Closing shop


Shahid Ali April 24, 2010

JEDDAH: This is with regard to the reports in the media that much of the business community in the country has refused to close down shops at 8 pm as directed by the government. There are many people who are saying that the business community needs to follow this directive. But the point is that isn’t it the government’s fault that things have come to this pass — and if that is so, why should private citizens pay for the government’s folly?

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Syed Hussein El-Edroos | 11 years ago | Reply The US Government has promised aid to the Pakistani government to assist it in its “War Against Terror”. Part of this assistance will go to the Pakistani Military in the fight against the Taliban, formerly known as Mujahideen, and the remaining to uplift the poor people of Pakistan, some of whom join the Taliban or become suicide bombers because of poverty. The US Government stance of raising the standard of living of the average Pakistani must be appreciated and welcomed. However, when they oppose the Pakistan Government’s efforts to build the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline to meet the demand for increased energy, one is at loss for words. Everyone knows that without energy, especially gas, you are unable to fire your power plants. Shutdown or under producing power plants mean excessive load shedding. This in turn results in factories, cottage industries and small businesses having to lay off their workers due to lack of electricity. Similarly non-availability of cheap energy affects the income level of the farming community. The Government of Pakistan must tell the US Government that 1) It is in the “National Interest” of Pakistan to have access to cheap and environmentally friendly gas 2) To keep people gainfully employed and out of poverty, energy is a basic requirement 3) That US Law prohibits countries to do business with Iran (because of its attempt to make the Nuclear Bomb) and we respect their laws. However, we prefer to lose the quantum of aid the US Government is giving us as in the long run we will lose more as a nation if we don’t have access to natural gas from Iran. At the height of the Cold War (in the 1980s) Western Europe was buying gas from the then Soviet Union. Why didn’t the US Government stop these countries from buying Soviet gas? The money the Soviets got from selling the gas was helping it finance its war in Afghanistan. It is hoped that our Government will take a stand that benefits the people of Pakistan in short-term as well as the long-term. Syed Hussein El-Edroos
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