Questionable conduct

The prime minister also has some explaining to do: Why were so many rules violated in the grant of plots?

Editorial October 27, 2010

The shattering of faith is almost always a painful process. Many have suffered this pain on learning of the plots allocated by the prime minister’s secretariat to 100 judges between 2008 and 2010. This list, submitted to the Public Accounts Committee, includes the names of 16 Supreme Court judges. In some cases rules regarding plot allocations have apparently been violated, with judges serving outside Islamabad also allowed land in the capital.

It is true that the allocation of plots, some within rules, does not mean that the judges may have acted dishonourably or demonstrated bias. But suspicions will always surface with stories of this kind. Since 2007, the judges have assumed a status akin to heroes. This revelation has brought them back to the realm of reality and, in terms of perception, will inevitably have an impact on the way people look at them.

The issue brings forward another matter. Much of the issue of corruption lately has focused on politicians and accountability measures directed against them; in this process victimisation has been a focal point. It is widely believed that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), set up soon after General Pervez Musharraf seized power in 1999, lost much of its teeth after it decided not to go after the military or the judges. After 2001, political expediency, rather than a true desire to go after corruption, dominated much of what happened at the NAB. This is one reason why we have, through the years, heard very little about wrongdoings in institutions other than the executive.

The findings, to be reviewed by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, will be a matter of considerable public interest. The high profile adopted by the judiciary, by intent or accident, makes this all the more true. The prime minister also has some explaining to do: Why were so many rules violated in the grant of plots? What was the purpose behind this and what does this say about the nature of our state and all those whose role it should be to serve it with honesty and dedication?

Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2010.


Afzal Ali | 12 years ago | Reply PM and people who elect them have right to grant plots,waive off loans,sanction foreign medical service,appoint incompetent people on responsible jobs. This is beauty of democracy. Next time you have these sort of complaints,please be careful fo r whom you vote as the system has excellent skill at survival and status quo. The common citizen of the country will continue to suffer more and more.Please do not worry,we have sealed our fate with our vote
Zahid Hussain | 12 years ago | Reply Is it fair to blame the judges alone? According the story published in Exprees of yeasterday the beneficiaries belong to other groups also including journalists. Officers of the armed forces are entitled to more than one plot as per their service rules. So instaed of exclusively highlighting the error of personal restraint by the honorable judges, will it not be appropriate to nip the objectionable privilege in the bud through a unanimous declarartion by those who head the legislature, executive, judiciary, armed forces and media (owners and employees) that they will not avail the privilige from now on? Can the people of Pakistan expect that in future it will become unlawful to give land at concessional rates to any civil servant, public office holder, media owner / journalist and military official of any rank except those who give there lives while defending the country including staff of the law enforcement agencies? Our country is no doubt confronted with a number of shortcomings of governance but they have very simple quick solutions too. Only we have to point them out, show an easy way to address them efficiently and amicably and make sure that these shorcomings are not allowed to re-emerge.
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