All parties might be claiming that they want to end the perks and privileges that the ones in power enjoy, however when it actually comes down to execution, no one is saying a word. A resolution recommending the government to “extend facilities of VIPs” to former members of parliament, their spouses, and children is on the agenda of the Senate’s Monday sitting. It urges the government to issue “gratis/ blue passports to the spouses and children” of former members of parliament and has already been signed by nine senators belonging to six different political parties.

Although no PML-N member has signed the resolution, one of the movers claimed that senators of the ruling party had assured them of supporting the resolution – which is completely possible given their previous support to motions increasing lawmaker remunerations. What is surprising is how the resolution is supported by Mohsin Aziz of PTI – a party that has vehemently been campaigning to end VIP culture. When contacted to comment, he admitted that he was reluctant to sign the resolution but a PPP senator persuaded him to do so, claiming this will provide ‘distinctive’ benefits to them, which does not answer why he is going against his party’s stance – a major one.

A number of foreign senators have claimed that this is necessary because of problems they face while travelling to foreign countries with their families; they feel “embarrassed” when their spouses and children got different treatment at airports and other places because they possessed ordinary passports. There is no need for this resolution to be passed, where this is only a burden on the state exchequer, especially when the prime reason is imagined embarrassment and inconvenience.

Such VIP culture allows those in power special privileges at an extraordinary cost to the citizens. Although a certain protocol may be awarded to the government officials for security reasons, is it fair to do this in disregard to the civilian population? Should all paths be turned into a veritable red carpet for the VIP? This preposterous sense of entitlement is in desperate need of ending, one coupled with the lack of governance and people’s frustration, has created a situation that could turn ugly at any time. No one should be given special treatment and perks over others, especially those that have taken an oath to serve the country and their families.