While there has been much focus on corruption in certain instances in our country, it is astonishing what deeds politicians get away with. Few questions are asked by their parties and it appears that only some accounts of wrongdoing hit the media. At present, former Punjab chief minister Sardar Dost Muhammad Khosa is in the news once again. It ought to be noted that Khosa, the youngest son of Sardar Zulfikar Ali Khosa, a PML-N veteran and senior adviser to the Punjab government, had been accused in 2011 of having allegedly murdered his ex-wife, a film actress. A case was registered against him in March 2012, and he subsequently resigned from the Punjab government following a request from the chief minister, who noted that the criminal case against Khosa was embarrassing the government.
But it seems that there is further embarrassment to be faced by the Punjab government. We learned from a report in this newspaper that Khosa, who was allocated an official residence as chief minister, a post he served between April to June 2008 as a ‘stand-in’ for Shahbaz Sharif, first had the bungalow provided to him in the GOR-1 area of Lahore, lavishly furnished and refurbished. Then, when he vacated the residence in November 2011, after a falling out with the government in which he had held two ministries, he is reported to have taken away items worth four million rupees, as he shifted to a private residence. Since then, furniture, paintings and other such items are believed to have been shifted to the Khosa ancestral residence at Dera Ghazi Khan, making them far harder to retrieve.
As would be expected under such circumstances, Khosa and his staff have denied wrongdoing. No reply has been made to a letter sent out by the Communications and Works Department seeking a return of these items. Some sub-standard pieces of furniture were reportedly handed in but have been rejected by the department. The former chief minister must not be allowed to get away with this act. The chief minister of Punjab, who has spoken so often against corruption, must act and back what he says, so that a proper example can be set to others.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2012.