Drug addiction

 

Drug addiction is defined as compulsive and out-of-control drug use, despite negative consequences. In the last few decades, drug addiction has increased exponentially in Pakistan. Youngsters in Pakistan are the most affected by drugs and alcohol and the number of these addicts is increasing at the rate of 40,000 per year, making Pakistan one of the most drug-affected countries in the world. In Pakistan, around 700 people die of a drug overdose every year.

Drug addiction has been increasing in educational institutions across Pakistan. Students, whether be at schools, colleges or universities, are getting addicted to substances at an alarming rate, threatening not only their own future but those of people around them, including family and friends. According to one survey, one out of every 10 colleges/university students is a drug addict and almost 50 percent students of different educational institutions particularly elite schools/colleges in Islamabad/Lahore are addicted to drugs, and the majority of these students belong to the elite class, having no issue of affordability.

The growing trend of drug abuse in educational institutions has posed a serious threat to the lives and health of students as college and university students use drugs freely and openly. Perhaps the reason is the negligence of the parents to take care of their kids. Every parent should take care of this issue. Academic pressures in schools and parents’ expectations and consequently depression also force students to start drugs. Moreover, most youngsters of our country start using drugs because they idealise the West and try to follow their culture of drugs, while some of them start using it out of curiosity and for the pleasure they get through use.

However, the hazard of drugs can be battled. Education is the primary fight. Everyone should be educated about the harm and effects of drugs so that they may know the consequences of its use and can avoid it. And to check this evil, the government should plan things sincerely. The network of dealers should be broken. Some strict measures should be taken in the country because it is a matter of utmost seriousness and deserve urgent attention.

SYEDA ANOSHA GILANI,

Karachi.

 

PIA rescue plan

 

The PTI federal cabinet has approved the appointment of an octogenarian aged over 84 years to serve as Chairman of national airline PIA, which has accumulated losses of over Rs500 Billion and requires leadership with rare qualities and acumen of Rafique Saigol or Noor Khan. It seems that Mr Aslam R Khan who was nominated to PIA Board of Directors on 4th February 2020 specifically for this objective, perhaps to help the case pending in Supreme Court challenging appointment of a serving uniformed senior officer.

What PIA needs are concrete steps taken by the government, with full powers to an independent CEO and a BOD with powers to take decisions as were given to former Chairman Noor Khan by the then PM, instead of these half-hearted stop-gap measures. PIA owned by taxpayers deserves an energetic man/woman of caliber with integrity and should no longer be considered as ‘spoils of war’ to be given to cronies or others serving in powerful institutions. Mr Khan was amongst those whose services were terminated under MLR 52 in 1981 and was reinstated when Benazir came to power after Zia’s death. He also has the distinction of serving under 3 months as MD PIA in 2008 and was replaced by another crony as MD and has mostly served in PIA Investment for over 12 years. PIA Investment although a state-owned organization has never had its finances audited by Auditor General of Pakistan, nor has it held its board meetings in Pakistan, although its head office is located here.

GULL ZAMAN,

Peshawar.

 

Political fractures in Kabul

 

The deal signed in Doha by U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar on February 29 was the first and probably the easiest phase in bringing an end to the four decades of bloodshed in Afghanistan. There are several strong reasons to believe that Afghanistan is finally heading toward a durable peace. But other indicators suggest the post-February 29 situations may plunge the country into a new war instead of opening a window to a new beginning.

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani, whose government always responded with measured enthusiasm to the U.S.-Taliban negotiations, refused to accept the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners from Afghan jails as a precondition for the beginning of the promised intra-Afghan dialogue. In a knee-jerk reaction, the Taliban announced an end to the week-plus reduction in violence and ordered its field commanders and fighters to launch attacks against the Afghan government and security forces. interestingly, when the Taliban military commission ordered attacks on Afghan government and security forces on March 2, it also asked its fighters not to target foreign forces. We will issue fresh orders about the invaders in the days ahead, says the Pashto-language Taliban announcement. Hours later, a bomb planted on a motorcycle went off during a football match in southeastern Afghanistan killing three people and injuring over a dozen on March 2.

The short-lived partial ceasefire, which was welcomed across Afghanistan with jubilation, came to an end less than 48 hours after the signing of the U.S.-Taliban agreement in Doha on February 29. Apart from Ghani-Taliban discord over the prisoners’ release, the post-election political wrangling in Kabul is also far from over. As Ghani is getting ready to be sworn in as the president of Afghanistan for a second term, his election rival Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and his supporters are busy holding parleys with allies to nominate governors for provinces under their influence, mostly in Afghanistan’s north and western regions. Abdullah has already threatened to declare a parallel government if Ghani takes the oath of office as president. The intra-Afghan dialogue seems to be an uphill task, especially at a time when Ghani and Abdullah have locked horns over the results of the September 28, 2019, presidential election.

The Taliban resumption of attacks on the Afghan government is serving two immediate purposes: to help keep their fighters engaged and to keep the Afghan government under pressure. It is likely that the two sides, with the help of regional players and Afghanistan’s international backers, will find an agreeable midpoint sooner than later. The Taliban’s victories in the mid-1990s, apart from their military prowess, were the result of a welcoming attitude by common Afghans who were fed up with the years of anti-Soviet jihad and civil strife. That thinking, however, is now replaced by a high degree of awareness among Afghans. And the Taliban of 2020 are fully conscious of that reality. They will settle their differences once the Afghan leadership comes to terms with each other.

ENGR. OMAR SHAHKAR,

Islamabad.