According to a recent report in The Express Tribune, the Accountant General (AG) Sindh, Drawing and Disbursement Officers (DDOs) and other higher officials are allegedly involved in a multi-billion embezzlement termed by Transparency International as the biggest corruption scam in the history of Pakistan. Out of a total sum of Rs. 24.26 billion, a whooping Rs. 883.500 million, it is alleged, was illegally transferred into the accounts of the District Accounts Officer (DAO), Hyderabad.
The biggest criminals wear ties, they say, not tattoos. One shudders at the thought of men so hollow from the inside, that no amount of human suffering – let alone feeling – appeals to their spirit. Lust has all but scooped the empathy out of them. Chained by indifference and drunk in desire, they are the self-proclaimed masters of the fates of millions.
What really pinched me, though, was not so much the nature of the perpetrators, as the details of the victims. Four hundred and forty one widows. Let that sink in. Four hundred and forty one women who lost their husbands and their chief breadwinners, were subjected to a crime as heinous as this.
God knows how many children will have to be dropped out of schools, how many relatives lost to disease and how many festivities evaporated in adversity before the money can be finally appropriated to where it should be.
And who were their husbands? Policemen who died in the line of duty. Martyrs. Let that sink in too. Four hundred and forty one policemen – the least respected professionals in our society – who were the vanguards in an endless battle against crime and criminals. Men who deemed anything short of their own worthy existence as unworthy of sacrifice.
Lessons in dedication. Lessons in courage.
The fact that these men knew first-hand the people we only claim to know, makes them worthy of our profound respect. They knew that after them their families would be at the mercy of people who know no mercy to begin with. And yet, they chose to leave. Because their devotion to duty was selfless and unconditional.
The apathetic and unfeeling, but, do not agree. Or they don’t want to. And this system makes sure they don’t have to. The reported Rs.24.26 billion is just the amount brought to light following the completion of inquiry into matters till the year 2011. The misappropriations since are yet to dance into the spotlight.
By the time the accused are convicted, if at all they are, the state will have lost billions more of the sum collected from none but ordinary citizens – including the victims of this particular scam. And by the time the money is recovered, if at all it is, irreversible damage to the lives of countless people will have been done. God knows how many children will have to be dropped out of schools, how many relatives lost to disease and how many festivities evaporated in adversity before the money can be finally appropriated to where it should be.
How was it that we reached this sad state of affairs? Where was it that this began?
Oh, I know! It began with lust scooping the humanity out of humans.