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Pakistan could do with more moderates

The brutal murder of Pakistan’s liberal thinker, Salman Taseer, is a serious blow to civil society and the minority communities in Pakistan (editorial, “Killing of a Pak moderate”, Jan 6). It also reflects cracks in the Pakistani polity and the growing hold of radicals.

Salman Taseer sacrificed his life fighting the draconian anti-blasphemy law. He stood for moderation and harmonious living. Pakistan today is at dangerous crossroads. Neither its government is so strong that it can rein in the extremists, nor is the army in a positive mode to steer the country towards peace and progress.

Such a situation can worsen and lead to the collapse of governance. No neighbour wants Pakistan to reach such a condition. The beleaguered nation must take stock of the declining situation and arrest the decay. Pakistan leaders must unite, pursue ideals of democracy, and take on the extremists by their horns. Let the assassination of Salman Tasser not be forgotten. Pakistan owes it to its people to ensure them a safe and progressive environment.

Col R D SINGH, Ambala Cantt


I agree with the views expressed in the editorial. The killing of Salman Taseer is a major setback to the voices of sanity and reason in Pakistan. He was a man of courage who could stand against the so-called blasphemy law and could boldly plead the cause of the Christian lady Asiya Bibi.  Men like Taseer are the only hope of bringing sanity and peace in Pakistan.

AMAR JIT SINGH GORAYA, Griffith NSW, Australia

Mayor’s position

The editorial, “Stop this farce: Empower UT mayor or scrap the position” (Jan 3) was apt and timely. It is surprising to know that the Mayor of Chandigarh has the shortest tenure of just a year when mayors of other cities have two-and a half-year to five years term. It’s even more surprising that he is “among the most powerless in the country”.

The system of electing Mayor each year and that also from different categories is ridiculous. The tenure of the UT Mayor should be at least for two years. This will enable the Mayor to work in an effective manner in matters of implementation of various schemes for the benefit/welfare of the residents of the City Beautiful.

Many projects remain unimplemented as the Mayor changes every year.

The editorial rightly says that either the UT Mayor should have more powers or the Mayor’s post should be scrapped altogether. The newly-elected UT Mayor Ravinder Singh ‘Pali’ is a man of words. I am sure he will take up all the concerns of the city residents and get them redressed in an effective manner. He should take up all pending schemes and get them going in the interest of the people of Chandigarh.

The traffic system, health and sanitation, removal of garbage from sectors and its\ effective disposal, the stray dog menace, new and adequate parking lots, implementation of the RTE Act in schools and maintenance of law and order in Chandigarh, etc should be his main concerns. He must also fight for making the post of a Mayor more powerful by freeing it from the clutches of bureaucracy.

R K KAPOOR, Chandigarh

Traffic woes

There is perpetual traffic jam in Panchkula due to Zirkpur-Kalka-Shimla highway. A passage for highway No. 22 from Zirakpur to Kalka-Simla has been created between old and new sectors of Panchkula that is between sectors 12A, 12 .4 and sector 20, 21 etc. In the first place a highway between the populated sectors is a wrong decision.

Recently this highway has been made operational and it has created problems for residents of Panchkula. To facilitate the commuters the highway at all the sector intersections should be opened. To avoid accidents on each intersection a traffic signal should be installed.


New Year SMS

The middle “A Text-y New Year” (Jan 5) by Raji P Shrivastava was interesting. It made me realise that I am not the only one getting a big chunk of formal SMSs.. This year, I had planned to wish only those who mean a lot in my life. But, as the writer said even your “dhobi” will send greetings and we have to greet everyone, willingly or unwillingly.

RITIKA SINGLA, via email

Admission criterion

One must compliment the Central government/UT administration on its recent directives related to admissions. It is heartening to note that issues such as fair and unbiased admissions, reducing the trauma of parents and children and making the process stress-free have been taken up on such a serious note.

While Strawberry Fields has always believed in making the admission process as informal as possible, bypassing gruelling interviews for parents (or children), we still do have reservations about the ‘draw of lots’ system being advocated currently.

Nursery schooling is the most sensitive and critical component of a child’s education. It is even more challenging, given the fact that children are really young and not always in a position to explain what they feel about. By eliminating the possibility of a parent-principal interaction prior to the admission, one is denying the parents the right to share information, some of which could be vital to the child’s term at school, overall emotional and physical health and future.

 There are children who face behavioural and other difficulties. An informal parent-school interaction allows both to understand each other better and to place upfront any issue of concern. Just as the school authorities may have a few questions to ask, surely parents may want some clarifications too. A platform to discuss these over 5-10 minutes is highly recommended. Nursery schooling paves the way for a lifetime of learning and knowledge building. It also helps a child acquire social skills and values.

Both the child’s home and school are places where there has to be a synergy in thought, action and deed. Therefore, the admission system has to go beyond the number-based clinical draw of lots where each child is reduced to an impersonal digit.

ATUL KHANNA, Director, Durga Das Foundation



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