Governments in the past and present have been claiming that they would eliminate the VIP culture that has taken hold of the country and assuring the public that the leaders would adopt an austere style of living. But, in practice, for all the criticism of the public, the media and the opposition, a luxurious style of living has been maintained; if anything, it has become ever more in evidence. The only time an effective decision to that effect was taken was during the government of Mohammad Khan Junejo when he compelled ministers, bureaucrats and head of semi-government organizations to use smaller vehicles.

An irksome demonstration of VIP culture is travelling with a long queue of motorcades under the pretext of security. Commuters in major cities like Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore are sick of heavy traffic jams for hours due to VIP movement. Whenever, President, or Prime Minister, or Chief Minister takes to the road, life in the town which the VIP happens to be visiting becomes miserable for the general public. People get stuck at main crossings. To cite an example of agonising delay, a lady delivered her baby in an ambulance stuck on Lahore’s Shahrah-i-Quaid-i-Azam in a traffic jam caused by the Prime Minister’s motorcade that had to pass there. The latest video clips showing Bilawal Bhutto Zardari travelling in a motorcade comprising over 35 vehicles is a recent example of this painful VIP culture. This has to be stopped to spare the people of their needless worries.