Plots giveaway by PM: illegal, immoral and unethical -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Plots giveaway by PM: illegal, immoral and unethical

By Farrukh Saleem

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the 20th Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Jawad S Khawaja of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court Ejaz Afzal Khan are the judges of the superior courts who refused to accept plots from Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. Zaffar Abbas and Mariana Baabar are the two journalists who also refused to accept the plots.

Article 3 of the Constitution states: “The state shall ensure the elimination of all forms of exploitation and the gradual fulfillment of the fundamental principle, from each according to his ability to each according to his work.”

According to Supreme Court Lawyer Athar Minallah “plot throwaway by the Prime Minister of Pakistan is a blatant violation of Article 3 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.” Plus, adds Mr Minallah, “Islamabad Land Disposal Regulations 2005 do not allow any one – no one not even the prime minister – to allot plots in developed sectors.”

From a moral perspective, judges as well journalists, above everyone else, ought to conform to ‘principles of right and wrong’. Judges as well as journalists, above many others, ought to follow ‘standards of behaviour and character’ that are based on principles of right and wrong. Judges and journalists, above many others, ought to be seriously concerned about the rightness and wrongness of their actions. Morality, in that sense, is nothing but the ‘distinction between right and wrong, good and evil’.

Morality has both a descriptive and a normative dimension. Morality’s descriptive dimension revolves around ‘social mores’ and ‘cultural values’. It is unfortunate that our cultural values have degenerated to a point where accepting plots from the government has become more or less acceptable. Normative morality questions whether it is correct to hold social mores and cultural values that actually approve giveaways to people in ‘position of trust in order to corrupt their judgment’.

From an economic angle, this plot throwaway amounts to the “offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of something of value for the purpose of influencing the action of an official in the discharge of his or her public or legal duties”. Imagine; the World Bank says that 3 out of 4 Pakistanis make Rs170 per day or less (that’s some 140 million Pakistanis surviving on onions and lentils). Imagine; a plot with a market value of Rs10 million is allotted to you in return for a payment of Rs1 million. The graft-”an official gaining something of value, not part of his official pay, when doing his work”-in this case can easily be quantified: Rs9 million for a day’s work.

Democracy without morality, to be sure, is impossible. Do judges and journalists in their own opinion form an exception to the ordinary rules of morality? Remember; the “aim of morality is to give people a standard of action and a motive to work by which, they will not intensify each person’s selfishness, but raise them up above it.”
Source: The News
Date:11/6/2010