“VIP culture” goes deep in our society. In the major cities of this country, where our political and civil and military elite resides, witnessing VIP movements are not rare. Persons occupying important offices do not think for a second that their movements create a lot of hurdles for ordinary citizens.

However, it has come as a surprise to see a letter from Interior Ministry imposing a complete ban on providing any protocol to the elites at the airports of the country. According to one official of the ministry, the step is taken as per directions of the new Interior Minister Mr Ahsan Iqbal, which is welcoming.

Whether others will follow in the footsteps of the Interior Minister or not, is a question worth asking. The answer, probably, will not be in the affirmative. Protocol culture will not die with this step. The recent rally of Mian Nawaz Sharif is a glaring example of the deeply established culture of VIP movement and protocols. It would not be wrong to recall an incident in Quetta, where a woman gave birth to a baby girl in a rickshaw when the roads were closed for movement of the then President of the country, Asif Ali Zardari. Scores of such events can be mentioned, where protocol facilities that our leaders enjoy have resulted in the death of ordinary citizens. Focusing on one aspect of the problem is not good enough.

VIP culture shows a sharp division between the lifestyle of the rulers and those who are being ruled. At the same time, such movements suggest that the members of the ruling elite are apathetic to the sufferings of the larger segment of the society. With enormous and long cavalcades of the influential individuals send one message; their time and lives are more valuable than any other citizen of this country. Insistence on getting protocol is a symbolic exercise in the projection of power and authority as well.

Nevertheless, Ahsan Iqbal deserves the appreciation for his bold step in eliminating an immoral as well as illegal culture of protocols. Others with power and authority should also follow suit. It will be a gesture of empathy towards the citizens of this country, a significant number of whom are living below the poverty line.