Anger knows no bounds but neither does stupidity!
Ever since Kabir Khan made the infamous Phantom with Saif Ali Khan much has been written, said and rather fervidly dissected in the Pakistani media. For an Indian actor with a corroding career, passing the remarks against Pakistan made sense as the two countries are not at the best of terms and saying something so populist was expected to generate press for the movie. And generate press it did! Unfortunately, the way a large section of our media(us included) has responded to it is not only regretful but shows how easily manipulated we are.
Similarly, Kabir Khan, a director who makes movies to appeal to mass audience makes movies that can generate great hype, like Bajrangi Bhaijaan which in fact did pretty great business in Pakistan. Engaging with someone like him, or worse, attacking him and his character, is an activity unbecoming of a civilized people.
Our energies and attention are needed toward much more important challenges facing Pakistan than a mere actor who does not think so highly of us. Here are the things that are more worthy of our massively passionate social media(and real life too, perhaps) activism:
In less than 35 years Pakistan’s population is estimated to reach 342 million, according to a report published by Dawn News. This means there will be more pressure on the already scarce resources of electricity, adequate housing, clean water and education to make this population viable enough to contribute to the society and earn a living.
Every year, because our current resources and medical standards are already so inadequate, 800,000 children die at the time of birth but the healthcare budget to tackle this and similar challenges is a minuscule Rs. 20.8 billion of the total Rs. 4.45 trillion.
Just a little more than half of Pakistan’s almost 200 million strong population is literate, as per the Pakistan Economic Survey 2014-15. And this is when literacy is defined as loosely as the “[t]otal… percentage of the population age 15 and above who can, with understanding, read and write a short, simple statement on their everyday life“.
While the total literacy rate of Pakistan is merely 58%, the rates for female literacy, in particular, are much worse. It hovers at a rate as low as 43%, down 4 percent from a year ago.
According to a report released by the World Bank every year 80,000 patients are admitted due to problems related to outdoor air pollution in Pakistan. Children are the worst affected with a total of 8,000 cases of chronic bronchitis being admitted. Not helping this is the increase in the number of vehicles in Pakistan from 2 million, some two decades ago, to more than 10 million today. And this only outdoor air pollution, which is caused by smoke from fires, fumes from factory and vehicular emissions and increased use of aerosols, among other things.
Severe air pollution also causes climate change issues like heatwaves in summers, unexpected rainfall, thunderstorms and increased temperatures, overall, further causing floods. Sound familiar?
According to the Asian Development Bank, in a report published in 2013, Pakistan has been singled out as one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, with a water availability of 1,000 cubic meters per person per year, the same as Ethiopia. These numbers are also less than five times the availability of water per cubic meters per person in 1947.
“Under the present situation, in the next six to seven years, Pakistan can be a water-starved country,” our minister for water and energy Khawaja Asif said in a report published in The New York Times, this February.
Of the total population more than 180 million, only 0.57% of Pakistanis, or 768,000 individuals, payed income tax in 2012. This is further supplemented by rampant corruption in the public sector as recorded by the Corruption Perception Index 2014. Pakistan ranks 126 of 175 total countries on the list of ‘Least Corrupt Countries’.
Moreover, a survey of 256 individuals was conducted by Transparency International, Pakistan. A whopping 32% owned up to having paid bribes to public sector employees to write off or lower their taxes.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Pakistan’s peak power demand is likely to exceed the current installed capacity by nearly 10,000 megawatts. Total energy demand will nearly double in the next 10 years, and increase four fold in the next 60.
These power outages have cost the country a total loss of 2% to 2.5% of the GDP. The spending on education is also 2% of the GDP.
The South Asian Terrorism Portal has recorded a total of 147 bomb blasts in Pakistan in 2015, alone. A total number of 306 people were killed and more than 600 injured.
The Government reported a total of $68 billion direct and indirect economic cost to Pakistan between the period of 2000 and 2010, in combating against terrorism.
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