Once upon a time there lived a pious and humble man in a valley far away. He was an upright man, strictly adhering to his principles. People around him affiliated with him in a capacity of different relationships, they adored him and always presented him as a role model to be followed. Then, once, in times of need, he was declared their leader and people expected a lot from him. The next few years went calm, as expected, and he made sure to toil everything to make his people satisfied. Then one day, blame it on devil if you may, the inherent greed started to rise its head. He controlled but couldn’t and eventually got entangled in this Web helplessly. People at first were appalled, then they got accustomed to it, the little that was done to protest the wrongdoings of their leader eventually lasted the little impression they left. This continued, people suffered, he gathered himself in like-minded folks, who would lay their lives to save the pelf of their leader. They were, if truth be told, more shameless than the leader himself.

This is the exact thing which is happening in Pakistan since long. People have learned to suffer and now this thing doesn’t bother them at all, they are fine with it – at least that’s how it seems. The guys on the throne have figured it out completely and mastered the art of deceit over time, more perfectly. In days of elections, both the public and their representative read the same book and the same pitch, once the representatives get themselves elected the book changes and so does the pitch. 

Last year in the National Assembly , the acting chairman of the standing committee on rules of procedure and privilege, Ch Mehmood Bashir Virk presented a recommendation and it was unanimously adopted as a motion by parliamentarians. Considering the state of the plight in which the common people of their constituencies live in, this act was a whiplash leashed on them, an attempt to chaff at them indirectly. According to the details of this recommendation, a raise of 146 percent was asked. The salary of a parliamentarian which was previously 36,000 after this recommendation would be 200,000. Then salaries of National Assembly’s speaker and Senate chairman were proposed at a staggering figure of 400,000. Lawmakers got 8,000 per month as office maintenance and now they would get 100,000.

Of course that would be a false statement to say that every lawmaker is alike when it comes to securing one’s own private interests, but the problem is when those who don’t share such gluttonous ambitions don’t oppose those who do, they are actually being a part of this whole thing; just like a sleeping partner in a company or firm, he gets the benefits but his name won’t appear anywhere.

Now after we have had a brief glimpse of how generously our lawmakers can pass a bill or recommendation, let us discuss another instance; as shameful as the previous, but the case is other way around.

Mussarat Ahmad Zeb, Member National Assembly on reserved seats for women from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, tabled a bill related to reviewing the punishments for sexual predators and paedophiles. She pressed in the presented bill for more stern and exemplary punishments for these gruesome crimes committed i.e. life imprisonment and the death penalty. This bill couldn’t get a nod of approval from the majority and thus was rejected.

The reason, which may be given as an explanation, is that in recent years cases of paedophilia are on the rise despite the fact that there are already punishments for this crime; they are with loopholes and not enough to get some sense into the frustrated criminals. Approval of this bill would have given a strong signal that government is serious in tackling this crime. The Kasur scandal is one incident and there are numerous others happening in different parts of Pakistan almost every day.

The government should actually start thinking about giving relief and sense of security to people. It is about time that such measures be ensured, which not only benefit the already well to do lawmakers but general public too.