Of late, there has been virtually a mushroom growth of newspapers in the country. As a result of this, intellectuals from academia, retired civil & military bureaucrats, nuclear scientists and others have literally flooded the pages of English and Urdu dailies with columns extrapolating their sterling thoughts on every issue under the sun. These days, one finds more columns being published daily in the newspaper than hard news. They are spread over a space greater than even the clichs-filled statements of the rulers. Almost all of these new 'columnists, get paid, some moderately and some handsomely, depending on their relationship with the respective managements of the newspapers they write for. In order to fill up the gargantuan reams of paper that get filled by their profound reflections, these new columnists often criticise all from top to bottom, find faults with everyone and everything around and in general have nothing good and positive to say about anything except those concerning the good, old days when they were on their perch of power and did for the nation and the country what had not been done before and since. While these new heretics of the system are free to criticise everyone and everything, in most cases, the readers criticism or disagreement with their views is not entertained by the newspapers for reasons best known to them. Even if a nuclear scientist-turned-columnist declares in his weekly tome that The country has gone to dogs... nothing against him is published even in the newspapers he does not write for. This just not fair on the part of these newspapers. If the columnists are free to criticise, they should also have the moral courage to hear adverse as well as welcome remarks that their readers pass on their views. -DANIYAL. A. NAJMI, Lahore, May 28.