Plight of Punjab, plight of Pakistan
A protest movement by teachers and students’ unions, political and religious parties and community organisations across Punjab has been launched against the decision of the Punjab government to privatise 26 public sector colleges and to further the creation of a Board of Governors for the implementation of its decision.
The board of Governors will comprise ten members including parliamentarians, experts from the education and social sector and a relevant commissioner who will head the board. This body will be independent to employ teachers, take managerial and administrative decisions and will be authorised to furnish projects.
But how will students of poor families pay such exorbitant fees? The Punjab government is insisting on continuing the Sasti Roti Scheme and has just launched Free Langar Scheme. However, suicide trends seem to rising day by day.
The Governor of Punjab and the Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah are exchanging a war of words, each trying to prove the others’ links with a banned religious organisation. Their concern for the poor only comes to the fore after the media highlights reports of suicide attempts by the indigent pushed over the edge by unemployment and hunger.
Our streets and roads are witnessing increasing protests each day. One observes demonstrations, sit-ins and violent protests on a daily basis. The public has become increasingly frustrated in search of their rights and the promises which were to be fulfilled. Now, they have reached the point where they are ready to just snatch their rights.
Contractual employees are marching the roads demanding regular status and better pay scales; students are protesting the rise in school fees; religious factions are in furore over the imposition of the Western idea of moderation on Pakistan; doctors and lawyers are observing strikes to protest the injustices they experience; suicides are on the peak—victims of social injustice can be found voicing their grievances everywhere.
Pakistan has recently been ranked the tenth most failed state in the world, just three ranks below Afghanistan, in a US-based magazine Foreign Policy. It was also ranked 42nd amongst the most corrupt countries of the world, in a Transparency International report.
Pakistani government officials are living luxurious lives, while the poor continue to suffer the injustices meted out to them each day.
The need of the hour is to address the problems facing the people of Pakistan. Till that happens, we will remain in the state that we are.