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Truth must come out

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From the cradle to the grave we are instructed by society to speak truth. Yet the practice carries more penalties than speaking an outright lie does.

Faheem Ahmad Profile Faheem Ahmad

A controversial skill, then, to be truthful. If ever we decide to stand by the truth, then we are asked to consider the doctrine of (particular) necessity, self-made social norms and even national security. The majority among us refuse to engage with such complications and instead take either to keeping silent or even lying. This social duplicity has kept us back as a people and as a country.

I have no qualms in saying that this social conditioning, this belief that one cannot disagree with obsolete traditions and norms, with your elders, with those who hold senior positions to you and with state policies is absolutely wrong. Had this been wrong then would our religious figures, our revolutionary leaders, our reformists have brought about the change that they did?

I do not say that in our disagreement we let go of our manners when talking to our elders or that we do not consider the state when giving an honest opinion. But I do insist that we realize that there is a difference between loyalty and slavery. Speaking the truth, listening to the truth and self-accountability does not harm us, belief in black and white narratives does. Suppressing facts leads to the promotion of distortion. In simple words, a point comes when it is becomes difficult to differentiate between a truth and a lie. From that point onwards, social chaos is always close by.

Restricting the truth also leads to an atmosphere of suppression, one that has the potential to turn into lava. There is nothing more painful than observing injustice but not being able to comment on it or write about it. The anger turns into resentment and eventually anger. When young people are asked to perform this impossible task, they turn their resentment towards the state. Lets hope such a point does not arise in the country or else our system will collapse and we will have to build, from scratch, a new one.

For those who are paying attention, the clues point towards our society marching towards this threshold. From our political class, to our religious leaders, to the analysts who appear on TV daily, almost all have abandoned the truth in favor of advantageous versions of facts. Where else can this road go, on which are being marched, but towards a society full of cruelty and barbarism?

There is a faction that believes this system will keep on moving ahead despite this glaring threat. History is not their forte or else they would know how misplaced their belief is. This system can be changed and will be changed, the road to that change has been determined since eternity. It is simply, holding high the banners of truth even when all else around you degenerates into misinformation. If we wish to change the luck of this country than we must follow this path, stopping for nothing till we have achieved our goal.

Yes, there are many obstacles ahead. But if we are being asked to put on blindfolds, our hands are being bound to stop them from putting truth on paper, and our tongues are being locked up, then we have been left with no choice. Freedom does not come without sacrifice.

 

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Business

FBR working on extension of EFS to whole textile value chain: chief collector

Punjab’s Chief Collector Customs (Appraisement) Muhammad Sadiq has assured APTMA of removing all irritants in the EFS and other customs procedures, formalities to facilitate exporters by helping them in focusing on how to boost exports.

Published by Hussnain Bhutta

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Lahore: Punjab’s Chief Collector Customs (Appraisement) Muhammad Sadiq has said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is working on extension of Export Facilitation Scheme (EFS) to the whole textile value chain.

Talking to members of APTMA [All Pakistan Textile Mills Association] during an interactive session on exports and other Customs related issues here on Wednesday, he said that a committee of stakeholders had already been constituted in this regard. Ms. Azmat Tahira, Collector Customs (Appraisement-East) Lahore, Ms. Nazia Saleem, Additional Collector Customs, and Ms. Irum Sohail, Additional Collector Customs also accompanied the Chief Collector, while APTMA (North) Chairman Kamran Arshad, senior members Anjum Zafar, Faisal Pervez and APTMA Secretary General Raza Baqir were also present.

The Chief Collector Customs assured APTMA of removing all irritants in the EFS and other customs procedures, formalities to facilitate exporters by helping them in focusing on how to boost exports.

Talking high of the importance of exports in general and textile industry in particular, he said no stone would be left  unturned in facilitating textile industry for promotion of exports.

He assured of resolving all systems related issues with removal of irritants in the scheme. According to him, most of the demands raised by the APTMA are genuine, which need to be addressed to facilitate exports of the country.

“There is a need to moderate Valuation Rulings,” he said and assured of looking into it on priority. In his welcome address, Kamran Arshad pointed out that unconsumed raw materials imported under the previous schemes are still not reflected in the EFS system, which are  needed to be loaded immediately. He added that audits are pending for a long period, delaying release of PDCs/Guarantees as well as costing financially to exporters and getting new quotas.

According to him, a large number of CRF have since long been pending, which is hindering smooth functioning of the EFS. He said that deduction of taxes and duties is still being reflected at statutory rate instead of effective rates despites specific rulings by FBR, which needs to be corrected. He proposed that both IORs and Analysis certificates should be issued automatically by the Collectorates on the basis of ratios determined in Textile Notes.

He pointed out that the consignments of indirect exporters being cleared manually in the past should be uploaded in the system to avoid any audit / reconciliation issues. Despite fully automated EFS procedures, he said, a parallel duplicate manual system is being run causing delays and adding to costs. Manual submission of documents should be stopped immediately, he stressed.

The chairman said that valuation rulings are being unlawfully applied on EFS and exports, which are creating delays and required to be done away with.He said the EFS facility is granted for 3 to 5 years, while the PSW ID expires every two years.

It is a need of the hour  to align the expiration of the PSW ID with the corresponding period of EFS. He said, the WEBOC module does not entail any option of sale/purchase return of local invoices, which should be corrected.

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Regional

Irrational use aggravating water crisis: DG Aab-e-Pak

Syed Zahid Aziz says they have to take practical steps to prevent wastage of water so that this beautiful gift of nature can be preserved for future generations.

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Faisalabad: Managing Director Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority and Punjab Municipal Development Fund Company Syed Zahid Aziz has said that although Pakistan is blessed with plenty of water reservoirs, yet vast population and irrational use of water are aggravating its crisis that will play havoc with the lives of the people.

He was speaking as a special guest at a seminar on “Situation of Clean Water in Punjab” under the auspices of the Rotaract Club of the Senior Tutor Office of University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) here on Wednesday.

He said that they have to take practical steps to prevent wastage of water so that this beautiful gift of nature can be preserved for future generations. He said that Pakistan is one of the fifth most populous countries in the world, while only 32 countries around the world have a worse per capita water situation than Pakistan.

He called for creating awareness about population control, efficient irrigation systems with value crops, distribution network improvement at the public level.

He said that various projects are being run with the support of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to ensure clean drinking water in Faisalabad and 34 new dams have been constructed in Potohar.

Additional Deputy Commissioner General Dr Shahab Aslam said that water wastage is a common practice in our society, but if awareness is provided among people about saving water, it will help deal with the water crisis.

Senior Tutor Dr. Shaukat Ali said there was a need to create awareness about water, and foster a participatory approach towards the rational use and clean water in the society.

He said that Islam encourages us to save water and the golden principles of Islam should be followed to make life beautiful.

Dr. Fahd Rasul Associate Professor of Agronomy Department University of Agriculture Faisalabad said that at the time of independence, 5,000 cubic meters of per capita water was available in Pakistan, which has now been reduced to only 900 cubic meters.

He said that thousands of people across the country suffer from various diseases due to water contamination.

JICA’s Mr. Dairaku and Mr. Murakami also spoke.

 

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Technology

Cox Communications won’t have to pay $1 billion to record labels after all

But it will have to eventually pay something.

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In the seemingly endless fight between record labels and ISPs over music piracy, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia decided Tuesday that $1 billion is too much for Cox Communications to pay record labels in damages. Instead, as reported by Reuters, a new trial should be set in a federal district court to figure out what would be an appropriate amount.

This new ruling overturns a 2019 US district court jury’s decision siding with the record labels involved in the lawsuit, which includes Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and EMI. The companies accused Cox of not addressing over 10,000 copyright infringement notices and failing to take action against music pirates, such as cutting off their broadband access. But the circuit court reversed the damages, noting that Cox “did not profit from its subscribers’ acts of infringement,” a legal prerequisite for part of the liability.

This is not the first time Cox Communications has tried to appeal that $1 billion judgement, but it is the first time it has been successful. Cox previously asked a federal court in Virginia to lower the damages or give it a new trial. When that court said no, the ISP filed a motion with a district court in Colorado claiming Sony fabricated evidence to obtain a favorable verdict.

The evidence in question was used in another music copyright infringement case against another ISP, Charter, and Cox sought to prove that evidence was created years after the music companies claimed it was illegally downloaded over Cox’s network. However, this allegation was not mentioned in the circuit court’s opinion Tuesday.

Neither music companies nor ISPs have been able to do much to stop repeat pirates; both parties mutually decided to end their Copyright Alert System partnership (known as the “six strikes” rule) in 2017 after it failed to significantly reduce illegal music and video downloads. The system was successful at getting internet users who infrequently pirated copyright material, but it didn’t do anything against the ones who consistently pirated material.

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