Experience being old, before being old


Old_Age_vs_Illness_1

You wonder how life would be like when you’re old. Observe when you’re ill, eg fever, how do you feel:

  • You feel weak, loss of strength to take any initiative
  • You get a break from worldly affairs, and finally get time for yourself, but you lack energy to do things to pass time now.
  • You try to sleep, sleep and sleep, to overcome this condition or to pass time, but that too leaves you on your own
  • You don’t want a delicious food, as it all tastes the same and you eat just because it’s time to eat
  • You take medicines to make your body do normal things, which used to work just fine that you never cared about and now you need it to – normalize body temperature, normalize breathing pattern and normalize digestion process.
  • You get upset for no reason, you try to be angry, but you lack energy.
  • You cherish your loved ones more and well wishers
  • You tend to spend more time with your loved ones
  • You lose interest in worldly affairs and the hustle-bustle and you want calm and serenity.
  • You have to take help from others, which otherwise you do yourself
  • You do not have energy to control everything happening around you and agree to go with everything (that you previously disliked)
  • You realise how powerless you are that you can’t even control your body temperature, if that just increases 3-4 degrees
  • You think about life as a whole, what you did and what you should have done or shouldn’t have
  • and finally you wait getting out of this condition…

Now, you can read these points again, thinking as if you are old (and not ill) and you will realize that, it’s what you’ll feel when you get old, except the last point, where you would not want to get out of this condition, since the next stage is death, which again is also a big reality every human would taste, yet we tend to forget, while being strong, healthy and powerful.  Think!

Image sources:

http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/lisafx/lisafx1008/lisafx100800069/7701121-senior-man-home-sick-in-bed-with-an-ice-pack-on-his-head–could-be-hangover-or-illness.jpg

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-r6ZjIFmC8oE/T4a5l6xm0hI/AAAAAAAAAJ8/UfqjoHBECP4/s1600/stock-photo-sick-man-with-fever-laying-in-bed-having-temperature-taken-with-thermometer-18489832.jpg

http://cdn.vogue.com.au/media/articles/1/9/4/0/19481-1_n.jpg?145914

http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/ginasanders/ginasanders1201/ginasanders120100352/12080062-a-nurse-in-elderly-care-for-the-elderly-in-nursing-homes.jpg

http://techiebros.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/tips-for-healthy-lifestyle-to-keep-old-age-away-longer1.jpg

Wondering why so much hype about Turkish protest ?


After noticing protest in Turkey all over the news, I began to wonder what’s the actual story behind it. That’s unfortunately how I always feel, thanks to the reputation of MSM, which presents mostly what’s not true.

First, like most of the global readers and observers, I started to develop sympathy for the people of Turkey, who were protesting for saving an old park in Gezi. That was based on what I read and saw stories of suppression at a large scale. I felt sorry for them and became apprehensive of the government of Erdogan and specially the way he was handling the growing resentment of the protesters and their plight against state oppression. But as the people grew in number and the protest prolonged and became a mainstream news everywhere, I began to wonder, is that the only reason?

  • How come so many people from around the country protest to save a park ?
  • Why would people protest in large numbers, against the ban of ads and sale of alcohol during 10pm to 6am, in a 99% muslim country ? Note, alcohol is forbidden in Islam.
  • How come environmentalist are willing to sacrifice their life to protect a heritage park?

So, I wondered there’s lot more than meets the eye through MSM. Then, someone shared an article from Turkish’s local newspaper, which says Erdogan is doing aways with the IMF loans once and for all, and for the first time in Turkey’s history. Then, started to researched more on the net to find what could be the real reason for this new and I came accross many articles and specifically following facts.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Tenure For the Turks:

This is what I compiled from Wikipedia. Read them through and try to connect the dots, to find what’s going on.

  • Since 1961, Turkey has signed 19 IMF loan accords. Erdoğan‘s government satisfied the budgetary and market requirements of the two on his watch and received every loan installment, the only time any government has ever done so.[59] Erdoğan inherited a debt of $23.5 billion to the IMF, which has been reduced to $0.9 billion in 2012. He decided not to sign a new deal. Turkey’s debt to the IMF will be completely paid off in 2013.[60]
  • As a teenager, he sold lemonade and sesame buns (simit) on the streets of Istanbul’s rougher districts to earn extra money.[10]
  • In 2002, the Turkish Central Bank had $26.5 billion in reserves. This amount reached $92.2 billion in 2011. In the same period, inflation fell from 34.9% to 5.7%, the lowest in 39 years.[63]
  • In December 2008 he criticised the I Apologize campaign by Turkish intellectuals to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, saying that “I neither accept nor support this campaign. We did not commit a crime, therefore we do not need to apologize… It will not have any benefit other than stirring up trouble, disturbing our peace and undoing the steps which have been taken.”[29]
  • Erdoğan passed a partial amnesty to reduce penalties faced by many members of the Kurdish guerrilla movement PKK who had surrendered to the government.[27]
  • The water shortage problem was solved with the laying of hundreds of kilometers of new pipelines. The garbage problem was solved with the establishment of state-of-the-art recycling facilities. While Erdoğan was in office, air pollution was reduced through a plan developed to switch to natural gas. He changed the public buses with environmentally friendly buses. The city’s traffic and transportation jams were ameliorated with more than fifty bridges, viaducts, and highways. Erdoğan prohibited the sale of alcohol in city-owned facilities, but later this measure was reversed. While taking precautions to prevent corruption, he took measures to ensure that municipal funds were used prudently. He paid back a major portion of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality‘s two billion dollar debt when he took office and meanwhile invested four billion dollars in the city.[18]
  • Erdoğan passed a partial amnesty to reduce penalties faced by many members of the Kurdish guerrilla movement PKK who had surrendered to the government.[27]
  • Erdoğan tried to attract more foreign investors to Turkey and lifted most of government regulations, with the average GDP growth rate 7.3% during his premiership as he presided over a record 26 quarters of economic growth.[58]
  • Early in his prime ministership, Erdoğan increased the budget of the Ministry of Education from 7.5 billion lira in 2002 to 34 billion lira in 2011, making it the ministry with highest share of the national budget.[66]  Before his prime ministership, the military received the highest share of the national budget.
  • In 2004, textbooks became free of charge and since 2008 every province in Turkey has its own university.[70] During Erdoğan’s prime ministership, the number of universities in Turkey nearly doubled, from 98 in 2002 to 186 as of October 2012.[71]

After looking at these facts, I fail to understand why would the majority protest against him and his government ? Though, it makes a lot of sense, that global powers who try to control every government and try to amass world’s money, would not like Turkey getting self sufficient and Erdogan getting stronger by day, and getting himself re-elected for the third time and planning to establish an islamic system of governance – Khilafah (repeating history, by establishing history’s largest reign of empire). It’s also said that Erdogan has started to take strong actions against military, and foiled several coup attempts against him. And we also remember, when he walked out of the debate during World Economic Forum and the support of palestinians through sending Flotilla ship.

I was able to map similar story, that happened in Pakistan, when Pervez Musharraf was almost about to relieve Pakistan of IMF loans, he was entangled into non-issues, and eventually had to resign and the country never recovered from the position, where he propelled the country to an unimaginable growth.

I also double-checked with Turkish locals on my friend’s list and they also confirmed that the protest does not represent majority and part of it is fueled by the terrorist outfits (like PKK) and majority of people support Erdogan’s policies, who are not showing up in the streets. If I take all other factors aside, which obviously I don’t know, the best solution for Erdogan would be to call up a referendum and get a vote of confidence for himself. 

So, this is what was able to research so far and wanted to share with you all. With the passage of time, it will be evident, what exactly is truth.

Sources:

http://english.sabah.com.tr/economy/2013/05/06/how-did-erdogan-free-turkey-from-the-imf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recep_Tayyip_Erdo%C4%9Fan

Pricing in today’s market – Seller is the King


While reading today’s newspaper, I noticed two ads, which resulted in an inspiration for this blog.

I saw following ad of Samsung Galaxy S4, considered top of the line smartphone, at a price of Rs. 72,000.

DSC_1587

Then I noticed following, the offer of new Sony LCD 46′ TV, which is considered top of the line TV, for Rs. 59,899. 

 DSC_1586

Now, compare the price of a 46 inches TV for 60,000 versus a 4 inches Smartphone for 72,000. I am not sure about the exact cost of manufacturing each of these items, but from it’s size, it certainly tells,  that cost is the not the driving factor for selling price, but it’s largely dependant on demand & supply relation. In fact it is that invisible ‘value’ (what we call as brand image), that becomes the driving force. It is not as bad, at this stage.

But, if you take into account the underlying facts, that in today’s largely oligopoly market, only few large players govern the market, while the consumers have a weak say, or you can say, we have a disruption of free-market economy today. Smartphones market today is in fact a duopoly market, controlled by Apple and Samsung, with 98% market share of smart and feature phones. They are able to survive, as they leverage their broad penetration in the horizontal smartphones supply chain, which allows them greater profitability against their competitors, who are only assembling. It becomes fairly hard, if not impossible, for other players to compete with equal opportunity, in such a situation.

Although, Islam promotes free-market economy and does not allow price control, so that both seller’s and buyers interest is protected, and there’s no injustice. But to ensure that skilled market operators do not take any advantage of an unsuspecting customer’s ignorance and naivety, for example, in situations like that of duopoly, where consumer interest is hurt, price control becomes important.  But such price control again is allowed, when we are talking about commodities which are necessities, and I am sure, smartphones are far from it.

So, we have to live with TV for Rs. 60, 000 and Smartphone for Rs.70,000, while we know that chipsets and display screens are the most expensive items.

Seller is always right ! 🙂

Sources:

http://i-epistemology.net/attachments/404_V11N1%20Spring%2094%20-%20kamali1%20-%20Tasir%20-%20Price%20Control%20-%20in%20Islamic%20Law.pdf

http://www.asymco.com/2012/12/03/samsung-electronics-product-line-revenues-and-operating-income-in-context/

Pakistan Govt. Budget proposed for 2013-14


There are some popular and unpopular aspects of this budget. Though it is mostly said to burden the middle-class through increase in income tax and indirect taxes like GST, WHT etc. but there are still other measures which would help the general populace. Let’s hope the good measures are implemented and the Opposition helps to maneuver the government against unpopular measures and compel to undertake more important measures that is required to overcome our economic challenges.

Here are some key highlights of the budget:

Good aspects: 

• PSDP Rs1,155bn; up by 35.7pc
• 3G licences to be auctioned in July
• Outstanding amount of $800 million from Etisalat for sale of PTCL to be recovered
• Circular debt to be addressed in 60 days
• Japan to extend support in revival of Circular Railway in Karachi
• Rs57bn for investment on human capital; including higher education and immunisation
• 1,000 colonies for low income groups; each with 500 houses
• Pensions to be increased by 10pc. No raise in salaries.
• Minimum pension raised from Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000
• Expenditure of PM Office reduced from Rs726m to Rs396m
• Austerity drive to save Rs40bn.

Unpopular measures:

• Increase in indirect taxes as opposed to direct tax, which means more burden on middle-class as opposed to rich.
• GST increased from 16pc to 17pc
• Corporate tax to be reduced in 5 years from 35pc to 30pc
• Pakistan Railways to be converted into a corporation
• Tax slab on salaries up from 25pc on Rs2.5m to 35pc on Rs6.5m

Required More Importantly: 

• Bring rich people and large corporations under tax net
• Do away with IMF and other foreign loans gradually, to reduce the burden of interest payment on debts, which is currently whopping 30% of the budget.
• Tax agriculture sector, which accounts for 23% of GDP, largely untaxed.
• Drastically increase spending on education and health sector.

Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad of Daily Pakistan Today has presented some startling figures collected by NADRA last year, which show only the tip of the iceberg. According to these figures: 

  • There are 1.611 million people who frequently embark on international tours but do not pay a single penny as income tax.
  • About 584,730 Pakistanis have multiple accounts in domestic and multinational banks, but do not possess NTNs.
  • Over 56,000 people live in posh areas and more than 20,000 people own luxury cars, still pay no income tax.
  • There are 66,736 individual consumers who pay large utility bills, but no income tax.
  •  More than 13,000 people have licenses of both prohibited and non-prohibited weapons, but they do not possess an NTN.
  • There are 25,130 people who are engaged in lucrative professions like medicine, engineering, law and chartered accountancy, but they do not pay a single penny as income tax.
  • Nearly three million people possess a National Tax Number (NTN), but only 1.4 million of them filed income tax returns last year.

I have written another post on Pakistan Budget and the distribution of expenses, specialy the effect of foreign loans (eg from the notorious IMF). You can read here.

Sources & Further Reading:

http://beta.dawn.com/news/1017795/budget-2013-14-visualised

http://urdumail.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/welcome-to-pakistan-a-paradise-for-tax-dodgers/

Women exploitation in a Islamic republic


Why is the majority of women from rural side of Pakistan  (a major portion), migrate to the urban cities to earn their living and to sustain their family and their male counterparts (husbands), who mostly sit idle at home ? The concept of ‘maasi’ (literal meaning – maternal aunt, but actually referred to as domestic servant), is pretty common in all cities of Pakistan, where women are exploited as cheap labor (in the informal domestic labor industry), ignoring ethical, civil and islamic rights of women and working-women. Many of such girls are minor as well, who should not be doing such physical labor in the first place and is unlawful, by civil or islamic standards.

Rural to urban migration is an established phenomenon, and growing number of women are joining in the flow of labour to the cities. Although, it is a major issue around the world, but more so in developing countries, where women lack awareness about their rights and there’s acute poverty in the country. According to the HDI, 60.3% of Pakistan’s population lives on under $2 a day, which is like 100 million people. There are so many such evils cropping up in the society, because of poverty and division between haves and have-nots. Karachi had the most migrant women workers (40%) among those surveyed. (Siddiqui et al 2006a: 47). According to the available data, there are 20 million home-based workers in the country of which 12 million are women. There are no laws for home-based workers in Pakistan.

When Islam obligates men to be the breadwinner and women to take care of family and house affairs, staying indoors, and each doing work according to their respective natural capacities, it’s simply lack of education, which cause the society to act exactly opposite, to both nature and Islam.

Even if women earns, they’re not obliged to spend a single penny on the family, if she chooses not to, other than on herself.  Islam upholds several times higher respect to women, in comparison to man.

Which religion are these people following ? Is that the religion of ignorance !

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was once asked who amongst all the people was the most worthy of his respect and compassion . He replied “your mother”; the man wanted to know who should be next, he said “your mother”. The man enquired, who next?, he replied for the third time “your mother”, again the man asked who next? He replied “your father”.

Dr. Zakir Naik says on the topic “Women in Islam“: iii. If a woman earns any income from investments or works or engages in business during her marital life, the income is entirely hers and she is not entitled to spend a single penny on the household. She can spend it in any legitimate manner as she may desire.”

Poverty and lack of awareness (education) are the main causes that compel women to go out of their homes and look for jobs like domestic servants (house maids). Though, they’re being exploited back in the rural areas as well, where many work under the feudal lords, in return for no money, but just a land to live in. Of course there are various other factors for women migrating to cities and stories how they’re eventually treated in the cities, but I’ll keep this post to one point, that is their exploitation, as house maids (‘maasis’) in the cities.

Sources & Further Readings:

http://www.islamawareness.net/Women/naik_women.html

http://www.researchcollective.org/Documents/Women_Paid_Work.pdf

http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=articles&id=168457

http://www.kantakji.com/fiqh/files/mawareeth/4015.pdf

http://www.paycheck.pk/main/labour-laws/maternity-work/home-based-workers-in-pakistan

Pakistan’s Economic Expenditure Prudence – Budget 2012-13


Budget at a glance

Budget distribution at a glance

As they say, picture is worth a thousand words, so I made the picture first and it’s more or less self-explanatory.

Here is my key observation, when I first tried to understand the budget:

  1. Around Rs. 1 trillion (‘kharab’) is spent on debt servicing (interest payment alone) in 1 year.
  2. I thought, our major portion of revenue goes to Defence sector ?

Additionally, when we spend our fortune in debt servicing (read interest payment), naturally how are we going to have funds to invest in education, lack of which, is the MOTHER OF ALL ISSUES WE FACE TODAY. Secondly, looking at the fact that majority of our population does not have access to the basic health services, eg we have estimated 140,000 doctors and 120,000 beds in healthcare facilities, in the country, that makes the ratio of hospital bed to population as 6:10,000 and doctor to people 1:1000 roughly. Now, compare how much we are spending on health sector to improve the situation, a measly Rs 8 billion for a population of 180 million.

budgetatgalance

And lastly, we should be shrewd, not to rely on foreign aid and donor agencies, like Paris Club, IMF, or enter into multilateral agreements for foreign countries, which we can easily see, is quite far from an aid and in fact a major cause of all resulting burden to the economy, in the form of – inflation, poverty, lack of development funds for education, social uplift, unemployment, and eventually developing a sense of hopelessness in the society. It’s estimated that we have to pay ~$5billion, in the form of debt servicing, to IMF alone, ie a burden of Rs. 500 billion to the exchequer. With Pakistan’s debt hovering at an alarming rate of 68% of GDP, and external debt at $62 billion (Rs. 6.2 trillion), how are we going to survive, is a daunting question for the new incumbent government. If I start to research about each of these foreign loan agreements and their terms, I am sure, I would have startling facts there as well, like how much we are taking as loan and how much we end up paying over decades, while remaining slaves, accepting dictates from those foreign governments.

We were told 1400 years ago, that we could not benefit from either giving or using interest (usury), but we tend to neglect history. We were clearly explained that interest creates economic disparity and divides the society into haves and have-nots eventually. And now we see individuals in the world like Warren Buffet, with $60 billions, can possibly buy many countries many times over.

Wealth distribution in Pakistan is no different, with the top 10% of the population earning 27.6% and the bottom 10% earning only 4.1% of the income[10]  According to the HDI, 60.3% of Pakistan’s population lives on under $2 a day, which is like 100 million people.

How long are we going to call a war against God and His Messenger (‘nauzobillah’), while trying to justify the use of interest (‘riba’ or usury). It’s evident, that we going nowhere, but harming ourselves.

We don’t need a genius to sort our issues out, anyone with a genuine ‘will’ to serve the nation, can correct our direction and bring prosperity back to the nation.

Think!

I have written another analysis on Pakistan Budget 2013, listing it’s pros and cons and what is most important. You can read here.

 

Sources and Further Reading:

http://www.sbp.org.pk/ecodata/pakdebtsvr.pdf

http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=130030

http://www.finance.gov.pk/publications/DPS_12.pdf