The Nation, Lahore

28 Rabi-ul-Awwal, 1419 - Thursday, July 23 , 1998, Lahore Pakistan  



No more luxuries, please!

Dr Rana Jawad Asghar

A few days ago, there was a headline in a local newspaper. The President of Pakistan, retired Justice Mr Tarar, while talking to newsmen asked of the nation to be ready for more sacrifices. In another statement he said that the solution to all problems of Pakistan was "Islami Nizam" or an Islamic system. In the same newspaper, it was mentioned that his son Dr Amer while driving a Presidency's 1600cc luxury car was stopped by robbers and his car was snatched from him in Lahore. The Lahore police DIG who was on vacation in Murree cut short his vacation and rushed back to Lahore the same night. The police of the whole city got on alert and by next day, our efficient police discovered the stolen car. The whole incident proves many things. First, why did our simply-living and God-fearing President allow his son to use the official car while preaching Islamic system and preparing the nation for more sacrifices. Second, it again established that our police always has enough information about crime and criminals and it can solve them quickly if it really wants to do it.

Now what is "Islami Nizam"? Is it just lashes and other severe punishments? Doesn't it mean that "Islami Nizam" means that there is no difference between a common man and the rulers? How come our whole police is mobilised for a car theft of a high official but not for daily murders and robberies taking place in the same city, even in the same neighbourhood. Does the "Islami Nizam" allow millions of rupees being wasted daily on luxuries of rulers (even now) when we are almost a bankrupt nation.

In another news item, it was mentioned that for the construction of Prime Minister's secretariat, our cash-strapped nation spent one hundred crore rupees. Nearly ten crore of rupees were spent on furnishing alone. This project was favourite of all three Prime Ministers starting from late Junejo, then Benazir Bhutto and current Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif. How come all these soft-hearted, God-fearing and sympathisers and champions of poor, never objected this huge wastage of money while we are on the top of list of deaths of pregnant mothers in delivery and also in deaths of infants in their first year of life. Our huge proportion of population doesn't have even access to clean water but none of these leaders thought of giving it the first priority.

Now Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has decided to leave the secretariat and has already moved to a small office complex. Pakistan TV showed a newsreel about this event in which the sobre-looking Prime Minister was examining his new offices. It was shown to make the point that our Prime Minister is also implementing strict austerity measures along with the nation in these hard times. But I felt that the new offices even though small had all the luxuries. The thick and soft carpets, the expensive-looking furniture, heavy curtains, do not give the impression that this is an office of a leader of a nation which is so cash-strapped that it has even confiscated its own people's money and all this, with no distinction between halal and haram income. One of our friends lately joked that with our state of affair and economic condition and with the long history of incompetence, both from military and civil rulers, our leaders should now sit and work under trees.

There was yet another story that as the Prime Minister wanted to set free a tiger cub to jungle himself, a helipad was prepared in some village by destroying nearly ready fields. The whole local administration spent money and time to make preparation for his visit. And at the last moment, the Prime Minister decided not to go and everything went to waste.

The President of Pakistan and for that matter any other high-level executive or official does not need new legislations to implement Islam. They first need to implement it first in their homes, offices and their businesses. Islam is not just name of some rituals. It is a complete way of life. You guys have always preached it and nows its time to practice it too for a change.

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