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How should bureaucracy react in times of crises?

The Nuremberg trial judges had rejected the ‘following-orders defence’ saying when an individual follows an order that is illegal under law, he is responsible for that choice.

But, what the civil and police bureaucracies do in the third world countries including Pakistan is quite alarming. They do each and everything that favours their political mentors. There are instances when they killed innocent people following the orders of their political bosses. Model Town massacre is the worst such example.

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After the Lettergate conspiracy, outgoing premier Imran Khan trumpeted to the extent that people believed what he said the coalition ruling PMLN has tried its level best to block the massive movement of people from across the country to the federal capital.

Though it is the constitutional right of every citizen to move freely and observe freedom of speech, what happened in the country to thwart the major opposition party PTI’s Azadi March towards Islamabad raised questions about the political norms.

The statements of key office-bearers like Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah ignite the fire that may engulf political harmony. He said that Imran Khan, with the help of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, has planned to attack the federal capital using the province’s resources.

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A PTI worker, Sharafat Ali, responding to Sana’s remark, said that the statement of the interior minister showed that he was quite ignorant of his cabinet colleague Bilawal Bhutto’s long march towards Islamabad. He said that the person who was assigned a crucial portfolio of maintaining law and order has himself become a catalyst to disturb it.

Mohammed Iqbal who took part in PTI’S Azadi March in Lahore advised Punjab Police and Sindh Police to be loyal to the nation, country and people of Pakistan. He warned that they should not serve two political families, Sharifs and Bhuttos. He said that they had looted and plundered the national wealth and dumped it abroad.

In another development, the Islamabad High Court has also directed the government to stop arrests. Moreover, the Supreme Court bench has also directed the Islamabad chief commissioner to provide a plan for the government to allow a planned rally in Islamabad.

The political struggle by the parties in third-world developing countries usually leads to entering into the power corridors but sometimes some leaders cross all limits and forget the fatal consequences. The movement against Bengali people who wanted their language as a national language created chaos and led the world community to celebrate world language day.

The consequences of this single incident led to polarization and ultimately the disintegration of the country. In 1973, at the famous Liaqat Bagh party workers and followers of Wali Khan were brutely killed, which also led to hate against the federation and the state. Many workers and followers of Wali Khan migrated to Afghanistan. The infamous Lal Masjid case was also one such incident that could be avoided. The incumbent political setup should avoid such blunders that the country could not afford. The use of police force, tear gas, blockage of roads and so many other such measures don’t show the soft corner.

When visionless political leaders or dictators took such decisions that serve their short-sighted goals the state has to suffer in the days to come.

Ex-prime minister Bhutto was the one who strengthened his rule and weakened the system and the state institutions. His successor dictator general Ziaul Haque crossed all limits and did more political meddling in administrative affairs.

Over time democracy became a much-demanded commodity in the comity of nations.

Politicians who wanted to govern not serve, crossed all limits to get the votes of the people, manipulated the system and mandate and used all tactics to remain in power.

Politicians come and go, they have their interests but contrary to it bureaucrats remain in power permanently. History showed that the latter often failed to stick to rules and served as slaves to the rulers. They forgot that they are being paid from the taxpayers’ money.

The bureaucracy of the country should not forget the judges ruling at Nuremberg that illegal orders of the rulers have no binding on the officers. The political ruling elite should also realize that their short term goals have led the country into a state of lawlessness and turmoil. All the rival political forces should avoid acts that support polarization in the society that may lead to the disintegration of 1971. The Supreme Court may come forward to probe the reality of the foreign conspiracy as alleged by the ex-PM. If it was true, all characters who benefited from it should be punished, and, if not, then those who blamed should also face the music.

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