By Rifaat Hamid Ghani
Pakistan’s democratic advances and retreats are usually perceived
in terms of a tussle between power-belts: a civilian establishment comprised of
what– post lateral-entry– we may no longer justly call mandarins, enabled by
and facilitating administration and policy for an electorally empowered party
leadership: now called chors and dakkus. (Party activists,
dissidents, and turncoats of lesser stature we could soon be calling raillu
kattas.) In the scales for charge of
the governmental process is the military establishment.
We still term it the khakis.
Notwithstanding the fact that the last military coup was essentially a day-long
airborne drama, those clad in blue and white do not emerge as coup-Caesars.
Perhaps what really matters is what you have on the ground — or the ground
realities of the political field. What
are these and who determines them? Supposedly in the electoral democratic
process the voters. But who enfranchises and disenfranchises?
Continue reading Amazed in the maze
By Zubeida Mustafa
QAMAR Zaman is the father of an infant boy. He works in Karachi’s
Defence Authority’s Phase 4 Commercial Area. He had just finished his
duty at 6pm on June 10 and had stopped to purchase vegetables for his
wife to cook for dinner, when he was knocked out by a hail of gunshots.
For him everything went black thereafter.
He later learnt that a guard before a mobile shop close by had accidentally pulled the trigger claiming that he did not know that his gun was loaded. He had just received the weapon from his colleague who was going off-duty.
Continue reading No guns, please
By Zubeida Mustafa
WHY should an official of the US Embassy, representing the Department
of Agriculture, be going overboard to ‘collaborate’ with Pakistan on
projects involving genetically modified maize? This unwanted advice
seems to be seedy business at a time when there is a tug of war taking
place between various lobbies in the agricultural sector.
Even more regrettable is that in the past such dubious overtures by
biotech giants have been extended to too many people whose integrity is
in doubt. Quite a few were elected representatives of the people who
went ahead to change the Seed Act in 2016. The legality of this move has
now been challenged by the farmers in a court of law. The amendments in
the act paved the ground for introducing GM seeds in the country.
Moves are now afoot to win over opinion in the quarters that matter.
This time the target is maize, one of our best food crops next to wheat
and rice. The battleground is in the highest quarters. Pakistan produced
6.1 million tonnes of maize in 2018 showing a yield per hectare of 5MT
(about 2MT per acre). This was 2MT in 2003. The Philippines which
switched over to GM corn in 2003 could increase its yield per hectare
from 2MT to only 3MT in the same period.
Continue reading GMO tug of war