Why should every government be it of PPP, Musharraf or PML-N prefer to appoint individuals accused of irregularities, who have managed to evade accountability because of weak prosecution and judicial system? Although Constitutional Oath binds public office holders to make appointments strictly on merit, yet every government has violated this pledge by appointing people who would not stand up to judicial review. Pakistan, a country on verge of economic collapse, facing massive debt, and flight of capital cannot afford such criminal neglect by design. Should it not raise eyebrows when an individual such as Shujaat Azeem with clear conflict of interest, court marshaled for indiscipline offers to serve pro bono a department with which he conducts business?

A review of individuals who have headed State Bank, Auditor General, PSO, OGDC, PIA, CAA, Steel Mills etc will reveal extent of abuse of judgments of superior judiciary and violation of spirit the constitutional oath binds the executive. It seems that ability to defraud state are no longer a vice, but a merit in views of those who have been at helm in Pakistan. Supreme Court of Pakistan has clearly given a verdict that dual nationals should not hold important posts in state owned enterprises, yet every government considers it proper to do otherwise.

Just changing name of portfolio Shujaat Azeem held, when Supreme Court had earlier ordered his removal, amounts to making mockery of judicial orders. The PPP in 2008 appointed an O’Level accused of numerous irregularities, declared guilty of financial impropriety in recruitment by an official investigation ordered by Ministry of Defense as MD PIA, or appointment of nightclub manager Ayaz Niazi to head NICL and giving dual assignment of DG CAA and MD PIA to another crony. Everybody knows that tons of Ephedrine were illegally allocated for making drugs smuggled abroad, yet one of accused was made head of multi-billion Metro project in Islamabad. There is no dearth of qualified, experienced apolitical or politically affiliated individuals with integrity, yet somehow they are not considered.


Lahore, December 15.