Archive for August, 2010

Our attitude towards corruption

August 25, 2010

Silence is an attribute of the dead; he who is alive speaks. TheNational Corruption Perception Survey 2010 by Transparency International-Pakistan graced the headlines and remained talk of the town for a few days but then went on the backburner as is usual practice in our country. However, in a developed country such high perceived numbers of corruption would have rang alarm bells and  drawn public ire.

The lack of public outroar – rather a deafening silence – against the alleged corruption which has become Pakistan’s greatest shame, forced me to think, we as individuals have become so corrupt ourselves that it is justified in saying that our state functionaries are from us hence no different than us.

This means that at some stage of our lives we ourselves have indulged in such corrupt practices ourselves, encouraged them or not resisted them in other words. Don’t we at the driving license office, passport office, NADRA or at vehicle registration dept. grease the palm of agents so that our job could be expedited may be because we hate to stand in a queue and wait for things to get done in their due time or lack of patience has become our second nature. Isn’t their a collusion of plunderers and mafias who spur electricity theft in the residential, industrial and commercial areas ,water theft by the tanker mafia , local agriculturist and industrialist courtesy the officials of relevant water board and irrigation department and gas theft by the influentials who own CNG stations and have the right links with the movers and shakers of the country.

The icing on the cake is that our rant about the shortages when we our selves fail to adhere any of the conservation initiatives in terms of closing down our businesses at 8 or setting our ACs at 26 or using water efficiently or abstain from the use of natural gas fueled generators without getting the extra load regularized by the SSGC SNGPL.

Now let us come to the burning issue taxation, yes it’s a fact we evade taxes worth 800 billion rupees as revealed by the world bank report and even after this we are not even bothered to ask for a proper invoice or issue a proper receipt whenever we transact. And above all this is our silence and indifference to report such actions, which serves as the biggest weapon for these plunderers and gives them the courage to carry on and usurp my rights and your rights to fill in their pockets.

Rest assured I am in no way defending any of the state deparments perceived to be corrupt but who is going to bell the cat, because it wont change over night, nor would it change if we are not willing to mend our own ways because it starts with you, it starts with me.

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What is missing this August?

August 25, 2010

August was once a month in which school children used to rehearse for tableaus for independence day functions, flags were bought to hoist on rooftops, independence day parade practice would take place in Islamabad and awards were presented on the big day. Fete and furore were synonymous with August . However, this August seems cursed with devastation, bloodshed and hopelessness from Karachi to Khyber.

The summer began with  stories of the unfulfilled dreams of  youths aboard an ill-fated airliner and the pain their loved ones went through. In the backdrop of this tragedy were bomb blasts in Peshawar and the Data Darbar in Lahore followed by target killings in Karachi.

Soon afterwards the words “floods wreak havoc”  reverberated across the country. Floods ravaged parts of KP and Punjab and we were told the worst was yet to come. The estimates of those who have lost their lives and those who stand displaced increases every day. Sheer unpreparedness on the part of the provincial and federal government is a sorrowful sight to witness.

Amidst all of this, came the assassination of a member of the Sindh assembly and the carnage which followed resulting in the death of at least 94. This was followed by a suicide attack in Peshawer which threw us into further darkness.

Even as I try to reconcile  myself with the facts – the plane crash was an accident, floods a natural catastrophe , the violence in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar the vengeance of  terrorists – there is one thing which I fail to understand, where is the one united Pakistan I saw  during 2005′s destructive earthquake? All of us had rushed to help the victims without waiting for any appeals. Camps had been set up on the road side in every city to collect donations and everyone was more than willing to help .

The earthquake was natural calamity and so are these floods but this time around the spirit of helping and volunteering is at it’s lowest and that too in the month of August when patriotic spirit is supposed to be at it’s peak. It has veen less than five years since the earthquake hit. So, what happened? Have we lost our sense of empathy?

On 28 December 1947 M.A. Jinnah  made a welcome address at Karachi where he famously said:

“I have no doubt that with unity, faith and discipline we will not only remain the fifth state in the world but will compare with any nation of the world …you must makeup your mind now. We must sink individualism and petty jealousies and make up our minds to serve the people with honesty and faithfulness ,we are passing through a period of fear , danger ,menace. We must have faith , unity and discipline.”

We must unite and contribute, whatever we can, large or small, in any capacity — money, food, rations, drinkable water, tents, quilts, warm clothes, medicines for  water-borne diseases — because our impoverished brothers and sisters need us.

In this month of August let us pledge that whatever difficulty comes our way it will be dealt with as one nation.

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