Reference to Khurshid Shah’s remarks of “state within state” while protesting law enforcement’s custody for 90 days of Dr Asim for investigation. In words of T Roosevelt “No man is above the law and no man is below it, nor do we ask any man’s permission, when we ask him to obey it”.

A state is defined as contiguous territory, governed under laws with all institutions performing defined roles to serve people, protect their lives, property and honor from threats within its geographical boundaries, or from external aggression and utilizing all resources to better their lives. In a constitutional democracy, powers of elected executive are defined, to govern in accordance with rules, collect taxes and utilize them for development of human resources, improving infrastructure, with no authority to transgress or abuse their power for personal gains causing financial loss to state exchequer, nor to appoint or recruit unqualified individuals to serve or head state owned enterprises. When elected executive, or any state institution, transgresses its defined constitutional role, this is termed as “state within state”. Allotting land belonging to state organizations, such as forest, railways etc for personal or commercial benefits of individuals, including paid public office holders, even if such an abuse is carried out by statutory body, it is considered as defiance or ‘state within state”. Under constitution of Pakistan, any public amenity plot, or land given to state organization for any specific purpose, where collective welfare of common citizens is involved, if acquired for any other purpose, even for welfare of paid servants of state, is an abuse of power.

The serious charges leveled against Dr Asim need to be probed, ensuring same transparency that is right of any alleged criminal. Crime was also committed when land belonging to railways was given by military regime for commercial ventures to a party in Lahore, or when DHA Valley Islamabad advertised for allotment of plots to general public for delivery by 2011 and failed to do so, or when CDA defiantly denies those members of general public who were beneficiaries of allotment through balloting in Islamabad Sector E12/4 in 1989, but fails to do so, or when executive ignores institutionalized corruption, money laundering, illegal occupation of state or private land and collection of extortion by illegal private armed militias, or fails to protect children and women from sexual abuse.

ALI MALIK TARIQ,

Lahore, August 28.