Whom to blame? By Faisal George

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I know before reading this article you must be thinking that again he will criticize his own nation and country. No my dear Sir/Madam, I am not a critic and I have no right to criticize or to judge anyone. I am a faithful patriot and with a passion of patriotism but only for the ordinary, middle and lower class Pakistanis. What I am going to write is about the thought that should we be proud of our Nuclear Power State (Pakistan) or should we rethink – why?
Everybody knows this Nuclear and Atomic Plants and what are their impacts on humans and the environment, so I will not go in details. And secondly, I do not know and have no idea about their exact dates of the implementation of the nuclear power plants but what I know is that from 1970s till now approximately for 45 years - our government is putting and investing trillions of US$ and all these dollars were and are coming as an Aid and loan from almost all the Western Countries (and please do not forget we “ordinary, middle and lower class Pakistanis” have to return all this loan, even we have to sell our own body parts, our government will take this loan from us – but with a very humble request and that request is called TAX).
Let us think together that after having an Atomic Bomb or having Nuclear Power Plants – what Pakistan has achieved? And after 45 years of planning, still we are not in the list of the countries having Active Warheads. And most importantly, from the last 20 years our Army is fighting in his own land with his own invited people in the northwestern Pakistan and up to now – we have not seen any results. I have to write this unfortunately, that this ongoing war in Pakistan with the Taliban is the only war on earth in which if someone die from any side (they both are called Shaheed), our own nation even cannot decide yet that which side is right and which is wrong. For me - strictly speaking, my Army is the best and I want that they will finish this Taliban Regime from our country and I do respect all Pakistan Army’s (Ghazi and Shaheed). But if we will go to our Province Balochistan, in most of the parts people will go against of my idea of supporting Pakistan Army and similarly the same idea to support Pakistan Army is not popular in northern areas especially in FATA “The Federally Administered Tribal Areas are a semi-autonomous tribal region in northwestern Pakistan, bordering Pakistan's provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan to the east and south, in short I am not allowed to go in these areas because I am from Punjab Province and I even cannot put a Pakistani Flag in some areas of Balochistan and FATA, people will kill me for that and if you ask me why what are the reasons – I will say you sorry, nobody knows – not even our government or Army because after 20 years of war our government now started peace talks with the Taliban to understand what exactly they want and need.
So, again my question is - that all this Nuclear Technology is for whom? And when we will stop spending our billions of US$ on the war which has no end – if our Government and Army failed even to clean up their own small areas within Pakistan from Taliban then why we are spending and making huge defense budget from the last 40 years. According to the newspaper Tribune - Pakistan has increased its defense spending by 15% for the coming fiscal year, as the military remains engaged in fighting a deadly Taliban insurgency in the strife-torn tribal regions. The defense budget has been jacked up to Rs 627.2 billion for the financial year beginning July 1, 2013, compared to Rs 545.3 billion allocated in the outgoing fiscal year, showing an increase of Rs 82 billion. (Ref. http://tribune.com.pk/story/562640/defence-budget-hiked-by-15-per-cent/)
Even if we will compare us with our own neighbors, we can see where China, Malaysia, India, Korea and Taiwan were before 40 years and where they are now (Almost a developed Country). So, what happened to us – who will answer this - Our Governments or the Army Marshals? To whom we will blame, in fact – no one, because all the previous people who governed on us are not living in Pakistan presently, most of them are happily living in the US and in Europe, so we (people of Pakistan) are left with the present Government which will soon leave to abroad with their gathered money at the end of their tenure. And that’s why – sometimes I say that Pakistan even after 65 long years is not yet a Country; it is still trying to evolve into a country because we still are living in a Tribal Land – where who so ever want, can kill anyone at any time anywhere.
I know many of you will disagree from my point of view about the Nuclear Power and War Wining but a little later I will show you the facts and figures of our Nuclear Power State and how its Demographic Indicators are becoming worsen. In my understanding what the best gift we have achieved after becoming a Nuclear State is that 1 US$ = 110 PKR and before Nuclear State 1 US$ was less than 9 PKR till the year 1975. A big achievement, indeed!
The present conditions, in a very short sentence is that the ordinary Pakistanis, middle and lower class in particular, are faced with a long list of other serious crises (making their daily lives a misery) which, unfortunately, have got very little attention.
Let us read some alarming and horrifying details and facts about Pakistan’s Demographic Indicators
• Pakistan’s adult literacy rate has stagnated at 58% – almost half the country’s adult population is unable to read or write. The figure is not surprising when you consider that only 50% of the country’s rural population has ever attended school. (Ref. http://tribune.com.pk/story/687360/pakistan-education-atlas-2013-education-survey-reveals-mixed-bag-of-results/)
• Key health indicators lag behind those in peer countries. 78.08% of the population pays out of pocket at the point of health care. The private sector provides three-quarters of the health services, and physicians outnumber nurses and midwives by a ratio of about 2:1. Complex governance challenges and underinvestment in health have hampered progress. With devolution of the health mandate, an opportunity has arisen to reform health. (Ref. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60019-7/abstract)
• The economy of Pakistan is the 45th largest in the world in terms of nominal and 26th largest in terms of purchasing power parity GDP. Pakistan has a population of over 183 million (the world's 6th-largest) but around 54% of Pakistani people living under poverty line so its Economy basically depends upon Foreign aid to Pakistan given by United states, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and many Multilateral & bilateral aids. (Ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Pakistan)
• As of 2013 massive long-standing electricity shortages continued with long-standing failure to provide reliable service and rampant corruption being met by public protests, unauthorized connections, and refusal by consumers to pay for intermittent service. Electricity generation in Pakistan has shrunk by up to 50% in recent years due to an over-reliance on fossil fuels. (Ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_sector_in_Pakistan)
• Pakistan faced one of its most crucial gas crises, with the shortfall rising up to 1.8 billion cubic feet (bcf). The year also experienced the worst CNG load shedding resulting in losses and problems for the consumers. However OGRA increased the gas tariff by 14 per cent in the beginning of the year which was one of the biggest tariff hikes in the history of Pakistan. (Ref. http://www.dawn.com/in-depth/energy-crisis-in-pakistan/)
• Pakistan is heading towards the worst water shortage in the next couple of years due to insufficient water management practices and storage capacity. A report by the Washington DC based Woodrow Wilson Centre described Pakistan's water shortage as deeply troubling. It quotes South Asia scholar Anatol Lieven as saying water shortages present the greatest future threat to the viability of Pakistan as a state and a society. According to Water and Power Development Authority, with increased population, Pakistan is fast heading towards a situation of water shortage. Per capita surface water availability was 5260 cubic meters in 1951, when population was 34 million, which has been reduced to 1,030 cubic meters in 2013 when the estimated population is 182 million. (Ref. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/business/20-Jan-2014/country-heading-towards-water-shortage)
• Oxfam’s latest survey showed that Pakistan amongst the 21 nation facing food crises due to increasing prices of food commodities. Pakistan's independent Human Rights Commission (HRCP) has urged the government to take up the issue of food scarcity and rising prices in the country. The organization said food insecurity in Pakistan was reaching alarming levels.
“Growing food scarcity in Pakistan and the subsequent rise in prices have gravely affected access to food and nutrition not just for the poor but also for the large middle-income segment of the population," HRCP said in a statement. "The lack of attention to this critical issue is no less dangerous and frightening than the food scarcity itself." The NGO also pointed out that the food shortages were the result of bad governmental policy, blaming successive governments for neglecting the issue. (Ref. http://www.dw.de/pakistans-food-shortage-alarms-rights-organizations/a-16309778)
• Child labor in Pakistan is the employment of children for work in Pakistan, leading to mental, physical, moral and social harm to children. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan estimated in the 1990s that 11 million children were working in the country, half of those under the age of ten. In 1996, the median age for a child entering the work force was seven, down from eight years old 2 years prior. It was estimated that one quarter of the country’s work force was made up of child laborers. (Ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_labour_in_Pakistan)
• Trafficking of children in Pakistan. Boys and girls are also bought, sold, rented, or kidnapped to work in organized, illegal begging rings, domestic servitude, prostitution, and in agriculture in bonded labor. Illegal labor agents charge high fees to parents with false promises of decent work for their children, who are later exploited and subject to forced labor in domestic servitude, unskilled labor, small shops and other sectors. Agents who had previously trafficked children for camel jockeying in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were not convicted and continue to engage in child trafficking. Girls and women are also sold into forced marriages; in some cases their new "husbands" move them across Pakistani borders and force them into prostitution. NGOs and police reported markets in Pakistan where girls and women are bought and sold for sex and labor. Non-state militant groups kidnap children or coerce parents with fraudulent promises into giving away children as young as 12 to spy, fight, or die as suicide bombers. The militants often sexually and physically abuse the children and use psychological coercion to convince the children that the acts they commit are justified. (Ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_Pakistan)
• World Report 2013: Pakistan - Human Rights Watch. In 2012, at least 325 members of the Shia Muslim population were killed in targeted attacks that took place across Pakistan. In Balochistan province, over 100 were killed, most of them from the Hazara community. Abuses under the country’s abusive blasphemy law continued as dozens were charged in 2012 and at least 16 people remained on death row for blasphemy, while another 20 served life sentences. Threats against the local Christian community forced some 400 families to flee their homes. Members of the Ahmadi religious community continued to be a major target for blasphemy prosecutions and subjected to specific anti-Ahmadi laws across Pakistan. They faced increasing social discrimination as militant groups used provisions of the law to prevent Ahmadis from “posing as Muslims,” forced the demolition of Ahmadi mosques in Lahore, barred Ahmadis from using their mosques in Rawalpindi, and vandalized Ahmadi graves across Punjab province. (Ref. http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/pakistan)
• Fatalities in terrorist violence in Pakistan 2003 – 2014 is more than 60,000 (Ref. http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/database/casualties.htm)
My message to my Nation is that please stop religious wars, stop killing minorities, stop blaming each other on religious differences, stop killing on racial differences – it is the high time to start working together on the crucial issues of Health, Education, Water, Gas and Electricity. Please help Pakistan because it really needs you!

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