Masquerade

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A news report few days ago reported that a man masquerading as the Health Secretary was arrested at the Sialkot Civil Hospital.

It appears the enterprising gentleman, needing a medical certificate for a friend, arrived at the hospital, made his way to the Medical Officer on duty, and demanded to be issued with the required document. When the doctor refused, he threatened him (the MO) and other medical personnel with dire consequences, in his capacity as the Health Secretary.

The MO called the police, the mans real identity was discovered, and he was placed under arrest.

What a refreshing story. A man has the temerity to do something that he shouldnt, and is arrested for his pains. Not something that happens very often out here. One wonders, though, about varying scenarioswould the MO have summoned the police if the man really had been the Health Secretary demanding an undeserved certificate, and would the police have arrested him if so.

The fake Health Secretary was so obviously emulating the corruption of important government officials who swagger and bluster in public places, make unreasonable demandsand get away with it. It was his bad luck that he was detected, and didnt succeed. But oh my goodness, the number of people who do! They actually are the big noise, they arent pretending, and they manage to break the law and get away with it. This is what big noises in this country do, and it is what the public has come to expect of them.

There are many cases that illustrate this point. Here are a measly few, of comparable significance:

In October this year, our Foreign Minister Mr. Qureishi was accused of trying to push his favoured candidates into foreign office jobs. Officials at the ministry who prefer to remain anonymous agree that under a quarter of the jobs went to people pushed through by the Foreign Minister and his junior Minister Malik Amad Khan. The Ministers remain at large, unlike the hapless gentleman at the Sialkot Civil Hospital.

And then theres the case of the Prime Ministers son whos Mercedes car was stopped by a traffic warden earlier this month, because it sported tinted windows.

As a precaution against terrorism it is illegal to drive a car that has tinted windows in Pakistan. So, what applies to the goose should also apply to the gander, right? Not, as we all know, in the land of the pure.

Not only did very senior persons such as Rana Sanaullah and the chief Traffic Officer rush to the Prime Ministers house, no less, to soothe ruffled feathers and tut tut over the situation, but it was denied that the warden was made to apologise to the Gilani scions (are the Gilanis a dynasty or something, like the Bhuttos?)

Now when something is denied in Pakistan, its a sure indication that theres a no smoke without a fire lurking around somewhere in the picture. So hmm.

The report also said that the Gilani scions were assured that action would be taken against the warden if it was found that he had been negligent.

Action? Negligent? The man should have been commended for doing his duty and stopping the car never mind to whom it belonged. I hereby do it now, for what it counts.

And then of course the Interior Minister, Rehman Malik (bless the man hes always in the thick of everything) is said to be using four official cars while he is entitled to just one. The last time I checked there was just one Mr. Malik, maybe hes cloned himself, or something? What a charming thought four Rehman Maliks! Four of him telling the nation very definitely and exactly what happened, and who was responsible, following every episode of terrorism.

Not only are these people never brought to book, but should it ever that someone is, it is always the underling, the dispensable junior officer who is pushed forward and who takes the flak.

Imran Khan has been quoted as saying, Personally I dont think solving corruption is such a big problem. Maybe its your turn at the wicket, Mr. Khan. Lets see you hit that lot for a six if you can. Please make it a six, six and a four, like you did once, a very long time ago.