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Honest and corrupt officials

by Atta Qasmi
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Atta Ul haq Qasmi

Life is being spent among good and bad people, meeting people of high status as well as those who do not fulfill human qualities. However, my standard for testing humans was quite unique, because humans are prone to mistakes. And since I also consider myself human with all my shortcomings, where I feel ashamed of my own mistakes, I give others the opportunity to feel ashamed of their own mistakes as well. There is only one thing on which I do not compromise, which is violating all ethical boundaries for the sake of acquiring wealth. I have seen many devout, hajjis, and pious people who, even in darkness, spot a coin lying in a corner and immediately grab it, their greed never reaching an end. They keep checking their bank balance until their last breath. Every human being desires the basic necessities of life and even the means to live a comfortable life, and I have seen thousands of people who spent their entire childhood in extreme poverty, spent many years of youth in a state of unemployment, yet through continuous struggle, they achieved everything they wanted with honesty and integrity, which was their right and their desire.

On the contrary, there are people among us who resort to dirty work to achieve their dirty ambitions. They embark on this journey of life without any peace of mind or slight guilt, constantly searching for ways to fulfill their desires. I won’t say that some of them even wish for death while lying on a hospital bed, grinding their teeth in agony, in the realm of sickness. However, their wish does not come true, as I have seen many good people also go through the same situation. I won’t say that they go to the grave with empty hands, wondering which expensive shopping items they missed out on because they couldn’t afford them due to their empty pockets. I won’t say that they will be thrown into the blazing flames of hell. The scholars have already told them the solution in the repetition of their worship. They spend their entire lives with their dirty ambitions, humming this poem, and now they pass away peacefully. Only God knows what the news of the afterlife will bring.

There are people found in every field of life, such as traders, scholars, generals, lawyers, journalists, politicians, and judges; their corruption shakes the foundations of the country. The greed for money of any one of them is no less than the destruction and ruin of another. However, the harms of corruption in the bureaucracy are of a different nature; they have to run the country’s system and receive orders from above. There are also those among them whose hidden motives are corruption, and if these motives are fulfilled, both the giver and the taker suffer. However, in the past, there have been bureaucrats who led extremely honest lives. Some of the names that I remember are Mukhtar Masood, Manzoor Elahi Sheikh, Qudratullah Shahab (some references differ), Mehr Jeevan Khan, Azeed Sher Dil, Dr. Safdar Mahmood, and many others who are the crown of our bureaucracy. Today, the bureaucrats among us, despite retirement, are still in our hearts with endless love. I am remembering the names of Masood Parvez, Tasneem Norani, Tariq Mahmood, and Murtaza Barlas among others.

Two clarifications are necessary regarding this matter. Firstly, during the early years of the establishment of Pakistan, there were numerous responsible and competent bureaucrats who played a significant role in building a strong foundation for the new country. Secondly, among the bureaucrats mentioned, most were either renowned writers or had a deep passion for literature. It seems that literature not only enriches the mind but also contributes to character building. One clarification is that I couldn’t mention all the worthy bureaucrats of the past and present, which is solely due to my weak memory.

Finally, the testimony of a corrupt officer! One day during a meeting, he said, “Mr. Qasmi, I have taken so many bribes that I have become thick-skinned, but my desires are still not fulfilled.”

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