There are certain themes that I avoid writing about in Pakistan . One is religion, on which subject, I am not qualified to dwell. And the other is the ISI, which has always been something of an enigma, not just for me but for most people in this beleaguered republic. But there are also subjects that are pointless to write about, like corruption and education. There is too much of the former and too little of the latter, at least in the areas where it is desperately needed. But when the twain do meet, as they do in the province of Sindh, then we get the sort of fibre that has become an indelible part of the fabric of administrative corruption, which everybody has come to accept as normal and nobody, including the chief minister and the provincial governor, seem to care a hoot about. It’s become a part of the ethos of my province. When the planners get together at budget time with little pomp and less ceremony to discuss allocations and priorities, one discovers that the officials have an inordinate sense of carrying on from where they left off - the siphoning off funds issued by the World Bank and other donor institutions meant for the underprivileged members of society. And this is despite edicts from the high court to institute investigations and repeated warnings by Transparency International . It is obvious, however, that it is no longer a litany of misfortune and thwarted good intentions or even incompetence or inefficiency. It appears to be a clear case of misappropriation. I am talking about the funds ostensibly earmarked for the purpose of educating the youth and keeping them from mugging people in buses and at traffic lights, which, through a careful network of conduits, ends up in the wrong hands. This has been going on for years, especially in Sindh. Reams of text have been written about the problem and the authors, in their innocence, keep pointing out that something should be done. Now who is going to do this? The chap with the pips on his shoulder, who at least, insisted that people entering parliament should be graduates and is now being tried for treason? Or the chaps who issue licences every year to the Gulf sheikhdoms to decimate the wild life of Sindh, and especially, the endangered and protected Houbara bustards? On December 18 , The News International carried the sensational headline that there were 4,540 non-functional and 2,181 ghost schools in Sindh. Throughout the country, school buildings remain empty of students and instead operate as residences, barns, stables and offices of the police, paramilitary and an assortment of other officials. And to compound the crisis, teachers in these institutions are receiving their salaries on a regular basis. One of the last comments made by the former chief justice of Pakistan was: “This is what we are doing to our children when education is a constitutional right.” Of course it is. The only problem is nobody really seems to care that in the rural areas one-half of the country’s primary school-aged children and three-quarters of all girls are denied education. Now here’s something for the lads in the ministry of education in Sindh to mull over. I heard on the jungle telegraph that the foreign donor agencies were likely to discontinue feathering the nests of the chaps who were orchestrating the siphoning off of billions of rupees in Sindh, but will continue supporting Punjab. It will serve them right. But look at the irreparable damage being done to the poor people of Sindh.
Most Popular Stories
- Koch Brothers Step up Anti-Obamacare Campaign
- Vybz Kartel Convicted of Murder
- Stocks Close Lower Ahead of Crimea Vote
- Ulta Shares Look Good on Strong Q4
- FDIC Sues Big Banks Over Rate Manipulation
- Jittery Investors Dumping Russian Stocks
- JLo Turns the Tables in New Vid: 'I Luh Ya Papi'
- U.S. Consumer Sentiment Falls in Early March
- FDIC Accuses Big Banks of Fraud, Conspiracy
- Is Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 in Andaman Sea?