Islam emphasizes the importance of ethics, morals, justice and equality for all, mandating our rulers to lead by example. It stresses upon learning from others, even your enemies. Principles like ‘conflict of interest’, accountability, equality and justice are enshrined in our religion, yet nobody cares to follow them.

Israel, a country illegally occupying Palestinian lands, is not recognized by Pakistan, yet the fact remains that these two states were created on the basis of religion. In April 2014, Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rosen convicted former PM Ehud Olmert, for “acute conflict of interest” during his tenure as Mayor of Jerusalem in 1999 by helping a land developer receive municipality licenses for the Holyland Park residential project. The Judge stated that “public servants who accept bribes are akin to traitors” and those who take bribes are a disgrace and cause the public to lose faith in government, leading to the collapse of government structure.

Compare this to abuses of power by our ruling elite and paid servants of state. Controversial land developers (accused by no one other than Judicial Commission formed by SC of Pakistan for alleged tax evasion amounting to Rs120 Billion) have gifted palatial houses to politicians and paid public office holders, undertaking real estate projects with state institutions. Based on insider information, politicians involved in buying land from poor land owners have gone from rags to riches, yet this does not constitute “conflict of interest” or a financial irregularity. Railway land has been given for commercial purposes in Lahore and the rest of the country below prevailing market value, yet nobody gets caught. Pakistan Railways continues to buy engines from the same Chinese manufacturer of ill-repute, while the cost of the new Islamabad airport has tripled because of contractor nexus with every government, resulting in massive pilferage.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, May 21.