This is in reference to reports about the Federal Information Minister’s removal and blowback following the leakage of highly sensitive matters that may have been discussed at a meeting held at PM House as per a news report published by Cyril Almeida. The sanctity of national security, official secrets, issues of foreign relations, ambassadorial assignments and key financial issues impacting economy etc cannot be secured, if elected executive or military dictators are allowed to have discretionary powers forming cabals.

This country has to ensure that those holding public offices do not have any conflicts of interest and do not indulge in private trade or business for self or their families where they can misuse their powers and compromise the national interest. It is time that democratic traditions and ethics of governance are followed by those holding important elected public offices like PM, President, Federal Ministers, advisors etc. This abuse started when Ayub Khan imposed martial law and thereafter things have gone haywire. Those who sit in important meetings such as the cabinet etc must be individuals who have taken an oath of secrecy and can be held accountable for any breach in accordance with laws of Pakistan. It is for this primary reason that the Supreme Court, while interpreting the constitution, banned any person holding any foreign nationality to hold any office of importance.

Unfortunately, in Pakistan, this culture of monarchy of those elected to hold executive offices, compromises merit. Why should family members and close friends be allowed to sit in meetings where confidentiality is required? The manner in which members of Asif Zardari’s clan and his cronies had access to powers, just like members of the Sharif clan is averse to democratic tradition and a relic of outdated monarchies. Rampant corruption was imbedded in state corporations like Steel Mills, OGRA, PSO, CAA, PIA, National Bank, State Bank etc. which suffered huge losses. PM must immediately take steps so that the Media Cell in PM House is run by officials and not members of his family or cronies.

ALI MALIK TARIQ,

Lahore, October 29.