In our neighboring country India, a sitting minister of state Mr Tharoor and Chairman BCCI Lalit Modi, have been forced to resign, because they were found involved in financial wheeling and dealing. This does no mean that there is no corruption in India, what it implies is that once exposed, the alleged culprits are removed from public office and an investigation is ordered thereafter. Corruption is treated as a crime and holders of public office in a democratic setup are expected to be held accountable for any wrong-doings, irrespective of their political clout. Mr Lalit Modi is being investigated for leading a luxurious lifestyle, beyond his declared tax returns, by the Income Tax department. While similar laws exist in Pakistan, no high profile criminal, even after his crime has been exposed, has ever been held accountable in Pakistan. On the contrary individuals accused of bribery, corruption, perjury, land grabbing, abuse of public office and tax evasion have not only retained their offices but been given national awards. For democracy to strengthen in Pakistan, it is imperative that rule of law be established in letter and spirit. Holders of public office and individuals selected for appointments to executive assignments in state owned corporations like PIA, Steel Mills, NIC, Railways, NHA etc, must not only be the best qualified, but have an impeccable record of integrity. Crime should not pay, nor should criminals convicted of imprisonment, be painted as Robin Hoods, as has been done quite frequently in this country. M TARIQ ALI, Dubai, April 19.