Of hypocrisy and double standard

Shabbir Ahmad

OVER the ages, our political leaders often visit foreign countries and ask businessmen to invest in Pakistan. They assure them investors’ friendly environment but on the other hand these politicians have invested their own money in foreign countries. Earlier this year, Dubai Land Department stated that Pakistani businessmen, industrial tycoons and politicians have invested $ 2.18 bn in Dubai properties in 2015.
It clearly shows that the people who ask foreign investors to invest in Pakistan have invested their own money abroad. A lawyer had filed a petition in 1996 against 64 politicians who had transferred at least $300,000 million to foreign countries through money laundering, causing a huge loss to the national exchequer. Although the High Court issued notices to the concerned politicians but we haven’t heard much about that case. No surprises here as we know how judiciary works in our country. What to expect from a judicial system which acquits a man after 19 years in prison and term schizophrenia as “not a mental disorder”.
Different studies on leadership abilities have pointed out “honesty” as the most important leadership trait. “Honesty in leadership” is a rare commodity not only in Pakistan but all over the world and the result is what we see every day in news. Democracy is based on free and fair elections but the readers know how the election process works in our country. If election process is based on dishonesty then how can we expect from those elected people to carry out their official duties with honesty. Election campaigns show the worst form of political hypocrisy. Quoting American author Tenesse Williams, “the only thing worse than a liar is a liar that’s also a hypocrite”.
However, it is unfair to blame only political leaders. The public is equally responsible for this state of affairs. Our leaders are actually part of our society. Since they are in a position to make big decisions and large scale corruption therefore they appear in the news headlines. Common people cannot commit the same crimes since they have no resources for that; however they do whatever they can. A government employee will not perform his duty if there is no check on him. A doctor will prefer to sit in his private clinic instead of providing his services in hospital if the concerned officials do not check on him. Similar is the case with other professionals.
A fruit or vegetable vendor and a taxi or rickshaw driver will make the most of every opportunity he gets to deceive his customer. A government school teacher prefer to send his children to a private school while a doctor working at a government hospital take his family members to a private hospital. We earn money through illegal means. If a teacher, doctor, peon, driver, shopkeeper do not perform their duties honestly, his pay is illegal. Children brought up in this society observe their elders and follow them as they grow up. Hence it goes on generations after generations.
After these observations, if we want to blame politicians for their dual nationality or their offshore companies then we also need to have a look at our deeds. We, as voters elect those people and then start complaining about them. On one hand we want to change our lives, we want to bring prosperity to our country or at least to our homes but on the other hand we are not willing to vote for people among ourselves. We do not consider common people fit for our leadership.
This is the worst form of hypocrisy on our part. It’s difficult, if not impossible; to detach oneself totally from hypocrisy, but with the increasing level of hypocrisy, the human worth and dignity declines, and eventually the hypocrite arrives at a stage when it’s no longer possible to distinguish hypocrisy from serious efforts, when one is a hypocrite without being slightly aware of it. Unfortunately, most of us have crossed that stage.
— The writer is a freelance columnist based in Germany.

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