Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


DAWN - Letters; 13 February, 2004

February 13, 2004


Tribute to Khalid Ishaque

Renowned lawyer and dear friend Khalid M. Ishaque passed away quietly on February 7, leaving a void difficult to fill.

In the field of law, Khalid Ishaque was a master of all he surveyed. He was a true expert in criminal law, constitutional law, commercial matters and, of course, the Shariah.

Khalid Ishaque's contribution to the legal profession is nothing short of legendary. Men and women from his chambers are leading jurists in their own right. Among his associates who were elevated to the superior judiciary were Justice Abdul Qadir Sheikh, Justice Amir Raza, Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, Justice Majida Rizvi, the late Justice Nizam Ahmed, Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed, Justice Ghulam Nabi Soomro, Justice Mujeebullah Siddiqui, Justice Amir Hani Muslim and Justice Mushtaq Memon.

An equally impressive array of men and women who cite Khalid Ishaque as their mentor, teacher and colleague now lead the fight for an independent judiciary, command the corporate law world, and continue to make an indelible mark on the legal profession. Abdul Hafeez Lakho, Muneer Malik, Shehenshah Hussain, Ahsan Zaheer Rizvi, Khalid Ibrahim, Abdul G. Soomro, Abid Zuberi and Khalid Ishaque's own son, Sohaib, to name a few, are some of the other leading names associated with Khalid Ishaque's law chambers.

Khalid Ishaque's humility of character and simplicity of lifestyle are worthy of emulation. He was the highest tax-paying advocate of his time, yet was not interested in amassing monetary wealth. He spent most of his earnings on charitable causes and books and has left behind one of the most extensive law libraries in the country. Khalid Ishaque was much more than just a lawyer. He was a visionary with a compassionate heart.

With his passing away, the legal profession has lost an indefatigable mentor. Men of academia have lost a colleague of scholarship. Pakistan has lost a true son. I have lost a dear friend.




The report (February 8) about the death of eminent jurist Khalid Ishaque was wanting in information.

Mr Ishaque was considered by many as simply a religious scholar, but the fact is he possessed great qualities of both head and heart, such as understanding music, playing first class tennis and working for sectarian harmony in the country. He particularly focused on injustices being perpetrated by the West against people in Afghanistan and Iraq.

While Mr Ishaque was justifiably inflexible on the tenets of Islam, he showed flexibility on bank deposits so far as those were for better economic growth and offered fair subsistence without exploitation by the banks.

He had full command of Arabic and Sindhi literature. Both his thorough knowledge of Shahjo Rasalo and the ability to remember selected verses were phenomenal.

Mr Ishaque stood for the rights and honour of his profession and placed stress on the dignity of the judiciary. Once when he was asked why he had joined the legal profession, he said he had first opted for the civil service, but in 1948 when he was denied the top position in a civil service examination on ethnic basis, he had decided to join the legal profession.

His most valuable collection of more than 200,000 books is a national treasure which should be preserved for research scholars.



Need for a sewerage system

I want draw the attention of the Karachi nazim to the misery of the residents of Model Colony which falls in the jurisdiction of Malir Town's UC-1. There is no sewerage system in this locality. Every home has its own sewerage system based on soakpits safety tanks and wells. The well system, however, causes problems to people when sewage starts overflowing from a well or whenever a family wants to clean it. The cleaning of a well or a safety tank is a very tough job.

In the early 1990s, during the tenure of Dr Farooq Sattar as mayor of the city, a main sewerage line was laid along Liaquat Ali Khan Road at a cost of Rs1.5 million, but it served no purpose as it was not connected to the main system and no internal lines were laid.

In July 1996, during Benazir Bhutto's government, an amount of Rs60 million was approved for setting up a sewerage network in this colony through ex-councillor Manzoor Abbas, but since the government was dismissed later that year, no fresh allocation has been made yet by successive governments. The amount was transferred to the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway project in 1997.

In October 2002 City Nazim Naimatullah Khan laid the foundationstone of a sewerage system which should have been completed in December 2002, but sadly the work was suddenly stopped for reasons known only to the authorities. This project was estimated to cost more than Rs10 million and on completion would have catered for more than 200,000 people living in Kazimabad, Model Colony, Jaffar Bagh, Moinabad and Faisal Town.

All areas of Malir Town have a sewerage system except UC-1. I request the city nazim to end the suffering of the residents of Model Colony by immediately ordering resumption of work on the sewerage line.



Devolution of power plan

The Punjab Local Government Ordinance was enforced by the government on August 14, 2001, with the promise to devolve power at grass-root level, but no such thing happened as devolution of power still remains a distant dream.

The so-called mighty district nazim has been reduced to the rank of financial administrator of the district as the law-enforcement agencies have not been placed under his control. Under these circumstances the claim of the government that "it has placed bureaucracy under the control of chosen representatives of the people" does not seem anything more than empty rhetoric.

In the past deputy commissioners used to exercise effective control over their respective districts by virtue of their being the district magistrates at the same time. The magisterial powers had brought the police under deputy commissioners' direct control, and they used to enforce their writs with the help of the police force. But under the new system the district police remain under the control of the provincial government which makes the institution of district nazim look like a toothless elephant having no authority to enforce its writ. Can we call it devolution of power at grass-root level? The answer is a big no.

To make the new local government system look more effective and responsive to the needs of the people, it is advisable that the district police force should be placed under the administrative control of the district nazim as, in the eyes of the common man, the SHO still commands the authority unmatched by any other office of the government.



School van operators

I want to draw the attention of the relevant authorities to the exorbitant fares school van operators are charging in Karachi. There seems no check on school van operators, who have their own laws and regulations. They start receiving fees for July and August in advance in the months of January and February. If anyone argues with them, they stop the service.

These transporters also charge an exorbitant amount for even a short distance. For instance, I live one-and-a-half kilometres from the school where my children study. The school van operator charges Rs300 per month. I spoke to another van operator of the same school who charges Rs150 per month from a relative of mine who lives near my area across the road. The van operator told me that he had had an agreement with his competitor that he would not cross the road as certain areas had been divided between them. There is a sort of monopoly enjoyed by the two operators in their respective self-defined jurisdiction.

The school administration says it has nothing to do with school van operators and asks the parents to send their children through vans at their own risk. It must have been aware of the situation, but no action either by it or the government has ever been taken against the school van mafia.

Will someone suggest where the parents should go for the redressal of their problem?



Qualification allowance

I want to draw the attention of Dr Atta-ur-Rehman, chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), to an important issue of the qualification allowance for MPhil degree holders.

I was appointed a lecturer with effect from April 3, 1991, in the Institute of Pharmacy, University of Sindh, Jamshoro. Six years later I was promoted to assistant professor with effect from October 9, 1999, in the same institute. I have acquired my MPhil degree from the Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU), Multan, in the session 1989-1990.

At that time in the university all PhD scholars were paid Rs1,500 per month and MPhil degree holders Rs750 per month, i.e. 50 per cent of the PhD allowance, as qualification allowance approved the by University Grants Commission. After that the qualification allowance for PhD scholars was raised to Rs5,000 per month with effect from March 6, 2003, vide reference No. Admn: Teach/590, dated 6-3-2003, approved by the HEC chairman. But the qualification allowance for the MPhil degree holders have not been increased yet.

Will the authorities concerned revise upward the qualification allowance for the MPhil degree holders?


Assistant Professor, Institute of Pharmacy, University of Sindh, Jamshoro

Divorced women's rights

This refers to the editorial "Divorced women's rights (February 9). It is heartening to learn that the Lahore High Court has granted relief to a divorced mother, ordering her former husband to pay a monthly allowance for the upkeep of their three minor children living with the mother.

The ruling is a landmark in the fight against mistreatment of women and discriminatory laws against them. It has also set a good example for divorced women.

The family laws of 1961 were a watershed in that they realized the need to safeguard women's rights at a time when divorce was not as common a social and human problem as it now is.

One hopes the judiciary will continue to help women safeguard their rights.



Dr A. Q. Khan's assets

While many ill-informed Pakistanis may continue to regard Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan as a hero, by his very own admission we now know that he has repeatedly divulged fundamental details of Pakistan's secret nuclear technology to a large number of foreign nations - seven by the latest accounts. And it has also been widely reported that he made millions (by some accounts hundreds of millions) of dollars while doing so.

While our military-led government has opted to forgive him, ostensibly for the sake of safeguarding some 'vital' national interest, it goes without saying that all the illegal wealth that the now pardoned Dr Khan obtained by his unlawful activities ought to be seized forthwith and deposited in the national exchequer.

At least this way Mr Shaukat Aziz will get a chance to reduce some more of our foreign debt.

Dr Khan, and for that matter anyone else who betrays Pakistan, ought not to be allowed to retain an iota of plunder obtained from such acts of disloyalty.

To do otherwise will invite further international ridicule.




Pardoning Dr A. Q. Khan and not persecuting him further or locking him up is one thing; allowing him to keep illegally acquired millions quite another. The president has said that A.Q. Khan did it for the money. Now he is allowed to enjoy this ill-gotten wealth. Why? Is NAB only for crooked and uncompromising politicians?

In any event Dr Khan must either donate the money to charity without strings attached or the money be taken from him for poverty alleviation.

Dr. A. Ahmed



If a pound of flesh must be exacted from the culpable nuclear scientists, a whole Pandora's box would open of indiscretions discreetly committed but buried to serve political and other ends.

The gravity of the current nuclear predicament is such that even written confessions obtained from the suspects would be eventually of no avail.

Therefore, to nip the issue in the bud and to clear the cobwebs of suspicion, the Supreme Court should take suo motu notice of the imbroglio and issue notices to all concerned to present their contentions in court. An open court is the only proper institution to judge the guilt or otherwise of those involved. Once this happens, the matter will be regarded as sub judice, placing a lid over all speculation.



WAR's appeal to govt

The War Against Rape (WAR) welcomes the Balochistan Assembly's bold and unanimous rejection of the heinous custom of karo-kari.

The WAR now not only looks forward to similar action by all the other provincial assemblies, but also implores the federal government to take concrete steps to make killing in the name of honour a punishable and non-cognizable crime.

The government has promised non-discriminatory and equal rights for the women. The WAR hopes it will keep its promise and take bold steps against not only karo-kari but also the Hudood Ordinance which has provided shelter to perpetrators of such heinous crimes as rape, gang-rape, incest and honour killings.

The War also urges the government to accept the suggestions put forward in the report launched by the National Commission on the Status of Women for a just society in Pakistan.


Project Coordinator, War Against Rape, Karachi

Confusion in post offices

In Karachi's post offices there is great confusion about the correct procedure of getting a job done and the charges for different mail services. Each post office, it appears, has laws of its own, and the bigger the post office, the greater the confusion.

Some post offices still insist on inland parcels being wrapped and stitched in a cloth-sheet and sealed at the stitched seams. From all over the country inland parcels are being received wrapped securely in paper and fastened by tapes. This is also observed in parcels received from overseas, all of which are packed in cardboard cartons or strong paper-sheets.

Even on letters and postal articles for abroad, different post offices charge different rates. This proves that postal staff are not duly trained. Each public service department, it appears, is commissioned to create hurdles for rather than facilitate the people. Will the authorities concerned take some corrective measures?




While the death toll of US soldiers is reported and tallied faithfully, death by death, no one appears to be bothered enough to total up the multiplying numbers of Iraqi civilians (which must be in the thousands now) killed daily by trigger-happy American soldiers, or for that matter the tally of Palestinian Muslims killed daily by occupying soldiers of Sharon. Even in death, apparently, some are more equal than others.



Creating civilized society

As reported in Dawn on February 11, the president said in a speech said: "We have to show to the world that we are a tolerant, progressive, educated and civilized society in accordance with the Islamic teachings." To achieve this goal we have to take positive steps now and sustain the effort over a long period so that, barring U-turns, we will perhaps achieve this aim in the next 30 years.

The reality today, however, is very different. Only about 30 per cent of us can read and write elementary stuff and only a small fraction out of them can really be classed as educated. Progressive we can be but there is among us a very vocal lot who are holding us back and to whom progress means taking us centuries back to the primitive life of a desert society. Tolerant we certainly are but in a negative sense. Only we can tolerate so much nepotism, corruption and, above all, "honour" killings of innocent girls.

When we truly become educated, progressive and tolerant, no one will hesitate to say that we are indeed a civilized society.



Shane Warne's selection

This is in response to Mr Omar Kureishi's article "List of probables amounts to sort of loud thinking" on the Internet edition of Dawn (February 11).

I would just like to correct him by pointing out that although Shane Warne has indeed not been selected for the five one-day internationals to be played in Sri Lanka, there is a strong possibility that he will be selected for the Test series which begins after the ODIs.

Besides, the Australian cricketer has also retired from the shorter version of the game. Hence the issue of his selection never arises. Although the Australian selection committee is very firm, it is quite evident from numerous articles on different websites that his selection is a mere formality.

We will all see this to hold good when the Test squad is announced.


Charlottesville, Virginia, USA

Hit-and-run deaths

Every other day Dawn reports hit-and-run deaths.

The following questions arise:

1. Why are drivers able to run away after killing or injuring people?

2. Why doesn't any of the passengers of a hit-and-run bus/coach or any of those who witness such an incident call the police?