The asymmetrical movement of wealth has created islands of infinite wealth on the one hand and vast deserts of abject poverty and multitudes of have-nots.
By Gulsher Panhwer
Leakage of the news about allotment of plots of prime land in Islamabad to bureaucrats and judges stirred a storm in cup of tea but ruffled few feathers in corridor of power. This hum died within days as other issues of more importance moved in and occupied the print and air waves of media, ubiquitous TV channels and social media.
No doubt Pakistan hosts and perpetuates class based society since its inception. In fact, capitalism has divided the world into Have and have-nots globally. The asymmetrical movement of wealth has created islands of infinite wealth on the one hand and vast deserts of abject poverty and multitudes of have-nots.
But over the years in fear of spread of dreaded communism particularly after Soviet revolution, the proponent and perpetrators of capitalism around the wide world undertook and implemented radical reforms. These reforms tried to sooth the suffering of lower working class by fixing minimum working hours, minimum wage and other incentives. Thus in western world, the intensity and cruelty of capitalism has been mellowed to some extent.
But here in the land of pure there is widest gap between wealthy and poorest and situation has gone from bad to worst. However, the privileged class, including business tycoons, officialdom of rank and the judges from superior and even lower judiciary, politicians and other powerful groups, has all luxuries and privileges on their disposal. From cradle to grave or from womb to tomb they enjoy all amenities of life.
True, those who work hard and invest time and resources in their studies need to be rewarded with moderate salary package and pension. But besides exorbitant salaries packages, free travel allowances, royal palaces for residence and other perks and benefits, they are allotted more than one plots of land in prime locations of the cities or fertile lands. This is injustice to the teeming millions who are constrained to have two-time meal or those lower grade government servants who only get the meagre wages to keep their body and soul intact.
Awarding of these lopsided bounties are being justified on the peal that it will discourage corruption in civil officialdom and encourage judiciary for quick dispensation of justice. Both these proposition have proved a pipe dream. Thousands of pending cases and painfully slow moving mills of justice is glaring proof of justice delayed, justice denied maxim.
Amnesty international, media and other watchdogs and whistle blowers continue to produce and reproduce tons of repots about ever rising indices of corruption in Pakistan.
Thus it is crystal clear that exorbitant perks and privileges did work as check to corruption, inefficiency and wastage of loan loaded resources.
The fact of the matter is that this strategy of rewarding the top cogs of the governance machinery results in further corruption. For example, there appear countless allegations of nexus between ruling politicians and officialdom to indulge in corrupt practices. It is alleged that officialdom with rare exceptions helps the politicians in power to amass wealth through illegal means. Some officials eagerly do the binding of the men and women in power expecting fair share of the loot or get promotion etc.
Legacy of some top judges endorsing unconstitutional actions of the military and civilian dictators is etched in the memory of public
These discriminatory policies of paying fat salaries to on service and retried officialdom and retired judges and other infinite perks and privileges tantamount to clear violation of our constitution which in wider sense speaks equality. However, the government of the day violating the mandate of voters removes any and every constitutional check, by amending the constitution to fit their personal and group vested interests.
Mostly the legislation is opposed by opposition party not on the principles but the opposing party finds itself side-lined from accruing any benefits.
it is seen that those lower staff or even 17 and 18 grade staff of less privileged government departments, live in pecuniary after their retirement – Because they do not get enough amount in pension to support themselves. They don’t have any health insurance and in majority cases they haven’t been able to have their own house during their active service. After retirement either they spend the retirement amount on the construction of house, get their children married or their lifetime earning is consumed away on treatment of assorted ailment which emerge and exacerbate during old age. Thus they have to live life of misery, isolation, and mental agony.
On the other hand the officialdom of “prestige” and privileged departments get huge packages and or real estate benefit or fertile land or are appointed as chairpersons or head of the government and semi government entities. Thus they entertain themselves on farm houses, enjoy foreign trips and preside over big corporations. We never tire of boasting that we are following glorious principle of Islam including equality. But in fact our ruling elite are completely ignoring golden rules of Islam. They forget or completely ignore that our holy Prophet (PBUH) not only preached but also practiced the simple life himself. Hazarat Umer the second Caliph of Islam was asked by an ordinary person about length of the cloth of his shirt more than he was allotted and he explained it openly.
This ever widening gulf between privileged and underprivileged, between haves and have-nots would not sustain in long run. The ruling elite wasting and amassing wealth from the high interest loan which has accumulated in unstainable proportion and letting the less privileged to suffer hunger, diseases and death would lead us to disaster. Hope against hope is that better sense must prevail among those who are entrusted with responsibility to rule over us with justice. And would desist from acts of going extra mile to award privileged and do away with discriminatory economic policies.
Gulsher Panhwer is a freelance writer mostly touching the environmental, cultural and such other issues. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org