There is a saying that “nothing stinks worse than a politician”. This particular description was coined in the United States, but appears to be tailor-made for our very own Land of the Pure. Politicians have developed the art of lying to absolute perfection – they lie to the nation in so convincing a manner that their voters elect them for recurring terms. One day they issue one statement and on the next, utter something diametrically opposite, denying that they had ever said anything otherwise. They smile and hug, while deep in their hearts they conspire to undo each other. Steeped in corrupt ways, they consider their legislative membership as a means of profit and since their tenure is likely to last only five years, they do so in top gear. It is thus that these ‘leaders’ become role models and set into motion a cycle that mutates national character into something totally undesirable. This aberration is visible every day of our lives – in businesses, on the roads and in homes. Laws are flouted with impunity and profits are made with total disregard to ethics, morality and good practices.

I often have the opportunity to lecture as a guest speaker at some of the leading centers of learning in the country. I am grateful to those, who invite me and rate me fit to undertake this responsibility. On a more personal note, interaction with the younger generation during questions and answers, provides me with insight into the direction our future is taking. There is one question that always dominates these sessions – How can we stop the rot and take the road ‘back’ to good governance? My response to this query is always the same – “Enforcement of Law”. I am convinced that reform and reorganisation of the police must be undertaken as the first step and the rest will happen without much difficulty. I make this statement very passionately as I firmly believe that a reformed, depoliticized and dutiful law enforcement infrastructure will become the critical jump start to eradicate our ills. We saw a living, but short lived example of this, when the Islamabad Traffic Police and the Motorway Police were raised. Decent pay scales, accommodation, smart uniforms – all culminating in a sense of pride that was visible. Violators of law were booked and for the first time in our lifetime we saw seatbelts and crash helmets being used. This honeymoon period lasted for a couple of years before things gradually went back to ‘normal’. This happened because of our political and social culture, which has over a period of time bred apathy, moral turpitude and selfishness in the way we run our daily lives.

Some countries have resolved policing issues by organising and training their civilian law enforcement on the lines of the armed forces and there are some examples (from Latin American Countries) of this institution being placed under command of the army. I am referring to these models in a bid to suggest that we need to break the status quo and go for radical and deep rooted reforms in our law enforcement. The presence of an efficient police force and enforcement free from any influence or fear will have a snowball effect – crime will fall, corruption will diminish and one day cease, traffic will become organized, civic sense will resurface. A secure and corruption free environment will encourage business and investment with direct and indirect effects on economy, poverty and jobs.

Then perhaps there will come a day (if not in our lifetime then in our children’s) when we will be able to hold our head high with pride and say that we have truly fulfilled our Founding Father’s vision.