Former Air Force Chief, Muhammad Asghar Khan, once observed that the story of Pakistan is the story of adventurist generals denying the people their rights. He was not telling a lie, but still something seems missing in the story. Along with the generals he ought to have taken notice of the corrupt political elite and the bureaucracy as well. Pakistans story is the story of this class denying the people their rights. Consider the list unveiled by a National Assembly report that mentions the names of thousands of individuals belonging to the military, political and the bureaucratic class who had plundered the nations wealth in broad daylight. The biggest culprit according to the list is General Musharraf in whose tenure there was a virtual free for all. He along with his political-bureaucratic minions had set new records in corruption and financial misdemeanours because the system of patronage and rewards he had set up needed lots of money. The amount to the tune of Rs 60 billion, which the big sharks: politicians, military bureaucratic oligarchy and the business tycoons did not pay, is certainly a huge amount. All this cash could have worked wonders, had it been recovered and spent on the poverty stricken public. What is most important is that the beneficiaries did not need these loans in the first place, since they were already rich beyond dreams. A glaring example is that of the Chaudhries from Lahore who had thought it prudent to wrest their share of the pie while the conditions were favourable. But this is what has been the order of the day. Only the big fishes can get the loans and also have them written off through illegal means. Is it not a crying shame that while these loan defaulters pocketing billions of rupees are invariably given a clean chit by the banks and the authorities, the average man in the street is victimised for failing to return a very small sum? The bank concerned would hardly wait for a second to have an FIR registered against a poor man who defaults on a few rupees. Does this mean we have a different law for the powerful rich elite? The answer would most definitely be yes indeed. The ruling dispensation has to come clean on this corruption issue. It would have to make it clear that is it with the people or with the bad guys. Recovery of the loot must be its primary concern right now. At the same time, the NRO beneficiaries, no matter how influential they are, should be sidelined and punished for the financial irregularities they have committed. The PPPs reputation on account of corruption charges has suffered badly but it would suffer more if the beneficiaries are not evicted in due course of time.