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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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HomeOpinionLast time to change your group from crook to the nobel

Last time to change your group from crook to the nobel

'When we are going to rehabilitate the flood-stricken people, we are going to give them new zeal and courage to put the nation on the true path of development. They are going to live a new life. If it is given to them wrapped in corruption and hypocrisy, it will ruin the rest of their lives. But showing them real concern for their problems and giving them a strong corruption-free base with strong mettle roads will take them into very high spirits, and it will be a real asset to the nation'

It is said that life is not the destination, but the journey. Roads were made for journeys, not destinations. Getting shelter and some months’ food will not be the end of flood-stricken Pakistanis’ hardships. For their prime need of earning a livelihood, they need links between their dwellings and markets. Their kids will go to schools, workers to jobs, and the sick to hospitals. Roads are crucial in any case. Roads are arteries through which the economy pulses. Responsible officials need to be extremely vigilant and continuously keep an eye on all such development projects. The formation of local committees by civil society can play a pivotal role in the corruption-free completion of all such projects. In our official corruption traditions, it is a very common observation that, despite the allocation of proper funds, in rural areas and small towns, many roads have not been built for years. Annual repair funds are embezzled regularly, even in the case of those roads that were never constructed. There is no one to listen to indignant people’s hue and cry in this regard. Ingrate officials are tightly bound to the powerful mafia of the country. Since the embezzled amounts go from lower to the uppermost ranks, the corrupt don’t feel any hesitation in their black business.

During my childhood, I listened to a group of canal engineers discussing the percentage of the embezzled amount set aside for the repairs of canal banks. There are continual complaints from the villagers and landowners about the weak canal banks, which are never repaired. Heavy amounts allocated for repairs and emergencies are distributed so easily without any major differences between the engineers and sub-engineers. A good number of permanent and contract labourers are available to these engineers to keep the canal banks strong. But all of this labour also works in the homes of the officers and is sporadically seen on their duty. Engineers in big cities are no less tricksters than those responsible for rural areas’ development. I established a welfare society in the late seventies at Chohan Road, Lahore, and got ample opportunity to do a lot of social work for many years. For many years, Chohan Road remained in shabby condition. There were pitches after every yard, and residents were disappointed after writing so many applications to the relevant officers for the road’s repair. One day, some of our society’s members asked me to get a demand for the road’s repair in the local newspapers. I did so the very next morning, and our demand was published in all local newspapers.

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On the same day, when I returned from my university, I was stunned to notice that new fine patches of repair had covered the road, and after many years, traffic was running smoothly in our area. The next day, I met my friend Khushnud Qureshi, Chief Public Relations Officer of Lahore Corporation, in his office. I asked him about the secret of that sudden repair. It was amazing to our area community how a small news item could make the mare go so briskly. My friend, after making a little secret investigation, told me that after our repeated applications, the engineer of our area, with the collaboration of a so-called contractor, showed on paper the complete repair of the road and got the amount of his bill just ten days earlier. If this fraud came to the notice of high-ups of the corporation through your published demand, it could create big trouble for many people working here. This is why the contractor immediately arranged the repair of your road. Now if your complaint reaches the high-ups and some inquiry is conducted, they will be able to show this patchwork to the inquiry team. There are hundreds of true and created stories about the engineers’ corruption and it is fact that they never feel shy to receive their share of the embezzled funds even in the public. This corruption business can’t be stopped without political will. Imran Khan’s government did its best to avoid such embezzlements, and where they succeeded they showed the same quality work of the same size done with one-third of the amount by the previous governments.

When we are going to rehabilitate the flood-stricken people, we are going to give them new zeal and courage to put the nation on the true path of development. They are going to live a new life. If it is given to them wrapped in corruption and hypocrisy, it will ruin the rest of their lives. But showing them real concern for their problems and giving them a strong corruption-free base with strong mettle roads will take them into very high spirits, and it will be a real asset to the nation. On the other hand, by ignoring their problems, if they are not treated well and their future is ignored, then our enemies will be happy and we will have only a shallow feeling of nationhood.

Moreover, one thing which is very important to be noted at this juncture of national life is the political elite of the nation. If all the Ministers, Parliamentarians, and political elite do not bring out billions of rupees’ donations from their own pockets for the flood affectees, the nation will take their fake leadership at the toes of their boots.  Remember that nation knows a hundred percent that every member of the assembly and the minister has billions of rupees in his/her foreign banks as well as in his/her domestic banks. We also know who the people are who are in the habit of keeping crores of rupees at home in their personal custody. Boasting, and trickery is not going to work. It is the worst time in our national life. Willingly or unwillingly, if the so-called elite has to stay in this country with respect, they need to bring at least one billion rupees each out of their pockets. If they feel cleverer than the hungry and ravaged nation, they will make a mistake, resulting in a fate beyond their perceptions. This is the call of the time, ignoring it and not coming out of your comfort zone will ruin you too, and this opportunity for forgiveness will never come again!

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