Sunday, 8 December 2013

KP's "Real" Issues

THIS is in response to news item “KP’s real issues succumb to PTI’s populist approach” (Nov 25).
The report seemed to be a more of PTI opponents’ views than a factual analysis of the situation in KP. The reporter also seemed to have played it safe by quoting statements of ANP and JUI (F) leaders and a professor from the University of Peshawar, creating a particular spin.
Fulfilling electoral promise and implementing the APC resolution cannot just be termed populist. The issues faced by the people of KP as quoted in the story are not unique to the province. In fact, they are faced by all Pakistanis across the country. Price hike and unemployment are not governance issues but are a result of federal incompetence and the overall financial gloom in the country. Vague remarks on governance and phrases like ‘many think’, and then quotes by the JUI(F), ANP leaders and a professor are not convincing, and ironically discredits the argument.
Bullied by the ‘thana and patwari’ culture and deprived of health and education facilities, the common Pakistani is also faced with the unending increase in prices and security issues.
Perhaps a survey on the real issues in KP could help gauge the progress in the mentioned areas for the story. Snap checks in hospitals, the thana and patwari culture, mystery shopping, the RTI Law, visiting schools, testing the e-government facilities and getting feedback from residents could also help in gathering data, rather than just calling PTI critics and building a story based on their opinions.
The story links industrial shutdown in KP to the subsidies withdrawn in the 1990s, quoting the case of Gadoon Amazai Industrial Estate. Factually, in 2008, gas and electricity load shedding was one of the major issues faced by the project. The subsidies referred to are as follows:
Income tax holiday for eight years
Exemption from sales-tax for five years
Exemption from custom duty on imported machinery
Duty-free import of raw materials 50pc concession in electricity tariff
None of these incentives is a provincial subject, and the fact that one of the biggest industrial groups had also stopped functioning in the area tells us that there is more to the subject than just the withdrawal of incentives.
There can be a multitude of reasons for the shutdown in the past, but who in their right minds will reinvest in a province battered by terrorism?
The story conveniently avoided a holistic view of the situation, which failed to focus on the real issues.
Published in Daily Dawn (08/12/2013)

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