Here’s what is happening across the border: Austerity drive fails to reduce Prez Arif Alvi’s security cars and most non-resident Pakistanis are blue-collar workers and cannot contribute to dam collection. 

Pakistan Prime minister Imran Khan recently said that there is “no money” left to run the country, a remark that has now snowballed into a controversy.

“We don’t have the money to run our country. Majority of the population is young and looking for jobs. We took loans instead of creating wealth so that we could repay them,” he is quoted as saying by The News.

“With these loans, we have created projects that are running into losses,” Khan said.  He pointed out that the salary structure of bureaucrats and civil servants were “not enough for them to survive”.

However, lawyer and visiting professor at Harvard Law School Yasser Latif Hamdani sought to know — if Pakistan is broke, why Prime Minister’s dogs is also travelling with him in the prime ministerial chopper, when they could easily be carried in a car.

The austerity drive doesn’t seem to have reached the Pakistan President’s office. On a visit to Karachi Friday, President Arif Alvi was escorted by no less than 28-30 security cars, Pakistan Today reported. Hundreds of social media users expressed their annoyance at the public nuisance caused and slammed the government for “backtracking on its austerity drive”.

President Alvi responded Saturday morning by accepting that things needed to be worked upon.

Can overseas Pakistani really pay $1000 for constructing dams?

A blog by Michael Kugelman in Dawn points out that not all overseas Pakistanis can afford to pay $1000 for the construction of dam, as Prime Minister Imran Khan might have hoped.

Khan had last week urged the Pakistani diaspora to contribute to the cause, saying Pakistan is facing water scarcity.

Kugelman pointed out that a majority of Pakistani expatriates are blue collar workers, such as drivers and transportation workers — the affluent are few and far between.

“Nearly 50 per cent of Pakistani migrant workers who relocated overseas for employment in 2014, the most recent year when data was available, were unskilled (with another 16 per cent characterised as semi-skilled), and 40 per cent of them were employed as labourers — which suggests they are far from deep-pocketed diaspora members,” Kugelman said.

Interesting tweets of the day

Journalist Omar.R. Quraishi reminisces about the time in 1950s when Jews used to live in Karachi.

This tweet by Tribune Blogs is a sarcastic take on Pakistan’s Economic Advisory Council’s suggestion to ban imports of cheese and luxury items for the sake of benefiting the country’s economy. It implies that the same way Gotham (a fictional city in the US based on which the Batman story is set) did not ‘deserve’ Batman but indeed needed it, ‘Naya Pakistan’ doesn’t ‘deserve’ this restriction of cheese import.

Pakistan’s PTI government announced Friday the launch of the human rights ministry’s campaign to educate people on women’s right to inheritance, a key component of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s campaign for equality and justice.

Turkey foreign minister backs Pakistan on its stand on Kashmir

During his two-day visit to Islamabad, Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that his country stood with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, Pakistan Today reported.

“The group that has been formed over Kashmir in the UN, we will stand with Pakistan and try to make [its efforts] successful”. He also emphasised that the two countries’ “friendship should remain forever” and should not be affected by change of governments.

Cavusoglu also spoke of strengthening cooperation between Turkey and Pakistan in fields of economy and finance, military and security.

CJP Saqib Nisar seeks report on waterbody that has gone dry

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar visited the historic Katas Raj temple in Chakwal Friday and found that the water in the spring has dried up. He asked for a detailed report on the condition of the waterbody, reported The Nation.

The CJP seems interested in water matters. He wants the people of Pakistan to help construct the Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand dams. Recently, he also expressed concern over water woes caused by cement factories in Fatehjang area of Punjab province.

While speaking to the cement factory owners, the CJP said, “For the sake of your personal interest and profit you have ruined the natural beauty of this area. It is my heartiest desire to see the natural springs flowing again.”

 

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