The common man is confused, whether his concept of religious morality is archaic, or polluted and now redefined by those who rule us, including practices of paid bureaucracy, both civil and khaki, where bribery has been redefined as perks of office, allotment of state lands and abuse of discretionary powers a right, while universally accepted ethics of political morality by men like Quaid-e-Azam, Abraham Lincoln and others, considered outdated. Why does the developed civilized world consider important for state to cater for the welfare of the deprived, while our state focuses on welfare of the elite? Which path are we treading?

It bothers no one why such mindset prevails in corridors of power, where fate and destiny of 180 million is decided by immoral presenters of our people, which has ruined our economy, caused untold sufferings and death for millions of poor. This same decadent and depraved sect has reduced the country to become a failed state, where law of the jungle prevails and money can buy almost anything. We now hear that morality has no place in the politics of Pakistan, where it is an accepted practice, with no conflict of interest involved, for public and constitutional office holders to be gifted palatial houses, limousines, expensive branded clothes and watches etc by men, who may even have been officially declared as tax defaulters by judicial commission, or convicted by superior judiciary, and whose tax returns do not qualify their expensive lifestyles.

A retired income tax officer, turned industrialist, shocked me when he stated that defrauding the state does not constitute corruption, and it is only if an individual defrauds another colleague, is it classified as immoral. Perhaps this explains why men accused of rampant corruption are promoted in our Islamic Republic of Pakistan and even appointed as Prime Ministers. Corruption has been redefined as an undesirable act only if low ranking officer accepts bribe, without consent of his superior officer, or giving his a share of it. It does not matter if rich criminals involved in publicized heinous crimes of murder, tax evasion and robbing tax payer, manage to flee the country from airports, in spite of billions spent by state to screen exit and entry of all citizens and foreigners. We live in a country where scores of citizens are brutally murdered in target killings on roads and streets of Karachi, yet nobody ever gets prosecuted and punished. It seems only fools pay taxes, for there is no immorality or criminality involved if the elite do not pay their due share.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, February 9.