There is consensus that both Khawaja Rafique of Lahore and Khawaja Safdar from Sialkot were outspoken parliamentarians, who spent most of their political life in opposition and never faced any allegation of financial impropriety. They both preferred to lead their lives in austerity, preferring to be judged by history for being honest, rather than opportunists. Even the sternest of their political opponents would never doubt their integrity in money matters, nor accuse them of using politics as a platform to promote their private commercial interests. They both believed that politicians should have no conflicts of interest while holding public office. 

Unfortunately, the sons of both Khawajas, one from Lahore and other from Sialkot, have not inherited any of the ethics or principles which their fathers were known for. The Rags to Riches and Beyond, stories of scions of both these honest politicians is symptomatic of decadence in morality and ethics, which afflicts political and paid civil or uniformed public office holders. It is this mindset, coupled with selective application of rule of law which has reduced Pakistan from a developing country to almost a banana republic, where individuals have become billionaires while state almost a pauper. 

What this country needs is the ruthless accountability of every individual, civil or uniformed, who has held public office and indulged in regularizing all irregularities. The Pakistan of today has nothing in common with Quaid’s vision of modern democratic welfare state. It is a State which has paucity of funds to invest in welfare of most deprived and providing education and health to masses, but will take loans, give tax amnesties to elite, and gift more than one house and expensive real estate to its paid public office holders. 

ALI MALIK TARIQ, 

Lahore, April 25.