New food authority
It is good to know that the outgoing Sindh government of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) established the Sindh Food Authority (SFA), through the Sindh Food Authority Act of 2016. The scope of the Act extends to the entire province and the authority started its operational activities a short time after getting approval from provincial leaders.
Recently, there have been many stories in the media about substandard and unhygienic food items prepared, served and sold at popular restaurants, bakeries and small and large scale food factories across Sindh, especially in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur etc.
Before the establishment of the SFA, there was no institution at the provincial level to monitor and supervise the quality of many commercially sold food/eatable items. I am quite hopeful that SFA will be allowed to exercise its full control over the quality of many commercially prepared and sold food items, in the so-called neat and clean kitchens of the restaurants, bakeries and factories of the province.
At the moment the SFA is conducting initial investigations in to alleged malpractices within the food industry, so if the food in question is found to be unhygienic and of substandard quality, then a strict warning is issued to the owners of these units. If the problem persists in subsequent visits and the owners refuse to follow the laws, then a heavy fine can be imposed on them as well.
In my opinion, the main focus of SFA should be on improving the quality of the food items prepared at these units, rather than keep fining the proprietors of such establishments that make subpar food items. In many cases, it has been observed that these people would rather pay a fine, than do anything to improve the actual quality of their food. If the SFA can ensure that then I would consider them a success.
I voted in general election 2018 without any problems. Then I watched ECP’s press conference and my mind was filled with doubt.
Foreign media has used terms such as `murder of democracy’, `Imran or Nawaz: Cobra in India’s backyard’, `Game Changer or Puppet?’, `Imran Khan Pakistan’s Deep State Seeks a New Patron’, and `Imran Khan is skipper, but who’s the player?’. If foreign observers say Pakistan’s elections were unfair, will ECP hold a whole new election?
One could only laugh when an ECP official said, “The disrespect for people’s mandate on the basis of personal benefit is uncalled for, and against the basic principles of democracy.”
The army did a good job. But, now the ECP is out to cloud everyone’s efforts. NADRA told the Guardian newspaper that their system worked smoothly, without a glitch. But ECP blames NADRA for delayed results? Let ECP rein in their tongues or resign before making public speeches to pander to baser sentiments of warped minds.
It is heartening that many people, particularly the youth and women, came out and exercised their right to vote for the first time in the recent general elections. However, it is disappointing to know that only 50.85 percent voters participated in the democratic process, out of the 10.5 billion registered voters in this country. The latest voter turnout figure stands at almost fifty percent, which is abysmally low when compared to the 55.02 percent voter turnout in the 2013 general elections.
A major reason behind this could be slow CNIC registrations, far and unreachable polling stations, lack of political awareness and interest, illiteracy, traditional norms and so on. The government should ensure that all the Pakistanis above the age of 18 are registered by NADRA and possess CNICs. The Election Commission of Pakistan has to ensure that citizens are able to vote in the area where they live in during the next general elections.
Lastly, ECP should recruit volunteers to raise political awareness amongst people so that the common man can develop an interest in participating in democratic practices as well.
For the past few years, the people of Pakistan have had to face a new threat every time the monsoon rains come around. The roads get flooded and attract mosquitoes in droves and now they carry dengue with them.
Dengue has been a huge threat for quite some time and a few years ago an intense government drive to eradicate it made some progress in containing this virus. However, once the number of deaths and affected patients went down, the government moved on to other issues and completely forgot about this problem.
However, dengue is back and initial reports suggest that it is going to have the same kind of detrimental effect it had all those years ago. I need not remind the government that on that occasion, thousands of people lost their lives to this deadly virus, and I implore them to put a stop to this threat once and for all. I also ask the public of Pakistan to adhere by the rules of the government, and take preventive measures in their own homes to stem the spread of dengue.
So close to home
According to foreign media, Israel has a stockpile of 300 nuclear weapons, some of which are carried by Israeli submarines. It is the only nuclear power in the Middle East. When Egyptian and Syrian armies attacked Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, a squadron of eight Israeli F-4 Phantom jets loaded with nuclear bombs was placed on alert by Prime Minister Golda Meir. The aim was to drop nuclear bombs on Cairo and Damascus, should the Arab armies break through. Israel has threatened its neighbours and Iran with its nuclear weapons for a long time.
Pakistanis should be concerned because of the presence of Israeli submarines in Indian Ocean. Israel developed its own version of submarine-launched Tomahawk cruise missile (SLTCM). In 2000, US Navy radars detected successful launches of Israeli SLTCMs in the Indian Ocean. The missile struck a target 930 miles away. The weapon is the Popeye Turbo, modification of a subsonic air-launched cruise missile that can carry a 200-kiloton nuclear warhead. In 2013, an Israeli Dolphin submarine struck the Syrian port of Latakia with a conventional cruise missile to destroy suspected shipment of Russian P-800 anti-ship missiles. During 1960s, Israeli agents even carried out assassination attempts, kidnappings and bombings of `German weapons scientists’ working on behalf of Arab governments. In subsequent period, Mossad killed many Iranian scientists.
It is not understood why violation of international law by Israel is never noticed by the UN or USA. Hopefully the media can shed some light on these concerning developments.