I know a secret: Together at exclusive clubs
The list of people given complimentary membership of the club includes members of the intelligentsia.
The list of people given complimentary, or subsidised, membership of the Royal Palm Golf Club, built on 141 acres of prime real estate owned by Railways, includes members of the intelligentsia, military, media, politicians and bureaucrats.
The club keeps organising parties for the people that matter in the country. Only recently it hosted the wedding party of the son of a pir from Multan. Of late, these people have been worried about the fate of the club where they can enjoy meals with juices imported from France safe from the sea of misery and chaos outside.
Raymond Davis’s departure was facilitated by everyone who matters in Pakistan, with those who’ve ruled the country the longest leading the list. It was public pressure that forced the elected government to let the law take its course. Had it been in a military ruler, the man would have left in less than 24 hours. The religious leaders pressured the families of the deceased not to consider any offer of a settlement, but none of them, offered financial support. Finally, the families settled for umras, green cards and plenty of cash in a deal finalised by a lawyer known for his role in the missing persons case. The lawyer was flown in from Rawalpindi to finish what started off in Oman during a meeting between the top brass of Pakistan and the US.
Jati Umra has been built over hundreds of acres of land in Raiwind to house the ruling family of the Punjab. The family patriarch had lived in a three room mud house in an East Punjab village of the same name. The entire village in East Punjab consisted of over 20 acres of land. The Raiwind estate has four lane roads connecting it to Lahore. A road close to Jati Umra however remains in disrepair because it leads to an area called Bahli where some opponents of the Sharifs have bought land. These include a prominent private television anchor who is also a member of the Pakistan Peoples Party central executive committee.
The income tax returns of the heads of Finance Ministry and the Planning Commission would astonish many who pay their taxes and have declared all their assets. Nothing seems to have changed about these institutions except the names. Shoaib Ahmed and MM Ahmed have been replaced by two Sheikhs – one from Sindh and the other from Punjab. Both have dual nationalities and affiliations with IMF/World Bank and pay nominal taxes.
Published in The Express Tribune.