The bureaucratic system seems to have been demolished over the years but now it is the political system that is under fire. The recent wave of arrests indicates that we are just about beginning to understand what the politicians have been upto. Financial misdoings are just one aspect of the entire episode. The politicians have been using the institutions to settle their own vendettas. I think the government of the day should review its own actions. But why set a thief to catch a thief. That is alright in movies but not in real life. The entire can of worms is going to open up and the entire economic gains that have been made by the politicians need to be revisited by honest investigators. Are their any honest and competent investigators? Public trust has been badly dented in the substantive allegations that have been made against the state actors. We are so to say in the pits of the world and that is a bottomless pit.
How is morality to be inculcated in to the system? The task is a difficult one. Probably one has to consider the world culture on this. The works of Whitehead and of Gardner to mention a few are worth considering. Both of them have done what was extraordinary in their times. Add Vaclav Havel the Czechoslovak President and we have an assembly of three people that can teach us a lot about life and its variations. I have read voraciously about all three. On the legal side I have been reading Justice Oliver Wendal Holmes whose judgments are considered pristine in the legal world. His contention is that law is in living-meaning thereby that what you experience in law is what makes or breaks a country. We would do well to read more of him. He states quite categorically that the law is witness to and external deposit of our moral law.
And that means that the law is to be taken seriously. Those that do not understand the import of law will live to pay for it. The law part is to be learnt by all in this country. Only then will the moral courage be present to take the country to its logical conclusion. The public cannot be indifferent to what is happening. If that happens then the time of each one of us will be there and we will not be supported by any one. The boundaries of law have not been understood and the dogma continues. Should a judge be a man of the street? Obviously not? Should he be isolated from the street? Obviously not. Should he have the right to be in a political party? Obviously not.
When there are so many obviously nots what then he should do that his life is worth his while. The problem is in the powerstructure that does not desist from interference in the judicial work. The political party does not want to see defeat in a country as viciously organized as Pakistan. A loser has no right to live and the victor is pretty nasty. Both lost out on decency. Are the lot that try and influence the judiciary not corrupt? To say that money constitutes corruption is naïve. The real danger to Pakistan is the unforeseen slavery to the power[s] that be. If you examine the two governors – KB and Monem Khan – my opinion was and is that KB was a saint when compared with Monem Khan. Monem Khan was ripped apart when he lost power because the people of East Pakistan remembered his acts of commission. Monem Khan’s generations were murdered save one grandson who was studying in Lawrence College. KB was also murdered and he never got justice. People that do not provide justice receive the same treatment.
Do Pakistanis realize their moral duty or they are ignorant of it. It is moral duty of every citizen to convey any criminal activity that he is witness to. Does that happen? These colonial laws that we implement through courts are faulty. The other day I was talking to a group of lawyers and explained my concerns. They agreed. They all agree but seldom do anything about it.
Let us move a little towards the rural side. Do you think that they are human beings? Do you think that they deserve anyconsideration by the government – any government? The rural areas have been vilified by the industrial class and all kinds of mafia who practise money as their religion. And I daresay that most of the bureaucracy, politicians and now media people are also involved in this money game – fair or foul. The results will not be fully endorsed unless all those that have assets beyond their known means of income are hauled up. The only disciplined institution is the Army and they have to do the needful.
Where and how did we lose the moral compass and our virtues? This is important for us to understand. The political governments when they want to use a member of the bureaucracy some examples will clarify. Either he has to be a junior given charge of e senior appointment or he has to be a son in law of a powerful personality who will then be blackmailed in to doing things that they cannot say no to. The powerful sons-in-law will be made to do the needful for the government of the day.
Fulton was right when he pin pointed that the bureaucracy has to follow rules and procedures for recruitment as well as promotion and subsequent service matters. Waqar hated the civil service for he was unable to get in to it. He is no more; therefore, I would let the good be interred with his body. I was a great admirer of Lew Kwan Yew and in one meeting with him in Singapore, I enquired as to how he managed the bureaucracy and how he was able to remunerate them at par with the income of the private sector. His way was clear and the management of the bureaucracy was rigidly followed in terms of procedures and processes. In other words both concepts and cognitive abilities were recognized.
The East India concepts were done away and a civil service on merit was established by British. Over years those that were unable to get in to the civil service campaigned hard against it. The police had its own grouse. Before 2004 there was not a single death of a police man in the affairs of the state. Now we have forgotten how many families have lost their bread earners. Recreate moral campus and stop baseless decisions. Fear is never successful in public policy.
— The writer is a retired Federal Secretary based in Islamabad.