Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ministers or Gangsters!

May 26, 2010

Ministers or Gangsters!

By Saeed Qureshi
I have seen in pictures the Italian drug mafia charlatans wearing black glasses, tattoos over bodies, totting guns and uttering filthy slangs. Invariably this has become symbolism of mafias and stings involved in drug and human trafficking, prostitution, and in similar heinous crimes around the world. These drug lords and gang leaders are also depicted in crime movies.
Similar make of dark glasses was covering the eyes of Pakistan’s Law minister Babar Awan when he emerged from the Supreme Court building on May 25, after hearing on cases related to National Reconciliation Ordinance and the amnesty given to a host of the people now in government including the inimitable president Asif Ali Zardari.
Dr. Babar was not alone. He was in the fold of the human shield and a closely-knit company of his peers with overarching arms. Their faces exhibited a self mollifying calm, a kind of mockery, an unabashed tinge of deliverance and a show of camaraderie as if they have defeated a whole army of European crusaders of the Middle Ages. They were demonstrating their unity and togetherness that is so closely associated with the cults and criminal gangs in Europe, America, and elsewhere. They were smiling with a vicarious glimpse of triumph, spread on their deceitful faces like screen savers.
Thes four or five guys in the incumbent government are in the forefront of an odious militancy against the civilized society in general and the judiciary (one of the four pillars of state) in particular. They have taken upon themselves to brace against the state institutions, individuals, and political parties that censure or point out government delinquencies or derelictions.
The Law Ministry of Pakistan seems to be hosting gladiators with a ringleader in the grab of Babar Awan, obsessed with demolishing their opponents, be it the chief justice, the leader of the opposition, the civil society, the media, and critics of other brands. A law minister under the onerous accusation of taking a hefty bribe goes to the apex court to plead propriety on behalf of the government, which is up to the neck in a maze of corruption charges. The sun of crimes and corruption is blazing on them and they are trying to hide it behind their fingers.
The NRO gives a blanket pardon to the criminals and felons mentioned in the list attached with the NRO proclamation. It is a list of a few thousand individuals, accused of robbing the national treasury and the institutions and the individuals by way of elephantine briberies and involvement in huge money swindles. The person who issued this amnesty was not a prophet of God or an angel blessed with the divine rights to issue such sacrosanct proclamations that cannot be challenged anywhere on earth.
The president enjoys amnesty under the constitution, no matter how incorrigible, hardened, and big crook he is. If this is the law and this is what the constitutions lays down, then better that law and statute book be scrapped. The nation knows that, an individual who is presiding over the country, has amassed ill-gotten money, and has the sordid record of impropriety. Then does he have a right to rule?
The criterion for a Muslim ruler is honesty, simplicity, modesty, and acute uprightness. If Pakistan is an Islamic state by argument then where are the Islamic zealots like Fazal Ur Rehman and Jamat-e- Islami chief Munawar Hasan and other Islamic rabble-rousers to speak truth and declare openly that such a person must be prosecuted and does not deserve even to be a clerk in the bills’ department of the water and power?
If he is clean and all these accusations against him are fabricated or baseless then let him clear him before the court of law: come clean, and rule for a century. However, the writing of a letter to the Swiss banks could be done on the dead body of the law minister which means that he was ready to go to any extent to defy the legal rulings with the spurious motivation of shielding himself, his boss the president of Pakistan and his blemished ilk all sailing in the same boat.
During the past two years, scores of reports about financial robberies and backdoor money making deals by the ministers and their high and low cohorts have been circulating in Pakistan. From the child to an old person believe that their government functionaries were thoroughly corrupt and were focused on enhancing their wealth. The national assets like steel mills and award of gas contracts and import and export licenses were some of the glaring manifestations of misuse of power to inflate their already bulging bank accounts both offshore and indigenous.
The renting of private power producing units is one of the juicy sources of pocketing huge commissions. The Benazir Support Program is unaccounted and there is no clue how the mammoth funds allocated for this program are being used. Those who are awarded sentences by the court are pardoned by the president as if the NRO legacy is still being followed as a gospel truth.
So where do we go from here? Shall the heaven burst open, the wrath of God will descend upon the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; there will be a deluge; a volcanic eruption or the people will rebel against the degenerate and morally bankrupt system?

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