In a recent article published in a leading paper, a writer has tried to justify politics of corruption by saying that politics has nothing to do with morality. If you ask me, the issue is very simple; the martial law is unethical, immoral and lacks legitimacy because it is not sanctioned under the law or constitution. Likewise, corruption is a crime as per law and it becomes more of a crime when committed with such arrogance and resolve as if it is a matter of right or perk of high office. The columnist whose views I have mentioned, has given the example of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Mr Berlusconi is loose and fast in his personal life, being a noted womanizer of the Italian society where womanizing is not such a taboo. Yet it has become an issue for him because in Western democracies, people seeking elected office are judged by more conservative standards than those applicable to a common man. Bill Clinton, you might remember, was subjected to the humiliation of facing questions from a Special Public Prosecutor for having lied on oath and he demurred despite his presidential immunity. Richard Nixon had to resign for being caught in wire-tapping of his opponents in the controversial Watergate scandal. None of these crimes involved financial bungling or the sort of corruption our rulers are being accused of today. In a democracy, an elected man is expected to be judged on a higher moral code than that applicable to the common man. Elected leaders are not expected to behave like kings or emperors of yester years, who cannot be held accountable for the excesses committed or seek immunity from crimes committed while in office or prior to assuming the office. Elected men or women must have moral values for they seek public office and decide on issues that impact the fate and destiny of millions of people. They are not expected to have their hands in the till or fall prey to temptations. While they are not expected to be saints, they are also not expected to have a reputation for seeking personal or business favours or of seeking gratification for work that they are supposed to do for the collective good. Laws are framed to uphold morality, ethics and justice for all. This is how a system survives. For democracy to survive in Pakistan, it is essential that it is clean. Unfortunately, when political wills handed down by anonymous men decide the fate of a nation, chaos, lawlessness and failure are the fate. Democracy has suffered in Pakistan because the elected leaders prefer to behave like rogues running a fiefdom, wishing to enjoy absolute powers of a military dictator. Look at the scams we are currently having, their level, extent, frequency and dare-devil obstinacy of those responsible for so much financial bungling in a country with so scarce resources. Show me one elected leader in India who is accused of having undeclared properties anywhere outside the country, or whose children do not live in India. Show me any of that happening in any other democracy worth mentioning. Politics sans morality and transparency lacks credence and can never be the solution. Both Musharraf and Zia lacked moral or legal grounds and so does the present accidental misrule of a man tainted with charges corruption. -GULL Z, Quetta, May 22.