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An academic, a researcher and writer.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Dear Mian Sahib - Dr Farrukh Saleem

Sir, some fifteen million Pakistanis voted the best man back to power. Congratulations. Sir, are you now prepared to commit to three things: austerity, a Public Sector Enterprises Selection Board and fiscal consolidation? Sir, are you prepared to wash your hands of the Rs27 billion prime minister’s discretionary fund (and the chief minister’s discretionary fund especially in Punjab)?
Sir, are you prepared to end the multi-billion rupee Ministry of Information secret fund? Sir, then there are the two major propaganda tools – Rs5 billion for Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation and Rs4 billion for Pakistan Television. What should their future be? Sir, that’s a hefty Rs40 billion right there.
Sir, the cabinet division is spending Rs8 million per day, every day of the year. The Prime Minister’s Secretariat is spending Rs2 million a day, every day of the year. The presidency is spending Rs1.3 million a day, every day of the year. Sir, the budgetary allocation for the prime minister’s foreign trips amounts to a whopping Rs5 million a day, every day of the year. That’s a total of Rs6 billion right there. Sir, can you commit to slash all of these expenditures down to their bones?
Sir, our public sector enterprises (PSEs) are falling like ninepins. Pakistan Railways, Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Steel Mills, Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco), Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) and the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) collectively end up loosing Rs360 billion a year – Rs100 crore a day, every day of the year.
Sir, the MD of PIA is managing to lose Rs7 crore a day, every day of the year. Pakistan Railways is managing to lose Rs5 crore a day, every day of the year. PIA’s half yearly report titled ‘Flying towards a prosperous future’ reports that liabilities went up from Rs62 billion in 2005 to Rs200 billion in 2009. PIA’s annual report titled ‘We stand for national values’ reports that net losses at the PIA have gone up from Rs4.4 billion in 2005 to Rs35 billion in 2008. At Pakistan Railways, the overdraft now stands at a tall Rs48 billion.
Sir, are your ready to dilute the prime minister’s authority to appoint the heads of the falling ninepins? Sir, are you prepared to commit to abide by the guiding principles of the UK commissioner for public appointments? Sir, are you ready to commit to just three principles of ‘merit, fairness and openness’?
Sir, do you commit to undertake fiscal consolidation? The PML-N would have to come up with specific policy instruments and specific structural spending and revenue reforms. The PML-N would have to formulate specific policy measures within our tough economic environment and a challenging setup of patronage politics. The PML-N would have to stabilise debt and to succeed the PML-N would need multiple instruments of consolidation.
Sir, are you ready to commit to the Nolan Committee’s seven principles of public life for all ministerial appointments? These principles are: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.
Sir, are you ready to commit to end billion rupee dole-outs to Senators, MNAs and MPAs all in the name of ‘development funds’? Sir, are you ready to commit to the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitations Law of 2005?
Dear Mian Sahib, unless “commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes...but no plans.”

Dear Mian Sahib - Dr Farrukh Saleem

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Why Sir Syed loses and Allama Iqbal wins in Pakistan

In the battle for Pakistan’s soul, Sir Syed’s rational approach ultimately lost out and the Allama’s call on emotive reasoning won. Iqbal said what people wanted to hear — and his genius lay in crafting it with beautifully chosen words. Unfortunately, his prescriptions for reconstructing society cannot help us in digging ourselves out of a hole.

Why Sir Syed loses and Allama Iqbal wins in Pakistan

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Problems and Prospects of Collaborative Learning in Asian Cross-cultural Student Group in England.


Saturday, 5 January 2013

14 ‘shoulds’ for a better Pakistan

Pakistan has been in turmoil for a long time now. There is political, ideological, social and economic chaos engulfing the entire country. I hope that the year 2013 will be the beginning of peace and prosperity in Pakistan. To move towards an enlightened, peaceful and prosperous Pakistan, I, as a Pakistani, propose fourteen SHOULDS on this occasion. These SHOULDS, I promise can change the course of our country but this require paradigmatic changes in our national priorities. Here goes the list: 1. Education should be at the top of our priority list with at least 20 percent of our annual budget spent on providing quality education to the people of Pakistan. 2. As a sage once said, 'If you want to see the condition of a nation, see the condition of the teacher'. So teachers should be the most valued (in the real sense of the word) people in the country. 3. Our hospitals should be our second principal priority after education. 4. We should make every effort to establish complete peace with our neighbouring countries including our arch-rival India. In this regard we can learn from European countries such Germany, France, and the UK. 5. We should devote ourselves to spreading a network of playgrounds in each and every city and town and village of our country. 6. There should be a network of libraries in every our city and town with latest books, magazines, journals available, and with computers and internet facilities 7. There should be immediate and complete ban on pressure horns on roads and streets and gradually the ban should come down to any kind of horns, of course people need to be educated through electronic and print media against indiscriminate use of horns 8. There should be a centrally controlled system of mosques in every city and town. The Imams should be properly educated, trained, should be at least secondary school graduates besides their religious studies and should be recruited by the local administrative authority. They should be paid adequately for their services with the help and cooperation of the local population. The Friday sermons and teaching of these Imams should be monitored and they should be trained and educated to present the peaceful, inclusive, humanitarian face of religion to the people .This will guard against the tendency of turning religion into a sectarianism, extremism and the resultant violence. 9. Democracy should be embraced, nurtured and practiced in the true sense of the word and for that to happen efforts should be made to take the power centre out of the feudal class and to bring it down to the reach of the common people. The first step in this regard is for political parties to themselves become truly democratic and shun hereditary and dictatorial practices prevalent inside their ranks. Our armed forces should once and for all decide not to ever interfere in our political system and confine themselves to their constitutionally rightful place: that of the guardian of our (primarily) external security and (if need be) internal security. Let us for the coming thirty years, at least, try democracy in its true sense and then decide which way to go. Let our democratic system correct its own course without anymore interference. Let us show to the world that we can be truly professional in our respective fields, whichever that might be, as soldiers, military officers, teachers, doctors, politicians, lawyers, judges, engineers, bankers, religious leaders, farmers, labourers, craftsmen, technicians, journalists or people from any other profession. 10. A Pakistani nationalism based on an international, humanitarian philosophy should be nurtured through a nationwide system of inclusive education. The purpose should be to broaden the horizons of the Pakistani youth to feel a part of the rest of the world instead of looking at every other nation as an enemy out to destroy our dear country. For this the concept of positive national ego, should be promoted. This will help the Pakistani youth feeling a responsible part of the rest of the world, shouldering the burden of the entire humanity instead of asking others to always extend a helping hand to our sinking ship. 11. Strength in terms of economic and social development should be our primary goal driving our national policies and not just military might and our capability for destruction. Live and let live should be our motive from now onwards if we really want to continue to exist and flourish in the comity of nations in the twenty first century. 12. Rigorous measures should be taken to control our dangerously growing population, which is already beyond our means. Poverty, illiteracy, ignorance and a false understanding of religion are primary source of this menace. The role of religious leaders is of special importance in this regard. 13. An important indicator of the degree of civilization of a society is the way women are treated in it. Women emancipation through a process of education and awareness among the masses should be one of our top priorities. Pakistani women are exemplary in their devotion to their families and the welfare of those around them and this extraordinary source of our strength must be taped by giving them their due place in the social, economic and political spheres of our national life. Again the role of religious leaders is of primary importance in this regard; many of whom unfortunately confine the role of women to domestic chores. These religious leaders consciously or unconsciously use their enormous clout as opinion makers against the economic and social freedom and autonomy of our women. This trend needs to be changed and women be brought into our national life as equal partners and stakeholders. 14. We should, as a nation make it a core principle of our national ethos, that a society cannot live for long in the presence of injustice and endemic corruption. It should, therefore, be one of the top-most priorities to clean up corruption in our legal, administrative and political system, to have an independent, well-paid judiciary and an excellent, efficient and corruption-free police force. P.S: Seems a loony’s dream? Well, maybe, but this country was a dream before its birth, a dream of hope and peace and prosperity before it was turned, by the monsters who ruled it for years on, into a nightmare for its inhabitants. And with the positive energies of our youth, can once more, we have the beginning of a noble dream and a lovely reality. The writer is an academic and researcher at the Department of Education, Hazara University, Mansehra. Email: ilyasisa@gmail.com