This is the reference to President Trump’s latest tantrum about $33 billion aid given to Pakistan over past 15 years and his accusations of not fulfilling our obligations. While this is typical of American administration especially since Trump election, it is also a sad reflection upon corrupt and visionless mediocrity that has ruled this country over past five decades and their myopic vision while framing foreign policy and security strategy, engulfing this country into proxy war. It would be advisable to hold a thorough audit of alleged $33 billion which includes $13 Billion Coalition Support Fund.

This is what happens when a country is run by men hostage to their conflicts of interest, lacking moral high ground because of numerous skeletons in their own backyard, unable to rein in few wayward paid civil and uniformed paid public office holders unsuitable for important positions. We must review our bitter ground realities, reform and learn some lessons. It is time to reframe our policies contouring them on Quaid’s vision of modern democratic welfare state and not a theocratic state which Zia and others wanted this country to be.

No sovereign country would allow men holding foreign passports, have all assets abroad to hold any paid, or elected public office, neither any ambassadorial assignments as we have done. The paid security establishment of this country must confine themselves to their assigned constitutional role which was elaborated by none other than Quaid himself. Pakistan needs an independent judiciary which can stand up and hold accountable any citizen, irrespective of his status, or affiliation with any institution for criminal or financial crimes. Recruitment in civil service should only be on merit with no space for lateral entries.

Those who hold paid or elected public offices must adopt austerity and not be seen to live like princes at taxpayer’s money, nor should they be allowed to abuse state resources under the garb of welfare. Quaid’s definition of welfare was based on Medina Welfare State concept, with emphasis on those living below poverty line, giving subsidized education and health and not rampant abuse of multiple allotments of plots for doing jobs they were paid to do. The State must come down on all those fanning sectarian and ethnic divides, and nobody should be allowed to form private militias.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, January 1.