Sunday, June 9, 2019

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Bernie Sanders’s Walmart Speech May Offer a Preview of Larger Labor Proposals

By Osita Nwanevu

OWednesday, Bernie Sanders spoke at Walmart’s annual shareholders’ meeting in support of a resolution that would require the company to consider its hourly associates for seats on its board of directors. “The concerns of workers, not just stockholders, should be part of board decisions,” he said. “Today, with the passage of this resolution, Walmart can strike a blow against corporate greed and a grotesque level of income and wealth inequality that exists in our country.”

On policy, Sanders is perhaps best known for his support for two progressive proposals: Medicare for All and a fifteen-dollar minimum wage. But his appearance at Walmart’s shareholders’ meeting came on the heels of a report, by the Washington Post, that Sanders is expected to release a pair of proposals that take a new approach to reducing the wealth gap. One is a plan to require large companies, like Walmart, to grant workers a substantial number of seats on their corporate boards. The other would require companies to turn over portions of their stock to a worker-controlled fund, granting employees both stock dividends and, potentially, the votes in corporate affairs afforded to shareholders.
Sanders would be the second Democratic Presidential contender to offer a corporate-co-governance proposal. Last summer, Elizabeth Warren introduced the Accountable Capitalism Act in Congress, which would require companies taking in at least a billion dollars in annual revenue to grant worker representatives forty per cent of their board seats. Sanders’s worker-controlled fund would be a novelty in recent American politics, though it could be similar to a proposal recently offered by the Labour Party in the U.K., which would grant workers ten per cent of the stock in major firms. The case the Sanders campaign will make for these proposals is largely intuitive—if workers are granted more of a say in corporate decision-making, companies will make decisions that are better for workers. “Workers are not going to vote to send their own jobs to China,” Warren Gunnels, a Sanders policy adviser, said. “If a company in a big city can make a big profit by polluting the environment in which workers live, if the workers had a seat at the table, they would more than likely prevent that company from polluting their own environment.”
Democratic Presidential candidates have offered a flurry of policy proposals to lift the fortunes of middle- and working-class Americans, from Kamala Harris’s lift Act, which would grant thousands of dollars in supplemental income to working Americans, to Elizabeth Warren’s universal-childcare plan. But one of the major drivers of inequality is stratified access to stock and other capital. The top ten per cent of Americans own about eighty-four per cent of the stock in the economy and seventy per cent of national wealth over all. Beyond a handful of proposals, such as Cory Booker’s baby-bond plan for American children and Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax, few ideas from the 2020 field address that gap directly. Although details are still light on Sanders’s stock-ownership scheme, it would presumably create a significant expansion in stock ownership among the middle and working classes.
There are thousands of worker-owned and -managed firms in the American economy already, including both standard coöperatives and other models. Nearly seven thousand companies have employee stock-ownership plans, or esops, retirement packages that grant employees ownership stakes in their companies, which have been broadly supported by both parties for decades. The esop model “generally, on average, improves firm performance,” Douglas Kruse, a professor at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, who was a senior economist for President Barack Obama’s White House Council of Economic Advisers, told me. “And there do seem to be several studies showing that it improves job stability—that the layoffs over the past two recessions were about thirty per cent smaller among employee-ownership companies. There’s not been enough research on the effects on worker income. But the data we have pretty clearly points to worker ownership, employee ownership, coming on top of standard market-level pay.”
Yet, while esops have enjoyed bipartisan support for many years, policies to expand worker ownership have not figured largely in the economic platforms of either party. “I think the reason is that both parties have been committed to the lie that they could dramatically increase real wages to reduce economic inequality,” Joseph Blasi, an economic sociologist at Rutgers and a frequent collaborator of Kruse’s, told me. “And it didn’t work under the eight years of President Obama, it didn’t work under the eight years of President Bush, and it’s not working under Trump.”
Another reason that policymakers have not seriously pursued worker ownership may well be the ideological implications of such proposals. Sanders, as most Americans know by now, describes himself as a democratic socialist. In explaining what this means to laypeople, Sanders generally points to his commitments to Medicare for All and other policies that are, in fact, in keeping with the welfare-state liberalism espoused by Democrats from Franklin Roosevelt to Ted Kennedy. The Democratic Socialists of America, by contrast, define democratic socialism as an economic system in which workers directly control most of the firms in the economy. The worker-ownership proposals Sanders is expected to unveil will be his first in keeping with the fundamentals of that broad vision. As Matt Bruenig, of the People’s Policy Project, put it recently, in the socialist magazine Jacobin, “Sanders’s move, along with his historical advocacy of worker cooperatives and other forms of collective and public ownership of capital, puts him in the position of saying that ownership does matter.”
It’s unclear whether Sanders, with his proposals, will explicitly say the same or meaningfully alter his definition of socialism. Loren Rodgers, the executive director of the National Center on Employee Ownership, said that he is wary of any proposal that requires companies to hand over stock to employees. “Employee ownership works well when companies choose employee ownership,” he told me, adding that he hoped Sanders would put some distance between his proposal and the Labour Party’s, which he views as overly radical. Blasi expressed concern about the political viability of a plan that mandated worker ownership. “There’s been bipartisan support for employee ownership and profit sharing voluntarily for decades,” he said, “and I think compelling companies to do it is going to be a very difficult road. I think it’s unlikely that such a proposal could ever pass the Congress.”
There is some evidence, though, that voters might be more open-minded than lawmakers. A YouGov poll commissioned by the Democracy Collaborative, a worker-ownership advocacy group, last month found that fifty-five per cent of Americans would somewhat or strongly support a plan that would require companies with more than two hundred and fifty employees to put a ten-per-cent share of their stock into an employee-controlled fund annually, which would put up to half of each company’s stock into employee hands over time. “Americans are really, really positively predisposed to the idea of worker ownership in companies in a way that they are not at all about government ownership of companies,” Peter Gowan, of the Democracy Collaborative, told me. “Now, I am a big supporter of public ownership, but this is a really striking finding.”
Whether that translates into support for Sanders’s proposals remains to be seen. But he may nevertheless raise the profile of worker-ownership policy enough to encourage other Democrats to advance their own ideas, in much the same way that his Medicare for All advocacy and the rise of the Green New Deal have prompted more ambitious health-care and environmental proposals. If so, he will push the Party not only further left but deeper left, putting the basic structure of the American economy up for debate.

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اسفنديار: عمران خان دې له قبايلو سره کړې ژمنې پوره کړي

د عوامي نیشنل ګوند مشر پر وزيراعظم عمران خان غږ کړی چې د قبايلي سيمې د خلکو غوښتنې دې ومني.

اسفنديار ولي خان د جون پر نهمه نېټه په چارسده کې ولسي غونډې ته د وينا پر مهال په هېواد کې د ګرانۍ او د حکومت پر اقتصادي تګلارو نيوکې وکړې.
عوامي نیشنل ګوند د صوبې په مختلفو ښارونو کې د ګرانۍ پر ضد مظاهرې کړې دي.
ه دې لړ کې د چارسدې غونډې ته اسفنديار ولي خان وويل چې په پاکستان کې زياتېدونکې ګرانۍ د دې هېواد د متوسطې طبقې اقتصادي توان کمزوری کړی دی چې د ده په وينا دا په راتلونکې ناوړه پايلې لرلای شي.
هغه وویل چې ګراني په راتلونکې کې د هېواد امنيت هم خرابولی شي
په پاکستان کې په ۲۰۱۸ز کال کې د تحريک انصاف ګوند په واک کې تر راتلو وروسته ګراني زياته شوې خو حکومت وايي چې د پخوانيو حکومتونو له لاسه د هېواد اقتصادي وضعيت خراب شوی دی نو مجبوره شوي چې د توکو قيموتونه زيات کړي.
وزيراعظم عمران خان پر خلکو غږ کړی چې له زغمه دې کار واخلي ځکه د ده په وينا پر دوی به اقتصادي فشار تر لنډې مودې پورې وي او ډېر ژر به وضعيت ښه شي.

د شمالي وزیرستان پېښې او مرګ ژوبله

اسفنديار ولي خان په خپله وينا کې د شمالي وزيرستان خړکمر پېښې او د ځمکلاندې بمونو په وروستیو چاودونو کې د پوځيانو د وژنو غندنه وکړه.
پښتون ژغورنې غورځنګ او پوځ پر یو بل د مې پر ۲۶مه د خړ کمر د پېښې او مرګ ژوبلې پړه اچوي.
اسفنديار ولي خان پر وزيراعظم غږ وکړ چې وخت را رسېدلی دی چې له قبايلو سره کړې خپلې ژمنې پوره کړي.
نوموړي دا څرګندونې پر داسې مهال کړې دي چې د جون پر اتمه د پاکستان وزیراعظم عمران خان ویلي چې د قبایلو پرمختیا ته ژمن دی او ورته لومړیتوب ورکوي.
اسفندیار ولي خان د سپريم کورټ د جج قاضي فايز عیسا پرضد د دایر شوې رېفرنس په اړه هم څرګندونې وکړې او ویې ویل چې ګوند یې په دې قضیه کې د وکيلانو ملګری دی.
په قضیه کې پر قاضي عیسا له هېواده بهر د شتمنیو لرلو تور دی چې په وینا یې هغه یې نه دي په ډاګه کړې.
عیسا خپله ولسمشر ته په یوه لیک کې ګیله کړې چې پر هغه د تورونو خبرونه باید د قضیې تر پیل وړاندې نه وای په ډاګه شوي او دا چې دا ډول اقدامات په مقدمو کې د قاضیانو بې پرېوالی اغېزمنولای شي.
هلته د پاکستان حکومت وايي، د احتساب عمل د هېواد هر وګړي لپاره یو شان دی او پر ټول فشار سربېره به روان وي.
د چارسدې ترڅنګ عوامي نیشنل ګوند په ملاکنډ، کواټ، پېښور، نوښار، باجوړ، بونېر، کرک او نورو ښارونو کې هم د ګرانۍ پر ضد مظاهرې کړې دي.

تحریک انصاف کی حکومت کے لیے جُون کا مہینہ کتنا گرم ثابت ہو گا؟

ارشد چوہدری

ملک بھر میں جون کا مہینہ شروع ہوتے ہی درجہ حرارت میں غیر معمولی اضافہ ہونے لگا ہے گرمی کی شدت میں بڑھنے کے ساتھ ساتھ حکومت کے لیے بھی سیاسی پارہ ہائی ہوتا جا رہا ہے۔ ایک طرف اپوزیشن جماعتوں نے حکومت کے خلاف تحریک چلانے کے لیے کمر کس لی ہے تو دوسری جانب حکمران خود بھی اپنی ’ناقص‘ سیاسی چالوں میں پھنستے دکھائی دے رہے ہیں۔
مہنگائی کا جن قابو نہیں ہو رہا، معاشی صورتحال میں بہتری کا نسخہ ہاتھ نہیں آیا جبکہ اسی ماہ بجٹ پیش کرنے کا چیلنج بھی درپیش ہے، ایک طرف پی ٹی ایم تو دوسری طرف سپریم کورٹ کے سینیئر جج جسٹس فائز عیسیٰ کے خلاف ریفرنس پر وکلا ردعمل کی بازگشت سنائی دینے لگی۔ حکومتی اتحادی ناخوش تو اندرونی چپکلش بھی چھپی نہیں رہی، پنجاب کی بڑی سیاسی قیادت جیل میں بند تو سندھ سے زرداری کو قید کر کے نیا محاز کھلنے کو تیار ہے۔
تجزیہ کاروں کے مطابق حکومت اتنے بڑے چیلنجز سے نمٹنے اور پارلیمان کو طویل عرصہ چلانے میں سنجیدہ دکھائی نہیں دے رہی۔
سینیئر صحافی نوید چودھری کا کہنا ہے کہ حکومت نے مہنگائی پر قابو پانے کے لیے موثر حکمت عملی تیار نہیں کی جبکہ ٹیکسوں میں اضافہ اور ڈالر کے مقابلہ میں روپے کی بے قدری نے عید کے موقع پر لوگوں کو پریشان کر دیا ہے، خاص طور پر بجلی، گیس، پیٹرولیم مصنوعات سمیت ضروریات زندگی کی اشیا مہنگی ہونے سے عام آدمی کو حکومتی کارکردگی سے مایوسی ہوئی اور ان میں رد عمل پایا جاتا ہے۔
انہوں نے کہا کہ بڑھتی ہوئی غربت اور بے روزگاری کے سبب پی ٹی آئی کے حامی بھی مخالف ہوتے دکھائی دے رہے ہیں اور اب تک حکومت کی جانب سے عوام کو کوئی بڑا ریلیف نہیں دیا گیا جس سے اپوزیشن جماعتوں کے موقف میں کافی جان آگئی ہے جو حکومت کے لیے مشکلات کا باعث بن سکتا ہے۔
سیاسی نقطہ نظر:
وفاقی وزیر سائنس اینڈ ٹیکنالوجی فواد چودھری کا کہنا ہے کہ حکومتی جماعت میں منتخب کی بجائے غیر منتخب لوگوں کو عہدے دینے سے پارٹی اراکین میں تشویش پائی جاتی ہے۔ انہوں نے دعویٰ کیا کہ فیصلے کہیں اور ہوتے ہیں، وزرا کو بھی بعد میں خبر ملتی ہے جبکہ پارٹی کا کچھ حصہ عدم اعتماد کی کیفیت میں ہے۔ ان کے بقول جب تک کابینہ 
اراکین پر مکمل اعتماد نہیں کیا جاتا وہ بہتر کارکردگی نہیں دکھا پائیں گے۔
ن لیگی رہنما پرویز رشید کا کہنا ہے کہ حکومت اپنے اتحادی اختر مینگل اور ایم کیو ایم کو ساتھ لے کر چلنے سے عاری ہے، جنوبی پنجاب صوبہ محاذ کے مطالبات بھی تسلیم نہیں ہوئے، کئی حکومتی ایم این اے مایوسی کاشکار ہیں، بجٹ کی تیاری حکومت کے لیے ایک چیلنج ہے، پارلیمنٹ میں بجٹ پاس کرانے اور اس میں عوام کو ریلیف دینے میں مشکلات دکھائی دے رہی ہیں اور وزیر اعظم بھی پارلیمانی امور میں دلچسپی نہیں لیتے نہ ہی کابینہ کو اختیارات دیے گئے ہیں۔
انہوں نے کہا کہ اہم ترین صوبہ پنجاب کے عوام حکومتی کارکردگی سے مکمل مایوس ہیں وفاقی حکومت کی طرح پنجاب حکومت بھی بہتر گورننس اور ریلیف دینے میں ناکام ہوچکی ہے۔ 
پیپلز پارٹی کے سینیئر رہنما اور سابق اپوزیشن لیڈر خورشید شاہ کا کہنا ہے کہ موجودہ حکومت نا تجربہ کاری کے باعث سیاسی ماحول کو خراب کرناچاہتی ہے جس سے جمہوریت کمزور ہو رہی ہے۔
ان کا کہنا ہے کہ پہلے احتساب کے نام پر تین دفعہ وزیراعظم رہنے والے میاں نواز شریف کو جیل میں ڈالا اب سابق صدر آصف علی زرداری کو نیب کے ذریعے گرفتار کر کے دبانے کی کوشش کی جارہی ہے، جبکہ سپریم کورٹ کے سینیئر جسٹس قاضی فائز عیسیٰ کے خلاف ریفرنس دائر کر کے عدلیہ کو دباؤ میں لانے کے اقدامات ہو رہے ہیں۔ ان کے مطابق اس صورتحال میں عید کے بعد اپوزیشن تحریک حکومت کے خلاف ضرور کامیاب ہوگی اس وقت حکومتی رویہ کے پیش نظر حتمی فیصلہ کیا جائے گا۔
انھوں نے کہا کہ چیئرمین پیپلز پارٹی بلاول بھٹو زرداری اور مسلم لیگ ن سمیت تمام اپوزیشن جماعتیں حکومت مخالف تحریک بھر پور انداز میں چلانے پر متفق ہوچکی ہیں۔ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ پی ٹی ایم کے کارکن اور ان کے دو اراکین اسمبلی محسن داوڑ اورعلی وزیر کو جس طرح گرفتار کر کے دہشت گرد ثابت کرنے کی کوشش کی جا رہی ہے اس سے خیبر پختونخوا میں حکومت کے خلاف شدید ردعمل پایا جاتا ہے۔
ان کا کہنا تھا کہ حکومتی انتقام کو بند لگانے کا وقت آگیا ہے ’ان سے حکومت نہیں چلتی تو استعفی دے کر گھر جائیں، نادیدہ قوتوں کے کندھوں پر آنے والی حکومت جمہوری تقاضے پورے نہیں کر پا رہی۔‘ انہوں نے دعویٰ کیا کہ جون حکومت کے لیے موسم سے بھی زیادہ گرم ثابت ہوگا۔‘
تجزیہ کار سہیل وڑائچ نے انڈپینڈنٹ اردو سے بات کرتے ہوئے جون کی گرمی میں بھی طاقتور ادارے کی حمایت کو حکومت کے لیے سائبان قرار دیا۔
ان کا کہنا ہے کہ پی ٹی ایم کے خلاف کارروائی، میاں نواز شریف کی قید، آصف علی زرداری کی ممکنہ گرفتاری ہو یا ججز کے خلاف ریفرنس سب نادیدہ قوتوں کی مرضی سے ہو رہا ہے۔ اس لیے اپوزیشن جماعتیں صرف اپنی سیاسی بقا کے لیے باہر نکلیں گی۔
انھوں نے کہا کہ جسٹس فائز عیسیٰ کے خلاف ریفرنس پر ردعمل ہو یا سیاسی جماعتوں کا احتجاج، جب تک عسکری اداروں کی حمایت حکومت کو حاصل ہے اس وقت تک حکومت کے خلاف کوئی تحریک کامیاب نہیں ہوسکتی۔
’بڑھتی مہنگائی، خراب سیاسی صورتحال میں بھی حکومت کو گرانا یا ہٹانا فی الحال ممکن دکھائی نہیں دیتا۔ ایسی صورتحال میں سب کو حکومت برداشت کرنا ہوگی کیونکہ طاقتوروں کا سایہ گرمی میں بھی حکمران جماعت کے لیے چین ہی چین کا سبب ہے۔


Chandan Khanna

Threats, arrests, blocked accounts and restricted posts—Big Brother is watching more closely than ever in Pakistan as authorities accelerate efforts to censor social networks, further reducing an already shrunken space for dissent.
In the past 18 months, a slew of journalists, activists, and government opponents—both at home and overseas—have faced intimidation or the threat of legal action for their online posts.
Censorship is already rife among Pakistan’s mainstream media, with the Committee to Protect Journalists alleging last year that the military had “quietly but effectively” imposed strict limits on the scope of general news reporting.
Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter were regarded as the last holdouts of dissenting voices, but now that has changed. In February, authorities announced the creation of a new enforcement arm to root out social media users accused of spreading “hate speech and violence” as part of the crackdown.
Gul Bukhari, a columnist and sometime government critic who was briefly abducted by unidentified men last year, said the assault on social media was carefully organized and coordinated. “It is the last frontier they try to conquer,” Bukhari explained.
Journalist Rizwan-ur-Rehman Razi was among the people targeted. He was arrested in February at home in Lahore for publishing “defamatory and obnoxious” content against the state. A few days earlier, he had criticized extra-judicial executions allegedly committed by the security forces, according to a copy of his tweets seen by AFP.
Released after two nights, he has not tweeted since, and his posts have been deleted.
The net cast by the crackdown is a wide one, with Shahzad Ahmad, director of the digital security NGO Bytes for All, pointing to the harassment of civil rights activists, the political opposition, and bloggers.
According to Annie Zaman, an expert on cyber-censorship in Pakistan, this is made possible by an all-encompassing 2016 law that prohibits online posts that are deemed to compromise state security or offend anything from “the glory of Islam” to non-defined notions of “decency and morality.”
“Because this law is vague, it gave more space to the authorities to censor online,” Zaman said.
Offenders can face up to 14 years in prison.
The military signaled its involvement in the campaign as early as June last year, when spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor boasted of the capacity to monitor social media accounts during a televised press conference. In a clear warning, Ghafoor briefly showed an image of what appeared to be specific Twitter handles and names.
Facebook and Twitter transparency reports show the crackdown was already well underway last year, with a huge spike in requests by the Pakistani government seeking to censor online activity.
Facebook restricted more content in Pakistan than in any other country in the first six months of 2018, according to its transparency figures from that time period, which are the most recently available. The social media giant said it restricted the availability of 2,203 pieces of content in total—a seven-fold jump from the previous six months. All but 87 of the items had been reported by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority “as allegedly violating local laws prohibiting blasphemy, anti-judiciary content, and condemnation of the country’s independence,” it said.
The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority did not respond to requests for comment.
Twitter figures for the same time period showed a similar trend, with requests to remove content from 3,004 accounts in Pakistan compared to 674 in the second half of 2017. A Twitter spokesman said the vast majority of the requests had come from the government, and stressed that the company had acquiesced to none of them.
“The authorities are no longer hiding their agenda [or policy] to silence internet-mediated dissent,” said Rabia Mehmood, a researcher for Amnesty International. “While the current censorship is exceptionally intense, over the years, one message has been consistent that criticism of policies of the Pakistan military will not be tolerated.”
Even those posting on social media from overseas have found themselves targeted. Twitter routinely sends out a notice to users notifying them when the company receives complaints that their posts have violated a country’s laws.

AFP has found dozens of users who received such a message warning they had violated Pakistani laws—including 11 who had tweeted from beyond Pakistan’s borders, in countries such as Australia, the U.S. and Canada. The requests represent “a government censor overstepping jurisdiction boundaries,” said Jillian York, an expert at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an American NGO.

#Pakistan - Death of little babies - Victims of neglect


Death of little babies in a District Headquarter Hospital due to faulty air-conditioning speaks volume for negligence in public hospitals.
It is heartbreaking to hear about children dying in any circumstances but for them to die in a hospital where they come to get better is for me at least the saddest. There are recent reports about children dying in a District Headquarter (DHQ) Hospital in Sahiwal because the air-conditioning unit in the children’s ward malfunctioned.
Before I go any further I do want to emphasise that patients in a hospital are there because they are sick. And however much we might want it, all sick patients will not get better. That said, when a ‘cluster’ of bad outcomes occurs, even in the best hospitals in the world, the reason for it has to be investigated.
It is important to realise that babies don’t die just because it is too hot outside. If they did, Pakistan would not have a population problem. Babies die from neglect. They die from malnutrition or because they don’t get enough water to make up for what they lose from the heat (dehydration). And they die because they are too sick to start with and might not get better even with the best possible treatment.
About the heat problem any parent can tell you a wet cloth and may be some ice around the baby in a crib with a fan above can create an ice and cool environment within the crib. But somebody has to be there to do it and to give the baby enough water to drink. I will repeat that it is neglect and not the heat that most likely was responsible for most of the deaths.
Surely a high powered commission of some sort is on the job to find out who is responsible for this tragedy. A few low level functionaries will be blamed for the malfunctioning air conditioners and some senior officers reprimanded. But the nurses and the doctors actually responsible for providing care will avoid any personal responsibility for these tragic events by blaming everything on the lack of air conditioning.
Air conditioning is of course a great gift when available in the heat of summer. However, up until a few decades ago most public and private buildings in the Punjab were built for the hot summers without any consideration of air conditioning, but no more.
I grew up in a house in Lahore that was probably built about a hundred years ago. It had thick walls, high ceilings, windows across the rooms for cross ventilation and the skylights (roshandans) that were opened up in summer to set up an upward draft in every room. Today I live in a very nice ten-year-old house which was made for air-conditioning and I could not be writing this article without the air-conditioner in my study.
When I first started working in Mayo Hospital some fifty odd years ago I was impressed by how the hospital then almost a hundred years old had been built to withstand the heat. Walls were thick enough to survive direct artillery fire; ceilings in the patient wards were probably more than twenty feet high, there were large windows facing each other with open verandas on both sides of the wards and those skylights, one above each window.
Surely a high powered commission is on the job to find out who is responsible for this tragedy. A few low level functionaries will be blamed for the malfunctioning air conditioners and some senior officers reprimanded.
Yes it would get hot in summers. I remember that our operating theatres were also not air conditioned. And when patients returned from major surgery, they would often have very high body temperatures (hyperpyrexia).
So we had an ‘ice’ room next to the ward where I was a house surgeon back in 1971. The hyperpyrexia patient was placed in the ice room and the family was asked to bring in a few large blocks of ice and the patient was surrounded with that ice. In more than ten months that I worked in that department back then I do not remember losing a patient because of the heat.
Thirty three years later I returned to the same ward as the head of the department of cardiac surgery. The ward was changed. Now it had a false ceiling only ten or so feet above and all the windows were permanently closed and of course the high skylights were excluded by the false ceiling. And yes it was now supposedly ‘fully’ air-conditioned.
It was the beginning of winter when I took over the department but when it got warmer I found out that the air-conditioners did not work. Having come from the United States I was not too familiar with split air-conditioners. What I found out was that the split parts inside the ward were still there but the parts outside on the roof were gone-stolen.
We managed to get new air-conditioners from donated funds and made sure that their outside components were placed in locked cages. But then somebody stole the metal tubing that connected the two systems. The six years I ran that department was a constant struggle to prevent theft of different components. Of course every time there was loadshedding, the backup generator could not provide the power to turn on the air-conditioners.
Interestingly, I also found out during my service in King Edward and Mayo Hospital that to have an air-conditioned office you had to belong officially to at least grade twenty which fortunately I was as a professor and chairman of the department.
So, I do not have much faith in individual air-conditioners in public hospitals. However, I must admit that some of the more modern hospitals now have central air-conditioning with big enough backup generators to take over during loadshedding or when feeders trip.
Having lived in the US for more than three decades and having lived through a few major storms, I never heard about feeders tripping. Trees would be uprooted and damage electrical wires but tripping feeders, never heard that phrase until I came to Pakistan.
That then is one of the great mysteries of my life in Pakistan. Who or what exactly are these ‘feeders’ and what do they feed on that keeps making them trip?
That said, many of the public hospitals built more recently especially in the rural and semi-rural areas do not have central air-conditioning and are definitely not built to withstand the heat. They have thin walls, low ceilings and few windows, all that makes them heat traps in summer without air-conditioning.
Another major problem with these newer public and some private hospitals is that when they were built, they were not provided with electrical systems that could take on the load of air-conditioners in summer and space heaters in winter. But adding on these facilities puts an extra load on the wiring.
Unplanned extra load on bad wiring often leads to fires in hospital wards and the sickest patients are the most vulnerable especially adults as well as children in intensive care units (ICUs). Many ICUs unfortunately have no fire exit plan and most exits are blocked to keep out unwanted family attendants.
And now back to where I started. Newborn babies are indeed vulnerable to heat but some care of the sort I mentioned above in the absence of air-conditioning can be lifesaving. And that sort of care was sadly not available.

Pakistan's economic growth in FY19 to hit 3.3%, well below target

Key sectors in Pakistan's economy are all performing below the levels foreseen in last year's budget, which was passed under the previous government of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Pakistan's Finance Ministry expects economic growth in the financial year ending in June to hit 3.3%, well below a target of 6.2% set last year, with key sectors all performing worse than expected, according to a planning document seen by Reuters. The document also sets a target of 4% growth for the 2020 financial year, underlining the economic headwinds facing the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The targets are due to be published officially on Monday ahead of the budget on June 11, which is expected to include tough austerity measures following a provisional bailout agreement with the International Monetary Fund. Khan's government came to power in August facing a yawning budget deficit expected at around 7% of gross domestic product as well as a balance of payments crisis, with foreign exchange reserves that cover less than three months of imports.
It has promised reforms to stimulate exports, cut the deficit and overhaul the power sector, and has pushed ahead with an ambitious infrastructure development project with China. But Pakistani households have struggled, with inflation running at more than 9%. Key sectors in Pakistan's economy are all performing below the levels foreseen in last year's budget, which was passed under the previous government of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Agriculture is seen growing just 0.8% compared with a 3.8% target, industrial output is set to rise 1.4% against a 7.6% target and services are forecast to grow 4.7%, compared with a target of 6.5%.