Pakistan’s ruling elite, be they elected or paid, seem to suffer from serious psychological hang-ups. In spite of the fact that fate and luck has bestowed them with high public offices, their fragile egos always need to be boosted, as if they had an inferiority complex, or flaws in ethics, education or upbringing. All over world, people in authority try to put on an image of being humble and be seen to be abiding by laws, stand in the queue whenever they are required to do so and never be seen wasting tax payers money. In Pakistan, any person who considers himself important, measures his status in a society by his ability to circumvent rules, evade taxes and procedures, and his addiction to protocol, or power to appoint incompetent cronies or individuals to head state corporations, who otherwise would never qualify on merit for any employment even in a subordinate status.

The same person would be seen standing in queue at foreign airports and willing to subject himself to routine search, but would never tolerate similar procedures at airports within Pakistan. No tax paying citizen of Pakistan can dare to enter a senior civil bureaucrat’s office even if he has a legitimate reason, unless he has a recommendation. Citizens of Pakistan are barred to even pass through GOR in Karachi, Lahore etc, where paid servants of the state reside. In USA former President Bush’s 24 year niece Noelle Bush, daughter of his younger brother Jebb Bush Governor of Florida was hauled up by police in that state for trying to obtain prescription drug Xanax illegaly, yet law followed its course. British PM Tony Blair’s wife Chery Blair, an attorney, while travelling by subway to appear in a case was caught by local subway police for not having a ticket, although she pleaded that ticket clerk at boarding station was not available at window. The checking clerk refused to accept her argument that since she was in a hurry, hence thought she could pay fare at her destination. Can anybody in Pakistan imagine the wife of any public officeholder choosing to travel by public transport, in order not to misuse official state transport, or any senior lawyer, bureaucrat or any public figure allow law to take its course.

M TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, February 8.