Questions I ask myself...

Below is a selection of questions I have asked myself recently. Some deal with very serious subjects and others are more whimsical. All of us need to keep our minds open and question our assumptions. Remember there are no stupid questions!

  • Why doesn’t PIA use cotton blankets?

We are the 4th largest producer of cotton in the world yet PIA uses a synthetic material that not only smells terrible but also creates enough static electricity to power a small appliance!

  • Why don’t Pakistanis carry umbrellas during the monsoon season?

On a drive from Abbotabad to Haripur in August, in the midst of the monsoon season, during a torrential downpour I saw only one person carrying an umbrella. Umbrellas are cheap and readily available.

  • Why don’t we ride bicycles in winter?

In most parts of Pakistan we have six to seven months of wonderful weather. As a country we import very large amounts of expensive fuel, putting pressure on our balance of payments as well as on the government exchequer that ends up having to subsidise much of this consumption of fuel. Cycling is a very healthy activity, enjoyable (given safe roads and lanes for cyclists) and environmentally friendly. Why don’t we see more cyclists on our roads? (Friends have told me road safety is a major concern. I tend to agree and clearly we need to do more to make our roads safer- for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike.)

  • Why does Islamabad have some of the highest pollen counts in the world and what is CDA doing about it?

Each year hundreds, if not thousands of Islamabad’s citizens suffer from pollen allergies. Many end up being hospitalised. The culprit is usually the paper mulberry tree, and Islamabad has some of the highest pollen counts in the world. Yet each year we see a repeat of the same sad story. Why?

  • Why can I (fairly easily) use a Pakistani credit card to buy online from the US but not within the country? What are we doing to promote ecommerce and online payments?

As a member of the Senate Committee on Finance, I hope to be able to bring about a change by working closely with the State Bank of Pakistan.

  • Over the last three decades, we have spent obscene amounts of money repairing/ widening the same stretch of road (Kashmir Highway)? Why?

Do we have so much money to waste? Why can’t we do it right once, the first time? Where is planning and accountability? And remember this is the main road leading to our nation’s capital!

  • Why do we have “christian colonies”, shantytowns of squalor in the midst of some of the richest areas of Islamabad?

It is obscene that Pakistanis are living in sub human conditions next to multi-million dollar homes. What are we doing about this? Do the residents of these slums have formal or informal property rights? Can we not build decent accomodation for them at the same sites?

  • Why doesn’t Islamabad have a decent library that the public can easily access?

Perhaps reading has gone out of fashion!

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