A seat in the National Assembly should bring with it responsibility and a readiness to set an example. Instead, it too often does just the opposite. This has proved true even in the case of MNA Jamshed Dasti, who, during his election campaign and before, consistently projected himself as a ‘man of the people’, picking up a huge amount of support as an ordinary man rather than a powerful politician like his opponents. With this slogan, he entered the NA as an independent candidate and retaining this status voted for Mian Nawaz Sharif in the prime ministerial poll.
However, it seems Dasti is not yet ready to embrace his status as an ‘ordinary’ citizen when it comes to routine matters. According to a report in this newspaper, this weekend he evaded the Motorway Police three times along the motorway, as his driver sped away apparently on the MNA’s instructions to avoid receiving a speeding ticket for breaking the speed limit. When Dasti’s vehicle was
finally stopped at the Swabi Interchange, he argued fiercely against the Rs700 ticket, threatening the police officers with dire consequences if they did not respect what he called his privilege as a parliamentarian and his dignity.
The incident is a deeply saddening one. It indicates the mindset of our politicians, even those who claim to belong to the ranks of the poor, and illustrates how power can corrupt. We must hope that parliament shows an ability to back right rather than wrong when Dasti moves the matter for the privilege committee of the lower house as he is almost bound to do. The police officers concerned must not in any way be punished for performing their duties so diligently; indeed, Dasti ought to explain to us why he attempted to try and escape the law. We badly need to establish the rule of law for all citizens if we are to get away from our present state of disorder and this is something we must make every effort to do with the help of lawmakers and others with influence.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2013.
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