I know a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) who has developed a habit of taking homemade fresh mud-pot yogurt at his lunch in his office. His Sarkari Vehicle travels every day nearly thirty kilometers to his village to fetch that fresh delectable yogurt to satiate his crave for that particular yogurt. Angry Now! Yes, your anger is right as it costs nearly two thousand rupees every day of taxpayers’ hard-won money to get that 250gms of Chaati ki Dahi for that Bade Sahib. Ironically, the said DSP is considered HONEST among the few. This Chaati ki Dahi is a sneering emblem of all the rotten in our beloved country.
Unfortunately, this HONESTY is blatantly rampant and deeply rooted in our society costing billions to the poor of this country. Depending on the pay scales, the bureaucracy savors such privileges of free vehicles, fuel in litres and maintenance, and other allowances, all at the expense of the poor. Their government-provided vehicles are their jugular veins. They run all day dropping and picking the SAHIB to the office, his kids to school, Begum Sahiba to shopping, picking or dropping a friend or relative from the airport or some station. Sans this vehicle, there is little charm in the job. All over the world including the majority of the third world, except for security agencies, no government employee is given a government vehicle. The public employees have to use a metro or a private car with personal fuel to commute to their workplace.
This story doesn’t end here but it entails multiple sub-plots. Why are the employees of different power companies like LESCO, FESCO, PESCO, KE, etc. given free electricity units? Why and painfully Why? I can’t understand that! If any of my readers can, please let me know. Does a textile factory give free garments to its employees? Does a restaurant dole out free food to its workers’ families? I think no. These free electricity units to the employees accumulate to millions costing billions to the common electricity consumers. This is one of the major factors of high electricity prices to general consumers. Nowhere else on the globe, even in richer countries, the employees are given anything free at the expense of the taxpayers or the poor. I met a senior employee of the SOCAR, the largest energy company in Azerbaijan, and asked him what privileges he got working at SOCAR. He told me none, just salary. Rather, he was stunned when I told him about the free electricity, vehicles, drivers, residences, peons, and other privileges our bigwig government officials were enjoying here in Pakistan.
Do you know that the tea served at President and Prime Minister Offices right down to 16-Grade officers’ offices like Naib Tehsildar or SHO costs billions and that too, in our debt-ridden poor country? A few years back, I went to a Police Station in Spain. At break time, all the officials at that station were one by one putting a One EURO coin in the coffee machine to get a cup of coffee. It wasn’t free to them even in the largest economy in Europe. It may seem very cheap and lowly to talk about free vehicles, free electricity units, free tea, etc., but, as a matter of fact, these are those yet undiagnosed malaises that have contributed deplorably to the miseries of the poor in the shape of foreign debts ensuing inflation and poverty. All these privileges were introduced by the foreign invaders and then by the colonizing Great Britain. With the passage of time, these privileges became first norms, and then rights.
My scholarly readers, do you know there is no concept of providing office boys, peons, or whatever you name them anywhere on the globe? This is the source of widespread haughtiness, lethargy, and corruption. These office boys and peons are not only often used to do SAHIB’s daily domestic chores but also to chaffer kickbacks rates, and more sorrowfully, as pimps to their masters on weekends. It is a painstaking job for the distressed public to cross this first-level red-tape of these deal-boys.
The nouveau riche of the society spend millions on womanizing, alcohol, and lavish gifts to forge relations with these bureaucrat BABUS for their own vested interests. This misfortunate and vicious cycle is perpetual and deep. The reciprocity of this system-for-the-few is making the rich richer and the poor further poorer. What we cannot forgive the rulers for the past 40 years are the intentional destruction of the system and the systematic degeneration of every institution creating an indelible circle of the cronies and favorites for their personal aggrandizement. I left the conclusion to my readers to think that how we can get rid of this thoroughly topsy-turvy system.
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