulting RUPPs since May 25, 2022
In continuation of the earlier action initiated on May 25, 2022 for enforcing due compliances by Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs), the Election Commission of India led by Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Shri Anup Chandra Pandey today further delisted 86 non-existent RUPPs and declared additional 253 as ‘Inactive RUPPs’. This action against 339 non-compliant RUPPs takes the tally to 537 defaulting RUPPs since May 25, 2022.
As per statutory requirements under section 29A of the RP Act, every political party has to communicate any change in its name, head office, office bearers, address, PAN to the Commission without delay. 86 RUPPs have been found to be non-existent either after a physical verification carried out by the respective Chief Electoral Officers of concerned States/UTs or based on report of undelivered letters/notices from Postal Authority sent to the registered address of concerned RUPP. It may be recalled that ECI had delisted 87 RUPPs and 111 RUPPs vide orders dated May 25, 2022 and June 20, 2022, thus totalling the number of delisted RUPPs to 284.
This decision against 253 non-compliant RUPPs has been taken based on reports received from Chief Electoral Officers of seven states namely Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana & Uttar Pradesh. These 253 RUPPs have been declared inactive, as they have not responded to the letter/notice delivered to them and have not contested a single election either to the General Assembly of a State or the Parliament Election 2014 & 2019. These RUPPs have failed to comply with statutory requirements for more than 16 compliance steps since 2015 and are continuing to default.
It is also noted that of the above 253 parties, 66 RUPPs actually applied for a common symbol as per para 10B of the Symbol’s Order 1968 and did not contest the respective elections. It is pertinent to note that privilege of a common symbol is given to RUPP based upon an undertaking for putting up at least 5 percent of total candidates with regard to said legislative assembly election of a State. Possibility of such parties occupying the available pre-election political space by taking benefits of admissible entitlements without contesting elections cannot be ruled out.
Coastal clean-up campaign receives a huge response: Dr. Jitendra Singh
The 75-day long ongoing Coastal Clean Up Campaign is receiving a huge response from across the sections of society and besides others, Governors, Chief Ministers, Union Ministers, celebrities, film and sports personalities, civil society groups etc. are joining the campaign with overwhelming enthusiasm and pledging their support to the longest and largest beach cleaning campaign in the world titled “Swachh Sagar, Surakshit Sagar”, coordinated by Union Ministry of Earth Sciences with collaboration from all the other Union Ministries, departments as well as governments of the coastal States.
Addressing a press conference today, three days ahead of “International Coastal Clean-up Day” on 17th September, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said, he will join the campaign at Juhu beach in Mumbai on 17th September and informed that Governor Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis, BJP MP Poonam Mahajan and several personalities as well as NGOs will also join at Juhu.
The Minister also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his support through social media. The PM has stressed on keeping India’s coasts clean as he praised efforts of volunteers to remove garbage from the Juhu beach in Mumbai. Responding to a video posted by Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh about the clean-up at the beach, Modi tweeted, “Commendable… I appreciate all those involved in this effort. India is blessed with a long and beautiful coastline and it is important we focus on keeping our coasts clean”. The Minister said, “A cleanathon was organised at Juhu Beach in Mumbai, saw participation in large numbers especially by youngsters and Civil Society.
Dr Jitendra Singh informed that Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan will take a lead in the clean-up campaign at world famous Puri beach, while Pratap Chandra Sarangi, former union minister will be at Chandipur. BJP MP from Hooghly, West Bengal Ms Locket Chatterjee will be at Digha on D-Day. R.K.Mission head will lead the campaign at Bakkhali in southern Bengal.
Chief Minister of Gujarat Bhupendrabhai Patel will be at Porbandar (Madhavpur), while Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala will join the clean-up operation at Jafrabad, Amreli.
Governor of Goa P. S. Sreedharan Pillai and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant will take part in beach cleaning campaign in South and North Goa beaches on 17th September.
Similarly, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan will be at Kochi, while MoS External Affairs V. Muraleedharan will be at Kovalam beach at Thiruvananthapuram.
Governor of Karnataka Thawar Chand Gehlot will join the campaign at Panambur beach in Mangalore, while the Governor of Telangana, Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan will lend her helping hand at Puducherry beach.
Governor of Mizoram Dr. K. Hari Babu will take part in Vizag beach while L. Murugan, Union MoS, Information and Broadcasting will join the event at Chennai
Dr Jitendra Singh informed that the campaign has entered the mode of whole of Government approach plus whole of nation participation.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, apart from active cooperation of Ministries of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Jal Shakti, Health and Family Welfare, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, External Affairs, Information and Broadcasting, organisations and associations like National Service Scheme (NSS), Indian Coast Guard, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Seema Jagran Manch, SFD, Paryavaran Sanrakshan Gatividhi (PSG), along with other social organizations and educational institutions are participating in the clean-up campaign.
The MPs of coastal states have also pledged full support to the first-of-its-kind and longest running coastal clean-up campaign in the world and they also advised the Ministry of Earth Sciences to undertake a variety of activities by involving local NGOs.
DASHBOARD TO BE SET UP SOON TO SHARE THE BEST TECH PRACTICES AMONG THE CENTRE & THE STATES: UNION MINISTER JITENDRA SINGH
Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today announced setting up of a Dashboard to share the best technology practices among the Centre and the States.
Presiding over the concluding session of the two-day “Centre-State Science Conclave” at Science City in Ahmedabad, Dr Jitendra Singh informed that a high level mechanism will be developed by the Department of Science and Technology to monitor and coordinate the follow up action of the conclave. The Minister also asked the States to appoint a Nodal officer in each of the States to coordinate and cooperate with the Special Committee for knowing and sharing the best practices.
Giving the example of heli-borne technology launched from Jodhpur, Rajasthan in October, 2021, Dr Jitendra Singh said, to start with, the States of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana were taken up for this latest heli-borne survey.
The Minister pointed out that if the same technology is uploaded on Dashboard, other States may join and share this CSIR technology from source finding to water treatment and thus benefit millions of people across the country.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, it will also positively contribute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Har Ghar Nal Se Jal” as well as “doubling farmer’s income” goals. He said, the latest state-of-the-art technology is being employed by Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) for mapping groundwater sources in arid regions and thus help utilise groundwater for drinking purposes.
The 2-day ‘Centre-State Science Conclave’ was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Science City, Ahmedabad, yesterday. Dr Jitendra Singh expressed satisfaction that important plenary sessions with State S&T Ministers discussed in detail on issues like Agriculture, Innovation for producing portable drinking water including application of technologies like Desalination, Heli borne methods developed by DST, Clean Energy for All including S&T role in Hydrogen mission, Deep Sea Mission of MoES and its relevance for Coastal States/UT, Digital healthcare for All and Synergizing Science with National Education Policy.
A special session with the CEOs of over 100 Start-Ups and industry at the Centre-State Science Conclave’ in Ahmedabad came up with scientific solutions in the field of agriculture, drone, artificial intelligence, biotechnological solutions, single-use plastic alternates, irrigation and digital health amongst others.
Many of the State governments have shown keen interest in some of the technologies and agreed to partner with some of the startups for State-specific technological solutions.
Floods, economic crisis and political bickerings: A saga of Pakistan’s mismanagement & insensitivity
The worst floods in several decades have wreaked havoc in Pakistan, one of the most populous countries of South Asia. The floods have touched the country’s 220 million people’s lives directly or indirectly. More than 1,300 people have died with 81 out of 160 districts directly affected by the floods, leaving at least 33 million people homeless.
The heat waves followed by rains and glacial melting has been a global trend this year bringing out the stark reality that despite all talks and conventions, the world community has failed to contain and reverse climatic change. But Pakistan’s case is unique.
Beyond the human losses, the country’s economic managers have the most challenging task ahead as floods ravaged the country’s road and communication network, damaged an incalculable number of houses, and destroyed millions of hectares of crops.
Niaz Murtaza, a political economist, describes present crisis as “a triple whammy”, putting together economic, political and natural. “The poor had been suffering the first two months because of inflation, job loss and political paralysis. Now the floods have pushed millions into ruin,” he said.
Despite this, the political masters are not only busy in bickering and allegations against each other, but have also triggered a blame game on social media as usual, pointing fingers on India for the flood havoc. The bombardment of propaganda, nevertheless, cannot change the reality that Pakistan government and its institutions have utterly failed in fulfilling their duties towards its citizens.
Ludicrous as it is, it cannot absolve the leadership of Pakistan that has failed people in terms of economic mismanagement, entrenched corruption and naked cronyism in the system. Added to these are the wrong policies and priorities of Islamabad which have been instrumental in bringing economic crisis and political instability. The floods have only abetted it.
The natural disaster has struck Pakistan while economy is passing through the difficult phase of multiple challenges including Balance of Payment (BoP) crisis, heavy debt burden and solvency-related issues. The protracted economic crisis is likely to deepen further despite conclusion of talks with the IMF for release of Extended Fund Facility credit.
While Finance Minister Miftah Ismail estimates that the country has incurred a total loss of “at least $10 billion”, independent analysts, including Uzar Younus, Director of the Pakistan Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia centre and economist Ammar Habib Khan, put the figure between $15-20 billion, and expect it to rise further as information is coming with a great lag.
Existing infrastructure is collapsing with the flooding submerging one-third of the country, pushing 37 per cent of population into poverty. Pakistan is literally and figuratively under deep water, writes Nasir Jamal. It may take a few more months before the damages can be assessed. Even before the flooding, 60 per cent of the population was suffering from hunger, malnutrition and related diseases and the figures are bound to shoot up now.
In view of the mammoth loss, the IMF’s $1.2 billion credit now seems to be a peanut. Pakistan was earlier wounded and now it is bleeding. Floods will exacerbate the economic crisis that had shown initial signs of abating with the IMF deal. Twin deficits, growth prospects and inflationary expectations will be worsening, inflicting misery on the poor. Despite increasing gravity of the situation, saving people’s life and livelihood have not still become the priorities among the political class who are revealing in an ugly slugfest.
The real cost of the natural calamity is being borne by millions of poor kids, pregnant women, elderly and sick persons crowded under the open sky or tents, prone to hunger, diseases and insecurity as they wait for aid. It will be weeks before many can even return to their villages as the land drains and dries. It will take months, even years, to recover from the loss of housing, animals, crops and cultivable land.
Covid-19 had only disrupted economic exchange without damaging the economic base. But the flood has destroyed crops, land, animals, bridges, etc. negatively impacting deeper on the poor and the economy. And the insensitive political class in Pakistan is still deeply engrossed in political maneuver and cunning tricks against each other rather than presenting a united face at the time of calamity. That is the character of Pakistan’s politics.
In view of the contribution of agriculture to the extent of one fourth of the GDP, the country would have to face major revenue loss due to crop losses. As per the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s August 29 report, almost 80 per cent of crops in Sindh, which produces roughly 30% of Pakistan’s cotton output, were destroyed.
Close to 70 per cent of Pakistan’s textile industry, an important source of employment and foreign exchange, uses the cotton produced in the country. Floods are likely to cause severe shortage of cotton, said Abdul Rahim Nasir, Chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association. He added that instead of earlier average import of cotton estimated at about 4 million bales, Pakistan would now need to import just the double of that figure, at a potential cost of $3 billion.
Shahrukh Wani, an Oxford economist, says the flood will make it terribly difficult for the government to reduce the trade deficit because while the country will need to import food to “compensate” for lost crops, the textile sector will find itself struggling due to “potential shortage” of cotton crop.
The biting inflation which rose to 25% in the month of July from a year earlier, the highest since May 1975, is taking its own toll on the living conditions of masses. The flooding would further push up the inflation and accentuate the scarcity of even essentials.
Amreen Soorani, Head of Research at JS Global Capital Ltd, said that “the main concern from the floods is the impact on inflation”. Even the IMF warned that the runaway inflation could trigger protests and instability.
Islamabad secured funds from the IMF for immediate bailout of the economy from the saturating forex crisis. However, the problems would be far from over for Islamabad. As the advanced countries are focused more on the impact of Ukraine-Russia war and trying to cope with recessionary pressures while some of the development partners including Middle Eastern countries and China are down with donor fatigue, Islamabad has scant probability to get any major international relief.
For now, the immediate challenge that government will face is to fulfil the conditions of raising taxes and applying austerity measures as part of its agreement with the IMF for its bailout package. This might turn out a politically unpopular move and could flare up the political bickering. The condition is rife for mass protests in view of increasing cost of living for many months now, which opposition could take advantage of. Anger is rising across Pakistan over the slow pace of government relief efforts.
The catastrophic floods have put a downward pressure on growth prospectus. Initial estimates suggest that the economic growth rate may slow down to just 2 per cent. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that the recent floods caused more damage than the 2010 calamity wherein the economic losses had been estimated at $9.7 billion. The floods have already caused supply chain-related issues.
Even during natural calamity, politicians are concerned about their political agenda rather than allowing international aid agencies to import essential food items from the neighbouring country. Cases after cases of corruption are cropping up, “you reveal mine, I will reveal yours”, an unending slugfest continues.
Instead of fighting the fallout of the devastating natural calamity united, they are engrossed in manoeuvre and cunning tricks and a regressive thought process whether or not to allow aid flow from India. Some of the government top officials have suggested importing essential commodities such as food and medicine from India, while others are still the victim of the old rigidities and anti-India mindset.
India is an undoable reality of being the most potent vehicle of South Asia’s growth vision as it is a responsible regional power and the fastest growing economy of the world, which offers a big market for exports and sourcing imports. Islamabad needs to understand that cooperation with neighbours does not reduce the stature of a calamity hit country.
Separated in 1947, Sikh brother meets sister reunite
The Kartarpur Corridor has once again reunited another family after a man who separated from his parents when he was only a few months old in 1947, finally met his sister in Pakistan.
Amarjit Singh was left out in India along with his sister while his Muslim parents came to Pakistan. All eyes went teary as they saw the emotional scenes of the brother-sister reunion in Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, Geo News reported.
Amarjit Singh arrived in Pakistan via the Wagah border with a visa to meet his Muslim sister and to remain as her guest.
His sister, 65-year-old Kulsoom Akhtar, could not control her emotions after seeing Amarjit.
Both hugged each other and kept crying. She had travelled from her hometown in Faisalabad along with her son Shahzad Ahmed and other family members to meet her brother.
Kulsoom said that her parents came to Pakistan from the suburbs of the Jalandhar region of India in 1947, leaving behind her younger brother and a sister, Express Tribune reported.
Kulsoom said she was born in Pakistan and used to hear about her lost brother and a sister from her mother. She said that her mother used to cry every time whenever she remembered her missing children. Kulsoom said that she did not expect that she would ever be able to meet her brother and sister. However, a few years ago, a friend of her father Sardar Dara Singh came to Pakistan from India.
Kulsoom’s mother told Singh about her son and daughter she left behind in India. She also told him the name of their village and the location of their house in the neighbouring country.
Amarjit then visited her house in Padawan village of Jalandhar and informed her that her son was alive but her daughter was dead. Her son was named Amarjit Singh who was adopted by a Sikh family back then in 1947, The Express Tribune reported.
After getting the brother’s information, Amarjit and Kulsoom Akhtar contacted on WhatsApp and using the Kartarpur Corridor and the meeting between the two siblings became a reality.
Now an elderly man, Sardar Amarjit Singh came to Gurdwara Sahib in a wheelchair. Kulsoom Akhtar also could not travel due to back pain, but she showed courage and reached Kartarpur from Faisalabad along with her son. Both the siblings kept crying while embracing each other and remembering their parents.
Amarjit said that when he first learned that his real parents were in Pakistan and were Muslims, it was a shock to him. However, he comforted his heart that many families were separated from each other in addition to his own family.
Many Muslim children became Sikhs and many Sikh children became Muslims, Express Tribune reported.
He said that he always wanted to meet his real sister and brothers. He said that he is happy to know that three of his brothers are alive. However, one brother who was in Germany has passed away.
He said he will now come to Pakistan via the Wagah border with a visa and spend time with his family. He also said that he will take his family to India as well so that they could meet their Sikh family. Both the siblings had brought many gifts for each other.
Shahzad Ahmad, son of Kulsoom, said that he used to hear about his uncle from his grandmother and mother. He said that all of the siblings were very young at the time of Partition and no name was given to Amarjit or perhaps, after so many years, the name had slipped out of mind.
“I understand that since my uncle was brought up by a Sikh family, he happens to be a Sikh, and my family and I have no problem with this,” he added.
Shahzad said that he is happy that even after 75 years his mother has found her lost brother.
22 officers of different cadres to serve in J&K
The Centre has relaxed Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) deputation rules to encourage IAS and other all-India service officers as well as those of the Central Services get posted in Jammu & Kashmir, in a bid to address the shortage of officers in the Union Territory.
Union Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said that due to relaxation of DoPT rules, 22 officers belonging to various services and different cadres have been posted in Jammu & Kashmir at various levels at a crucial time.
He said that DoPT has played a major role in facilitating induction of Jammu & Kashmir Administrative Services officers into the IAS by coordinating with UT administration, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the UPSC.
As a result, recently 16 officers from JKAS have been inducted into IAS and another 8 such vacancies will be filled up shortly giving opportunities to the JKAS officers to become part of prestigious IAS service after a long gap of 12 years.
The Minister added that mid-career training of JKAS officers of various seniority was carried out in collaboration with the LBSNAA and this has provided a new level of exposure to the JKAS Officers and more than 200 offices. Some other initiatives by the Ministry include special concessions or incentives to the Central government employees working in the Kashmir Valley in attached and subordinate offices or PSUs falling under control of the Central government.
They have been extended special concessions for a period of 3 years with effect from August 1, 2021 and the incentives include an additional house rent allowance, composite transfer grant, per diem allowance, incentive for period of temporary duty, messing allowance, and facility to draw pension at place of settlement in relaxation of relevant provisions.
Besides, facilities for retention of general pool accommodation available to officers who have served in the Central government has also been extended to officers posted in Jammu & Kashmir on the pattern of northeastern states.
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