Abuse of discretionary powers

Published: April 13, 2012

LAHORE: It seems that for our ruling political elite and civil and uniformed bureaucracy, ‘discretionary powers’ have given them a licence to do what they wish to without regard to rules, laws, precedents, financial costs, public interest, penalties and impact on the fundamental rights of other citizens. How else can one explain the grant of 9,000kgs of ephedrine — which can be used in the production of lethal addictive drugs such as ecstasy — to two pharmaceutical companies based in Multan.  It was again an abuse of discretionary powers when the prime minister appointed a controversial figure to head public sector entities such as the OGDCL or NICL, when more competent, qualified and experienced officers were available. Today many state-run enterprises are suffering losses and pilferage because of appointment of corrupt and unqualified people to head these bodies.

It is again a repulsive tradition when senior bureaucrats and generals are allotted expensive real estate for doing what they are paid to do. Pakistan is one of the few countries of the world, where the state instead of taking care of the welfare and housing of the most deprived section of society, is instead involved in ensuring the welfare of its paid public servants and political elite, who are responsible for the chaos that this country today faces.

Malik Tariq Ali

Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2012.

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