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DAWN - the Internet Edition



18 September 2000 Monday 19 Jamadi-us-Saani 1421

Letters


Local bodies elections
Valid case to extend tax date
'Taking the Quran closer to the people'
Should we forgive and forget?
Forgetting history
Suggestions for PTCL
Bitterness of the past
Payment through Internet
Cable in Peshawar
CSS exam date
PMA's role
Action against land mafia
Begum Hamidullah
Appointment
CBR officers
No-war offer




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Local bodies elections


A LOT OF noise is being created by the political parties to have LB elections on party basis.

Very rightly, as the stalwarts of political parties feel threatened that the public will induct fresh blood in the mainstream politics of the country and that will deprive them of getting elected to the national and provincial assemblies.

If we do not correct the past practices these elections will fall prey to past rituals where the same old faces will get into the district councils and the assemblies.

We need to educate the masses to shed away the habit where half of the village is forced to vote for a 'chaudhry' or a landlord with no regard to his ability, political acumen and determination to serve the masses. Let history not repeat itself.

It would be in the fitness of things to educate our masses and impress upon them the importance of their vote. There is enough time available; the electronic media should gear up (not the boring Channel 3 and PTV World) to educate the public about the importance of voting by holding seminars and discussions, and showing short skits on PTV-1 as to how a wrongly-elected member can damage their interests.

The above programmes should be launched on an emergency basis. No attention is being paid in this area by the government. The very purpose of holding elections will be lost if matters are not corrected in time.

MUHAMMAD AFZAL SADIQ

Attock

Top of Page



Valid case to extend tax date



NEWSPAPERS of Sept 13 carry details of the Self-Assessment Scheme for the year 2000-2001 under which majority of the tax payers file their income tax returns. The last date for filing these returns is Sept 30, which is less than a fortnight away. The new Income/Wealth Tax Return forms have not been issued. They will not be ready before Sept 20, according to an official source.

As usual, it will take sometime not only by the taxpayers but the Income Tax practitioners as well to understand the wordings of the notification issued. Clarifications sought and given will consume many more days. Besides, traders are required to get themselves registered, enlisted or enrolled with the Sales Tax Department, which is progressing slowly. It will consume more time for the Sales Tax Department to provide necessary registration, enlistment or enrolment numbers to the would-be applicants. Only after receiving these numbers are the assessees eligible to avail the Self-Assessment Scheme.

Under the circumstances, it is most appropriate to demand that the last date for filing income tax returns be fixed as Nov 30, 2000. It will be appreciated if a decision in this regard is taken without the least delay and announced immediately to save the tax payers a lot of anxiety.

Is the Federal Finance Minister listening?

S.S. MULTANI

Karachi

Top of Page



'Taking the Quran closer to the people'



WRITING under the above headline Shafqat Tanvir Mirza, has dilated on the advisability of translation of the Quran in Punjabi and other local languages (Dawn, Aug 29). He also mentions that the first translation of the Holy Quran in Latin was done in the 12th century, while its first English translation was published in 1543 AD in Switzerland.

There seems to be some confusion about the first translation of the Quran in English. I would like to clarify the position on good authority.

Before the development of the modern European languages, the cultivated language of Europe was Latin. A Latin translation of the Holy Quran was made for a monastery in around 1143 AD (in the sixth century of the Hijra) but not published till 1543. The place of publication was Basle and the publisher was Bibliander. This was translated into Italian, German and Dutch. A French translation by Du Ryer was published in Paris in 1647 AD.

The translations by non-Muslims are usually biased. The first translation of the Holy Quran in English by Muslims, to my knowledge, was done by Mohammad Marmaduke Pickthall (without Arabic text or interpretation) which was published in 1930 under the title of The Meaning of Glorious Koran. Mr Pickthall was an English Muslim who had converted from Christianity to Islam. Mr Pickthall was a literary man and an Arabic scholar of repute. His rendering of the Holy Book is almost literal. In his own words he describes the book as an 'Inimitable symphony, the very sounds of which move men to tears and ecstasy'. Here is a flashback and I am reminded of Prof A. Saleem, an Arab Christian, a talented, well-read person with an open mind. He taught us development administration at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, during 1964-65. He felt proud that the Holy Quran was in his mother tongue. No human could have authored such rhythmic rendering in Arabic as the Quran. Then by way of illustration he recited the first part of the Kalima. He explained that in the whole sentence only one symbolic letter had been used - a marvel of the Holy Book.

The first translation of the Holy Quran in English by a Muslim with Arabic text in parallel columns, with a running rhythmic commentary in English and full explanatory notes in English was done by (Haji) Abdullah Yusuf Ali, my principal in at the Islamia College, Lahore. The work was completed and published in 1937. It is the best known English translation with Arabic text and commentary.

S.M. ASLAM

Faisalabad

Top of Page



Should we forgive and forget?



'NO TRIAL for '71 debacle, says CE' (Dawn, Sept 12).

Roma locuta est; causa finita est - Rome has spoken; the cause is concluded. I shall, therefore, not comment on the statement of General Musharraf except to quote from the impeachment trial of Warren Hasting by the House of Commons before the House of Lords.

Warren Hastings was one of the early British Empire builders in India and, coincidentally, the governor-general of Bengal from 1772 to 1785. The grounds for impeachment were 'failure to keep the standards of the British' and included such episodes as the execution of Nanda Kumar, his treatment of the begums of Oudh and Chait Singh, and even some aspects of his personal finances, where he had acquired money in excess of his official pay and allowances:

"I impeach him in the name of the people of India, whose rights he has trodden under foot, and whose country he has turned into desert. Lastly, in the name of human nature itself, in the name of every age, in the name of every rank I impeach the common enemy and oppressor of all!" - Edmund Burke.

BARRISTER BAACHAA

Peshawar

Top of Page



Forgetting history



IT is indeed very disappointing to read the recent remarks of the Chief Executive in New York that we must not insist on living in history and that as a Pakistani he (CEO) would like to forget 1971.

People who do not learn from history tend to repeat their mistakes. To add insult to injury, I guess, he would like us to stop analyzing the events that led up to the debacle of 1971 and to top all this, he is willing to turn a blind eye to the excesses committed by his brethren in uniform, sort of like honouring an unwritten fraternal code.

No one could argue with the ghastly nature of crimes committed by the Mukti Bahini against the loyal Pakistanis (my relatives included), but ignoring the excesses committed by the men in uniform will set a precedent that may have tremendous repercussions for the future.

The army must remain a disciplined force and its leaders must be subservient to the laws of the land, like the man in the street.

SEEMA NADEEM

Toronto, Canada

Top of Page



Suggestions for PTCL



MY telephone number is 7844311. I have had it for the last eleven years. It has gone through different phases. Sometimes dead and sometimes alive with lots of living voices coming out of it. We complained many times but to no avail. So we were reconciled to our fate. For the last two years, we are having cross-talk. There is no privacy. All complaints have borne no fruit. Half-heartedly we accepted our fate once again because in this country, you should have a big guy behind you.

I always shrugged off the idea and, unfortunately, taught my children the same. The result is that they are among the best law-abiding citizens of Pakistan. But, and it is a big 'but', they are the hardest hit citizens with nobody to protect their rights or even to listen to their reasonable complaints.

My above telephone number has been dead since August 29. Two to three complaints every day have not moved the authorities. The answer from the lineman is also peculiar who blames his supervisor.

I don't know whom I should approach when all are chips of the same block. Let somebody take the responsibility.

May I also suggest to the PTCL to mention the local calls on the bills with telephone numbers, date, time and duration of the calls made as is the case with trunk calls? Because the bills I am receiving play havoc with my budget - Rs3,000 to Rs4,000 for three to four local calls daily. Isn't it too much?

Another suggestion I have to make to the PTCL. It should create a staff welfare fund which should be realized from the customers at the rate of 2 per cent on all telephone bills. This might keep the lineman and his supervisors active and save the subscribers a great deal of embarrassment, particularly those who do not want to bribe their way out of trouble.

KHAWAJA ASGHAR HAMEED

Lahore

Top of Page



Bitterness of the past



THE CHIEF Executive has stated: 'No trials for 71 debacle... Let's forget the bitterness of the past.' (Dawn Sept 12).

First, I would like to point out that it was not mere a case of bitterness, nor it was 'something! that happened 30 years ago.' Moreover, 'to live in history' is one thing and to learn lessons from history is quite another.

If we as a nation and Pakistani armed forces as the guardian of this nation do not want to redeem their past mistakes no one will force us to do other wise.

However, one thing in possible, at least, the present regime can publish the original Hamoodur Rahman Commission report. Without knowing our past we cannot face the future with confidence. This in fact has been the case with Pakistan since the dissolution of the first Constituent Assembly on Oct 24, 1953.

MOHAMMAD MAHMOOD

Hyderabad

***

I READ with interest the outburst by the former interior minister, Maj-Gen (R) Naseerullah Babar over the statement made by the CE in New York. He showed his dismay and anger that the CE refused to take any action against the generals responsible for the military debacle in former East Pakistan. One may disagree with that approach. But the point to remember is that the person who exonerated all the generals without a trial is not the CE. He was not even in the picture when the report was made. It was Z.A. Bhutto. Wasn't he the one who established the commission to investigate the military debacle and did nothing after receiving the report.

The CE, in fact, 'said' exactly what Bhutto 'did'. Mr Bhutto did nothing against the generals and the CE plans to do the same. What the CE said was that this report was only half the truth. The other equally responsible, if not more, were the politicians. No commission was formed to investigate their role. One wonders if Mr Bhutto felt that in doing so he would be establishing a commission against himself.

M. SHAMIM MOZAFFAR

Kuwait

Top of Page



Payment through Internet



I REFER to a report filed by a Dawn correspondent, 'Banks not equipped to receive bills on internet' (13-9-2000). The report details the familiar ordeal of the consumers in paying their bills through banks. According to the report, the State Bank had asked the banks to let the consumers pay their bills through internet knowingly that the banks were not equipped for that.

In order to be able to make payments through net the first step is that accounts should be on-line and accessible to the account holders.

Once it is done only then a payment system could be installed. If the report is correct then it shows how naive our central bank is as it is asking a person to run who can barely stand.

Our banks have been wasting their resources when western banks were investing heavily in technology and human development. How can we reap the benefits of technology without investing in it?

The best way to deal with the problem is to give consumers a choice to pay by cheque.

FATIMA ZUBERI

Oakville,

Canada

Top of Page



Cable in Peshawar



THE Peshawar Garrison Services Club has recently installed a 20-channel cable TV connection. As a member, I have spent a few evenings, scanning through programmes, as varied as the BBC, National Geographic, sports and movies, shown by different channels to determine where the element of obscenity was most pronounced. I failed. In fact, I was carried away by some of the programmes featuring wildlife and natural phenomena.

Could someone from the recently constituted Cable TV censor board or a member of a religious group help me to find out where can the element of obscenity be found on the 20-channel cable TV?

COL SAYED GB SHAH

BOKHARI

Peshawar

Top of Page



CSS exam date



THIS IS with reference to the letter from Rabia Khan pleading for extension of CSS exam date. Of course, it is a just demand but the path chosen for this purpose does not seem to be effective as merely writing letters in newspapers will not solve the problem.

It is, therefore, suggested that all concerned candidates constitute a delegation to meet with the Chief Executive, requesting him to extend the date till January 2001 and also to put off the upper age limit for CSS exam till 2003 as proposed earlier.

G.M. MEMON

Hyderabad

Top of Page



PMA's role



BLAMING the government for everything is in vogue in this country. Everybody wants to tackle the Kashmir issue, whether it is his business and he knows the facts or not. What happens in daily life to the common man is being forgotten and neglected.

Let's take the Pakistan Medical Association for instance. How many people die in this country in hospitals because of neglect and blunders of doctors and nurses. Has PMA ever done anything about it? I have had personal experience of my daughter dying in a hospital because of the total negligence of doctor on duty and nursing staff. There is no place to go and complain about. Inquiries held are blatant lies and nothing else.

I am sure no government, military or civil, and no political party has ever intervened in PMA affairs for their professional conduct. I would like courts to take suo motu notice of such 'professional organizations' and look into their affairs.

NASER HAMADANI

Karachi

Top of Page



Action against land mafia



I WISH to draw attention of the concerned authority to the encroachments on Hussain D'Silva Road, off Nishtar Road, adjoining Pakistan Quarters, Karachi. The land mafia has completely occupied one of the pavements of the road and has constructed shops extending to parts of the road. This amounts to unlawful possession of government land.

I request strict action and immediate removal of the unlawful structures so that the pavement is cleared of them.

Due to the illegal construction of shops the width of the road has been reduced causing hazard to pedestrians, specially small children, who are forced to walk on the busy road.

MAHMOOD

Karachi

Top of Page



Begum Hamidullah



M.H. AskaRI recalls 'the blistering editorial' of Begum Zaibun Nisa Hamidullah and its consequences (Dawn, Sept 12). Mention must also be made to another, even more pugnacious article by her taking to task a much more powerful autocrat, Ayub Khan, telling him, that she had put his portrait which was on her table and one at which she looked with great pride and reverence, upside down owing to his authoritarian style of rule. The Mirror was banned once more!

AGHA KHALIL AHMAD

Bahawalpur

Top of Page



Appointment



I request the Sindh Education Minister that all those who have been offered the posts of lecturers in various subjects on the recommendation of the Sindh Public Service Commission and have met all the formalities be posted without further delay.

The ones involved in delaying tactics and those busy blackmailing the poor candidates be brought to book.

WAHEED A. TUNIO

Larkana

Top of Page



CBR officers



THE lists of suspended officers of CBR were drawn up when the chairman had been given absolute authority to dismiss any employee without assigning any reason. That is why personal likes and dislikes played a big role in the preparation of the lists.

This biased action of the CBR bosses has frustrated the affected officers so much that many of them would not like to continue even after being proved innocent after disciplinary proceedings, which are bound to be protracted. It is, therefore, proposed that the Chief Executive should give the suspended officers an option to proceed on early retirement or, for younger officers, to resign. Those who exercise the option should be reinstated honourably and allowed to retire/ resign, as the case may be.

This proposal will not only relieve the tension of the suspended officers but will also save the CBR bosses from the big hassle of cooking up charges and going through the lengthy drill of disciplinary proceedings.

Pro Bono Publico

Lahore

Top of Page



No-war offer



ADDRESSING the United Nations Millennium Summit, Gen Pervez Musharraf not only raised the Kashmir issue but also suggested a no-war pact with India. It is indeed a bold offer. It would be in the interest of world peace that the Indian leadership should rise to the occasion and accept the offer.

The UN has not been playing an effective role in the case of Kashmir. That is why Jaswant Singh, the Foreign Minister of India, has attacked Pakistan for raising the Kashmir issue at the international forum, saying it is a bilateral issue. But how can he say this in the face of United Nations' resolutions for a plebiscite in Kashmir passed as far back as 1948.

Sad to say that out of more then 150 leaders attending the Summit session including those from the OIC, only Pakistan raised the issue of Kashmir. Is this not a failure of our foreign office? What are our diplomats doing in foreign countries?

ALI ASHRAF KHAN

Karachi






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