The Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac of France had to step down when an undeclared foreign bank account was found. France’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls and Finance Minister Pierre were also being grilled by the parliament. This is how democracy works, where those seeking public office are required to declare all their assets, bank accounts etc, held in their name, or in the name of any immediate family members.

It is inconceivable for any public office holder, in a democracy, to be accused of tax evasion, tax fraud, non-payment of electricity dues, smuggling, land grabbing, or involved in any illegal financial or immoral deeds. No elected individual, if caught should be able to claim parliamentary breach of privilege to evade public scrutiny. Those who hold any elected or paid public office are expected to be judged by a higher moral yardstick than ordinary citizens.

If corruption is to be contained in this country then the top bureaucracy and members of ruling elite have to be subjected to strict financial discipline and accountability, for the fish rots from the head. Strict regulatory controls are an important part of good governance and this can only be achieved if those assigned to handle such jobs have undivided loyalty to Pakistan, hold no foreign nationality, no conflict of interest and subjected to thorough public scrutiny before holding such assignments.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, May 25.