Before I go on to my featured thread this week, I must, in the interest of Public Service, narrate an incident that impacts on the lives of millions of Pakistanis on a daily basis. Driving from Islamabad towards Rewat on the Expressway, I stopped my car when the traffic light, at the Bahria Town and PWD Colony exit turned red for vehicles proceeding towards GT Road as well turning right for the U turn. I was however surprised to see that traffic was continuing to move towards Soan Bridge using whatever space they could find in the left lane. I was even more agitated, when I found a bearded Punjab Police traffic warden standing on the side watching these vehicles go by. When the light turned green, I moved forward and stopping abreast of this grey clad individual asked him, if he had seen what had happened. “Yes, I did”, he responded. “Then why didn’t you stop and book those, who violated the law?” I asked. “I am off duty and in any case I am not assigned to this area”, came the reply. I told him that he was a uniformed officer of the law and if he saw a murder being committed across the road, would he allow it to happen because this was not his assigned area. He looked and me, smiled and walked away with the remarks that he would. I raised window and spent the remainder of my journey thinking about what our law enforcement arm had become epitomizing, professional depravation, corruption, inefficiency – an object of public hate and ridicule. I am sure that the policeman, with whom I had the encounter, represented the attitude of his institution. If that so then this force should be disbanded, disrobed and kicked all the way into the sea. I have all along advocated that like many countries of the world, our police should be trained and officered by the Armed Forces. I say so because ruthless enforcement is the only single remedy to the ills that we have imbibed and this can only be administered by an organization that shunned political intrusion, was single mindedly committed to its mission, physically fit to do so and equipped with the necessary tools to carry out its mandate.
On the political scene, a ‘demolition derby’ appears to be in progress, as corruption ridden mighty houses are brought crashing down. The powerful in the land are being held accountable and incarcerated, while their ill-gotten assets face confiscation. I recall these political tyrants, intoxicated with power, repeatedly claiming that they had been voted in by two hundred million Pakistanis. No one, not even from the media, had the gumption to ask them as to how could they represent the entire population of Pakistan, when they had obtained only 15 million votes for the National Legislature in 2013. Compulsive liars as they have proved to be, the Sharif family should be grateful that they have been let off rather leniently by the Accountability Court. The son in law of the family, had the gall to muster a rally of a dozen vehicles and not more than a few hundred sidekicks, to drive down the interior of Rawalpindi City and offer himself to be arrested in what was a ‘third class’ attempt at playing politics. The Punjab Police allowed this spectacle to continue instead of arresting him before the rally moved out from its assembly point. But then this is the police that wilts and runs before ‘lathi’ carrying zealots and a ‘mob’ even as insignificant as the one, Safdar (calling him by his former rank is an insult to the uniform that he wore) had managed to collect around him. We are also told that he has been kept in a B Class cell (read room). This accommodation comes with a television and air conditioner and a ‘mushaqati’ to wait hand and foot on the ‘guest’. I only wish that Pakistan had a level playing field for all those convicted of crimes and to give a taste of what a jail cell really is. This is but a pipe dream as these things don’t happen in the ‘Land of the Pure’.
Now the other two convicted members of the Sharif Family are due to arrive in Pakistan to serve their jail terms. Reports indicate that NAB and the police are making fool proof arrangements to arrest them on arrival. On the other side a mob is being organized by PML N to create an incident designed to be shown across the world on media, of how a ‘popular’ leader and his daughter were arrested. I am eagerly waiting to see what is going to be the most sought after reality show, when this happens.
The writer is a freelance columnist.