This country desperately requires enforcement of a code of ethics for all public servants, be they elected or members of the paid civil or khaki bureaucracy. It is unfortunate that few of our politicians who landed up in jails because they faced criminal charges of corruption and abuse of office, instead of reforming, glamorised these convictions, as if they were all political victimisation.
In jails, vast majority are common criminals, thugs, land grabbers, swindlers, murderers, rapists and conman who have swindled many innocent pensioners, orphans and widows of their savings. Unfortunately while trying to paint their own prison tenures as acts of political victimisation, our politicians have romanticised their jail mates as if they were all Robin Hoods and have appointed few of them to key executive assignments, for which they never qualified, and their criminal records barred them from such assignments.
Today they face embarrassments which could and should have been avoided. We must understand that if politicians seeking constitutional offices lack the ability to judge people, than they do not qualify for such offices, even if they manage to get elected. During past four years this regime has made many such questionable appointments like those of Adnan Khwaja, Ahmed Riaz, Mian Khurran Rasool, and many others who hold important posts including those of federal ministers. These unpardonable acts are not confined to this elected government, because it was the former military dictator who appointed Hamesh Khan etc and during his tenure that process of plundering state assets like Railways etc was set in motion.
Politicians like Wali Khan, GM Syed, Javed Hashmi, Nawaz Shariff etc were made to languish in jail by military usurpers, not for allegations of corruption, but for their political roles and hence can qualify as prisoners of conscience. I do not mean to absolve all these politicians of wrongdoings, but the fact that they were not put behind bars for financial crimes, qualifies them as political prisoners. The tragedy of Pakistan is that its paid servants, belonging to civil and uniformed bureaucracy, have never reconciled to the fact that they are there to serve the people instead of their role in pre-1947 era, where they served as collaborators of an occupying colonial power to subjugate and terrorise the local population, in return for favors such as handsome allotment of state lands, lucrative assignments and postings. Remember that it were the native uniformed services who brutally murdered unarmed civilians in what is known as Jallian Wala Bagh Massacre.
MALIK TARIQ ALI,
Lahore, January 28.