In democratic politics, reconciliation with your adversaries and opponents is supposed to be within confines of the law of the land. This basically means to accept the right of others for dissent and criticism, without any fear of harassment or arm-twisting by undue use of state power, or threat of intimidation by party political activists and private thugs. Reconciliation cannot be extended to pardon others for their criminal and heinous crimes, or to accommodate those who are accused of pilfering assets from the state and its exchequer. Review of crimes committed, including financial abuses falls within the jurisdiction of the judiciary. Power given to the President to pardon is to be used judiciously and not abused to benefit cronies. Persons accused of financial crimes against the state, must be made to return all the cash in addition to stiff imprisonment, which should serve as a deterrence for others. Financial crimes involving state resources constitute a conspiracy against the state and people of Pakistan, because it deprives the state of funds for providing welfare, health, education and employment to millions of the deprived, who are dying of hunger and starvation. However, individuals have a right, to pardon anybody, who has robbed him of his own private property, or swindled him of his cash. An elected government cannot assume unto itself any power, other than acting as custodian of the state and its resources, which should be used exclusively for collective welfare of people and development of human resource and basic infrastructure, to make the state self sufficient, without breaching any rules in existence. If a government uses its political clout to pardon those who have robbed the state, or killed innocent citizens, than this cannot be termed political reconciliation, but is an illegal act done, in violation of laws and constitution and can only be termed as abuse of power. Accountability must be conducted across the board, and nobody should be allowed to get away for financial crimes. MALIK T. ALI, Lahore, October 19.