Whatever the rhetoric by politicians, civil society, media etc, the fact remains that there is no tolerance by Pakistani elite for those who perform their duties with integrity or commitment. The Government of Pakistan spends billions on advertising for campaign to prevent electricity and gas theft. However, when an SNGPL engineer based in Faisalabad dared to stop gas theft by a factory owner, who happened to be leader of PPP parliamentary group in Punjab Provincial Assembly, he was transferred and then implicated and arrested in corruption case to teach him a lesson. Passing of 20th Amendment is being hailed as an achievement because at least on paper it ensures an independent Election Commission and hence by implication fair polls. The ground reality on other hand is that a female candidate for Sindh MPA slot was shown on live television slapping and harassing electoral staff at a polling station and all that has happened after hue and cry is that an investigation has been launched.

For any political party which never tires of claiming sacrifices rendered for democracy, this should have been enough evidence to merit disciplinary action against their own candidate. Widespread use of live ammunition and carrying of weapons in vicinity of constituency where By-elections were being held was seen on television screen. Faces of these wild trigger happy men from Mardan, Multan, Qasur, Badin, etc were shown by private television channels, and so were the political elite in whose presence such crimes were committed.  For an Election Commission to prove its credentials the least that was expected was suspension of electoral results and criminal proceedings against all culprits. If this is a reflection of the way coming General Elections will be conducted, than there will more chaos and anarchy. We live in a country where paid government servants and elected public officeholders found guilty of financial wrongdoings and in the rare case convicted for their crimes are pardoned or promoted by President.

MALIK TARIQ,

Lahore, February 27.