Legacy of British Raj

A recent judgment by Islamabad High Court to protect and preserve the sanctity of land reserved and declared as a national park on Margalla Hills was long overdue, given the tendency of powerful land mafia groups to illegally occupy amenity plots, forest etc., posing a threat to an already grave environmental crisis that haunts lives and health of citizens.

When state-funded disciplined institutions indulge in such irregularities like DHA Valley Islamabad ventures, then the trust and confidence of citizens and their institution is likely to be compromised. All this can be avoided if principles like a conflict of interest are upheld and the constitution reigns supreme.

The British colonial occupation used state lands and titles to buy loyalties of natives to serve the Raj, and forcefully take over lands and property of those who dared to defy them. In 1943-44 the Raj invoked the Defense of India Rules to dispossess Quaid of his House No 53, located in Lahore Cantonment. The Viceroy did not desire MAJ to be more actively involved in Punjab politics.

The British officers could not dare to take over state lands in the UK, where the writ of law prevails and no man or institution could defy the law. They could only do as an occupational force in colonies. It is unfortunate that after over seven decades of being independent and having a written constitution to which all paid or elected public holders to have on oath pledged to uphold and protect, it is being flagrantly defied by few, blinded by greed.

When the writ of law and supremacy of the constitution becomes a slave to the whims of powerful groups, then criminal elements and extremists emerge using threats and intimidation to defy the majesty of laws. Such states become a sanctuary to criminals of all shades and opinions and national sovereignty and security are compromised.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore.

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