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Learning to fight gangsters

I was in Lahore recently and Punjabis being what they are they call the gangsters “mammoons” of the system. In fact Lahore has a mammoon over a mammoon; a square of mammoons that do not allow decency to permeate in the system. While the CM is busy twiddling his angusht-i-Shahadat (finger of evidence) at all and sundry thinking that he is incarnate of some Inca god the police is doing whatever it can to further the Punjabi culture of brash and unwarranted behaviour. That has been Punjab’s dilemma. It allows marauders to play havoc with its reputation. Foreigners are allowed powerful positions and then the Punjabi is used for all illegitimate activities. In former East Pakistan a bedesi (foreigner) was the one that lived across the road. It is time that we adapted such a definition for a foreigner to rid those that do not cater to our definition of Punjabi. Whenever an expatriate comes to power the Punjabi is used for all kinds of brash actions.

To come back to where an examination was made of which sector was the most corrupt in the country and how did the politician contractor nexus was made to siphon off resources. It was also pointed out by some anchors that the development funds given to MNAs were not used in the area where they were meant for and the contractors and politicians put up an act where either the resources were taken away from its rightful place or whatever for the purpose of pleasing the son-in-law of a senior and powerful politician.

The road sector was found to be the most lucrative by the World Bank in a research study carried out by them. Why the road sector? The reason is simple enough. There is good money to be made by over-invoicing. Take the case of the motorway. I tried to locate the planning document but could not find one.

The signal-free corridor up to Rawat is another case in point. Adjunct evidence tells me that the revenue authorities are not to register any sale deed as the politicians are interested in getting this land for their own activities at low prices. It is the politicians that are the biggest land grabbers in the system. It is enough for a couple of them to blacken the reputation of all. After all it only requires one bad apple to create havoc for the others. So where-ever one sees a road sector being patronised by the politician be confident that it has some financial resources for him. What was the need of the roads as such? They even allowed (under IMF conditionalities) to close the railway segments. Why were the WB/IMF so keen to do this?

The idea for them was that was that this would allow the developed countries to increase their demands for motorised machinery. We fell for this ploy. The politicians eked out some more blood of the common man. Railways is the cheapest form of travel. Cars have many more problems; these are money and time-consuming.

The recent death of a young man by falling concrete is evidence enough of cheap and worthless concrete structures used by contractors. What then is the liability of those in charge? Granted it was not murder but since neglect stands established there was one of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. That there was no mens rea (guilty intent) is granted but the question of neglect cannot be ruled out; so all those that were involved directly or indirectly in the slipshod manner and nature of work are guilty. The MNA from Pindi, the CM of the Punjab and the Planning Minister are all involved in some way or the other. Their individual and collective responsibility is for the courts to determine. What is Khawaja Saad Rafiq’s responsibility in the army train crash near Gujranwala will have to be established as that of the minister of law in the Model Town deaths.

Pakistan needs to put its act together. Where Mercedes Benz and BMW travel the roads are in pristine condition. Where the poor man’s cart does a few miles the roads are non-existent. Who has allowed these twin towers in Islamabad to be constructed? Coming from the Constitution Avenue one of them is already inclining. We in Islamabad are in a seismic zone. God forbid we do not want another disaster. It seems that Pakistan is already twice bitten and it is still not wiser given the kind of earthquake that we have had. The engineers that are supposed to do this study are ensconced in their luxury apartments. All they are interested in are new projects so that they can use the mortar and concrete to take more resources away from the scene in close consonance with politicians.

Mubashir Hasan, an engineer Finance Minister with Shaheed Bhutto, created his own folly by building a bridge in Gujranwala. It is known as the one way bridge. PML (N) created their own hazards. The one at Jhika Gali on the outskirts of Murree but leading to the houses that they own they tried to build a car park, a multi storied one. The piling started to sink and it is now a living memory of their stupidities. I live on the road that is en route to Murree for their rest. The number of policemen that are on duty when they go there is another question.

They won’t let anyone shop in Bharakau. The National Highway authority has spent millions of rupees to cater to their desire(s). Their desire may not be what the NHW department has done by way of servility. Why do we have so many siphoning sopranos? Every government seems to have more than one. So when this is the order of the day how can Pakistan break the cycle of violence, bhata khori and poverty? Pakistan’s troika issues are grave.

I have not mentioned terrorism. That requires a different article. In fact all the issues that I have listed require more in-depth analyses. Why cannot the WB fund another such corruption determining project for Pakistan?

Meantime, take notice of the projects that have been developed that pertain to infrastructure. Each one is a googly. They show something and achieve something else. Is corruption a state of mind? Is it because we have forgotten how to determine our governance factors? Is it because we are found wanting in education? Do we know the difference between education and literacy?

If those that are sitting on high pedestal do not realise they will be brought down. What a fall that will be my countrymen. As it is the north is in a kind of natural disaster and the south in some kind of personal disaster. Inequality breeds some kind of criminal activity. Pakistan figures, though underreported, still cross the 12000 cases reported for theft and dacoities in a week. Criminals rule this country. And this will continue till the politicians clean up their act. We are so good at telling others what to do that it is now an embarrassment. Go on, point a finger at all and sundry.

The Suzuki Motor owner came to Pakistan and made a serious comment on our leadership. He stated that one does not interact while the other knows all about it and keeps on telling “me what I should have done”. That is the way that is!!

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

Dr. Zafar Altaf, "Learning to fight gangsters," Business recorder. 2015-11-07.
Keywords: Political science , Power resources , Literacy programs , Criminal law , Political leadership , Natural disasters , Natural resources , Politicians , Earthquakes , Education , East Pakistan , Pakistan , Punjab , MNAs , IMF , BMW , PML , NHW , WB , CM