Published Date: Sep 14, 2013
Proper waste management
Pardon the pardon
Sir: According to Gulf News, even though a Saudi woman pardoned her husband for beating her on the shoulder and wanted to drop charges, the prosecutor went ahead with the case and the judge sentenced the husband to 20 lashes. Pakistani courts can therefore
annul the deal in the recent Shahzeb murder case, where a substantial amount of money is reported to have been paid to the victim’s family for
withdrawing the case against the convict. If it can be done in Saudi Arabia then why not in Pakistan?
Proper waste management
This is in response to the letter ‘Exposure to mercury’ written by Mehreen Bano (Daily Times, September 8, 2013). I would like to draw your
attention towards the need for practicing proper waste management and protocols for the disposal of mercury and amalgam in the field of operative dentistry. People prefer mercury amalgam filling more as compared to other restorative materials due to its cost effectiveness and durability. However, a research study carried out in the twin cities
of Pakistan showed that 90.4 percent of dentists consider amalgam as a health risk and 46.4 percent perceived it as an environmental pollutant.
However, still, in dental colleges and hospitals, lack of amalgam waste
management at dental sites, the unregulated disposal of mercury in municipal and domestic waste, extracted teeth that are incinerated and heat sterilisation of amalgam filling all gave birth to mercury pollution.
The common protocol of amalgam is adopting the mechanised capsule system but still some dentists manually prepare amalgam by the mixing of mercury and alloy in mortar and pestle. The remaining mercury is either discarded into trash or sinks. The amalgam separator should be installed at dental sites. It is important that the government encourage the best waste management practices for amalgam waste in order to phase out mercury. At the local level, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council should train professionals to adopt proper waste management of amalgam. People should be encouraged to utilise zero
mercury products. At the national level, proper legislation and protocols are needed in order to phase out mercury. At the global level,
much support is needed for the Minamata Convention, a platform provided
by the United Nations Environmental Programme for reducing the use of mercury.
Result of the ‘talks’
The basic purpose of the recent All Parties Conference (APC) called by the present government seems successful as the Taliban have also welcomed the talks offer. In response to the government’s offer, the Taliban have asked for an end to all operations proceeding in the northwest and an end to drone strikes by the US. At the same time, the Taliban have asked for compensation for those who were killed in the operation and release of their prisoners as a precondition for the talks. At this point, as a state, we have to come out of this surge in violence, which has posed a major threat to our very existence as a sovereign state. Similarly, the government and military leaderships are on the same page, which is a positive sign. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is different in organisation to the Afghan Taliban as it lacks a central command and is a coalition of various militant groups, who are challenging the writ of the state. The TTP emerged as an organisation that included people from every walk of life who united for
a common objective and established the TTP as a platform for the attainment of those objectives.
However, if one thinks rationally, there are a few questions that need to be answered. Let us assume that the state has accepted every demand made by the Taliban for peace and stability and, at the same time, has forgotten all previous experience of talks with the Taliban, then what comes next? Can we allow
a group to act as a state within a state and challenge its writ whenever it feels like venting violence within that state? What will be their status after the acceptance of each and every one of their demands? Will they go back to their previous status as commoners? Nobody
has really given a thought to what will be the outcome of these talks.
It is encouraging to know that the interior minister has annulled the dubious recruitment process in the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), an act that has been widely welcomed by the general public. Political appointments were made for key positions in government departments, especially in the sensitive security agencies, during the previous government. Reinstatements were especially made in the intelligence bureau, making it vulnerable to becoming biased and based on nepotism and favouritism. To the extent of scoring political mileage,
the act of reinstating hundreds of officials after a gap of 10 to 15 years can be justifiable but the fact that the previous regime would buy
the professional services of those individuals at the cost of government secrets, resources and intelligence gadgets under their use is certainly tantamount to compromising the security of the country.
they were not initially appointed for politics’ sake but their reinstatement has won the previous government their political affiliation rather than their allegiance and loyalty to the state. Rehman Malik is one such example. The Intelligence Bureau, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and other sensitive departments should be immediately purged of political moles forthwith if the government is sincere in its resolve to purge the country of terrorism. The Zardari-led government had, reportedly, tried to infiltrate its ‘members’ into the most sensitive institutions but the bid was resisted by ‘concerned’ quarters. However, constitutionally, no individual is empowered to commit such an insubordination under any circumstances. The
prime minister and his team need to take a look back and annul all such
appointments so as to start things anew.