REPORTS of alleged sale-purchase of party tickets and votes for Senate elections have been carried by the national media in recent days. In my memory the first time such reports emerged was when the PML (Junejo) had awarded tickets for six general seats from Sindh to party nominees, including its secretary-general.
Subsequently, reports surfaced about some kind of deal between the party top brass and a businessman from Karachi. It resulted in the withdrawal of party ticket from the secretary-general who himself was issuing the tickets. This practice has been going on since then and the forthcoming elections seem to be no different on this count.
The toothless parliament, instead of playing any positive role, is becoming a financial liability on the national exchequer. Social media is abuzz with detailed breakup of staggering amount spent annually on national and provincial assemblies and Senate, excluding the salaries of speakers, deputy speakers of national and provincial assemblies and chairman and deputy chairman of Senate.
Economic statistics show about 2.15 per cent increase in inflation in the current quarter. I shudder to think what is there to celebrate on the so-called reliefs from the IMF and the FATF when the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) reportedly proposed an increase of Rs20 per litre in petrol and Rs19.25 per litre in diesel prices.
The textile industry is in the doldrums due to poor performance of our economic managers that resulted in more than 60pc shortfall in the cotton crop, while export of yarn was allowed to the foreign buyers. There are fears that the textile garment and allied industries will face forced closure, the consequences of which will result in negative effects on the national economy.
Will someone attend to more urgent problems the nation faces instead of confusing the people on issues such as secret balloting in the Senate elections, which may not have any productive role in nation-building programmes?
Ali Ashraf Khan
Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2021