President’s address to parliament
President Dr Arif Alvi struck all the right chords as he addressed a joint sitting of parliament on Thursday at the beginning of the second parliamentary year of the National Assembly under the PTI government. The address covered the government’s performance on the economy, governance, social development, accountability and foreign policy, besides discussing the role of judiciary and the media.
The Presidential address had a special focus on India’s illegal and illegitimate action regarding Kashmir and Pakistan’s efforts to bring it under international limelight. The President raised serious concerns about the plight of the people of occupied Kashmir, who have been braving a complete lockdown for more than 40 days now, and assured the Kashmiri brethren in words that must have a resounding impact the world over: “We were, we are and will always be with the Kashmiris.”
President Alvi drew the world attention towards New Delhi’s unlawful action that is not just violative of its own constitution but the 1972 Simla Agreement between Pakistan and India as well. He also exposed the “fascist Bharatiya Janata Party” whose fundamentalist Hindutva ideology has “threatened peace in the region”, by the revocation of Kashmir’s special status, and subsequent inhumane treatment of the Kashmiris.
The President also praised the PTI government’s vigorous diplomatic offensive whereby Kashmir is being discussed at all international forums. He described it as government’s “huge accomplishment” that the UNSC held a session on the Kashmir issue after more than 50 years, despite India trying its best to prevent that from happening. He also praised China and Turkey for supporting Pakistan’s position on Kashmir and described Prime Minister Imran Khan’s US visit as a success.
The President did not lose his focus despite a roar of protest in the House. “Continue to make noise but also pay attention to [what I am saying],” he said at one point to the protesting members of the opposition, demonstrating the calm he kept all through his address.
Cannabis and Karachi
It is a sign of the increasing angst of living in a big city like Karachi — a city that occupies the fifth place in a list of 10 top unliveable cities in the world. Karachi is the second biggest consumer of cannabis in the world, it has emerged. The sale and consumption of the intoxication-causing weed is illegal in Pakistan, though. According to the ABCD 2018 Cannabis Price Index, Karachi comes second after New York (77.44 metric tonnes) in terms of consuming cannabis, including hashish, at 41.95 metric tonnes. New Delhi takes a close third place at 38.26 metric tonnes. Cannabis is popular in Amsterdam but the city does not even make it in the top 10.
Cannabis has been in use for medicinal and recreational purposes since ancient times in South Asia and other parts of the world. If taken in a moderate quantity, it is good for those suffering from insomnia as it induces sleep. If consumed immoderately, it causes serious dehydration. Like all other intoxicants, the weed’s consumption leads people to behave in strange and unreasonable ways. This is why it is illegal in Pakistan. However, in view of the weed’s use for medicinal purposes, there are government-licensed shops selling it.
Since the 1970s, the consumption of cannabis in Pakistan, especially by the youth, has been on the rise under the influence of Western pop culture. The demand for cannabis has increased because it’s low priced, so even the low-income groups can afford it. Other important cause of the increased consumption of the weed is obviously the growing economic difficulties facing the common people. When one naan (roti) is selling for Rs12 and prices of all basic necessaries are going through the roof and economic opportunities are shrinking, the hard-pressed common people find an easy refuge in cheap intoxicants. The state has a right to turn a blind eye to drug addictions. Admiral Nelson used to say, “Sometimes I have a right to turn a blind eye.” He was blinded in one eye during a battl.
Honour for Sana Mir