Our Defense Ministry has announced time and again that Cantonment Act will be abolished, but there has been no follow-up action. The reality is that the Cantonment Board is a relic of the past. They clothe station commanders and the petty officials with draconian powers. With no elected representative, or empowered ones, they exercise their powers arbitrarily. Nowadays the ranks constitute a microscopic proportion of the total population, yet, the civilian residents suffer discrimination in all respects (education, tax rebates, etc).The Board introduced the lease system in lieu of the Old Grant System of property ownership ostensibly to help civilian population, but, there is many a slip twixt the cup and the lip. Whoever applies for the lease is slapped with a long list of irrelevant objections. It is a Herculean job to remove the objections unless the underhand quid pro quo is met.The Federal Government is requested to withdraw lease decision, freeze old grants, and abolish all rank vs. civilian discriminations in Cantonment Board areas.

ARSHED JAVED,

Rawalpindi, July 11.