A press report about government officials involved in organized human smuggling, faking official letters, requesting visas for foreign trips has deeply shocked. But in a culture ruled by greed, gluttony and nepotism and an atmosphere of assured non-accountability which dominates working of the bureaucracy, national honor, dignity and self-respect of a nation are bound to suffer. As long as severe exemplary punishment is not awarded to those involved in these heinous crimes that threatens our national dignity, these terrorists and criminals will continue to harm the national honor, isolating us in the comity of nations and making our green passport controversial.

The manner and intensity of this crime, involving unauthorized obtaining of visas on fake documents submitted to foreign embassies, could not have gone undetected without protection and patronization of powerful members of the bureaucracy, ruling elite, intelligence agencies and immigration authorities.

When ethics, laws and rules succumb to greed, it should not surprise us that three government employees working in Federal Ombudsmen Office, Foreign Office and Human Rights Ministry were involved in an organized gang which facilitated illegal immigration on payment of bribes from citizens seeking visas on fake letters declaring them as part of official delegations. There is no doubt that these crimes occurred with a well coordinated illegal network, otherwise how could anyone working in Federal Ombudsmen office be arrested?

It is also a fact that British Government had threatened to stop all fights from Islamabad during Musharraf regime, because of large scale human smuggling, dominated by travel and employment agents of Gujrat, enjoying patronage of a powerful federal minister. What needs to be done is to put an immediate stop to such illegal actions taken by the ruling elite with some exemplary harsh punishments.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, October 26.