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- Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - From Print Edition

During the era of enlightened moderation a sophisticated-looking prime minister promised us ‘clean water for all by Dec 31, 2007’. An amount of approximately Rs20 billion was allocated for this project. However, the majority of people today are getting no water at all: neither clean nor polluted. Cantonments like Rawalpindi and Chaklala, right under the nose of the GHQs, are no exceptions. Just like Karachi, we are in the clutches of the tanker-mafia. Government officials following the example of their political masters are totally unresponsive and indifferent. Serving their bosses is the mission of their life. Whatever little water is supplied, especially in the congested interior areas of cities, stinks of sewage. In the rural areas humans share water, at the ponds and canals, with cattle. This is equality at its best. Billions disappeared on the pretext of “clean water for all” and no one punished.

We can expect nothing good from accountability institutions. Here is an example. A couple of years ago, a project to reduce the effects of drought in Cholistan had been initiated. While a large number of men, women and children died of thirst in Cholistan, funds allocated for this project were swallowed up by government officials in Islamabad. This ruthless plunder was amicably settled by the Public Accounts Committee in Feb 2010. Sardar Bahadur Khan, who was a member of the committee, remarked at the end of this settlement: “If we, the politicians, commit even a minor crime we are sent to jail. When a crime is committed by a bureaucrat like the one sitting in front of us, everybody in the civil service joins hands to give him a clean chit,”(The News, Feb 10, 2010). Let us have no doubt that ‘lutto tay phutto’ – plunder and run – is the name of the game all over the country.

Brig (r) Usman Shah