The News – Sunday, December 21, 2008
The controversy ignited by the issue of additional examination marks acquired by Farah Dogar, the daughter of Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Dogar, seems to be enwrapping others as well. A pamphlet circulated in the National Assembly says Maryum Nawaz, the daughter of Mian Nawaz Sharif, was able to obtain admission at a leading medical college in Lahore in 1992, after influence was used to arrange a migration from Rawalpindi. Ms Nawaz lacked the grades required to get into the more prestigious institution on merit. The story that circulated at the time spoke also of an unwilling principal who was transferred to pave the way for the privileged daughter. There is also talk of how Maryum Nawaz was re-admitted to the same college in 1998, during the second tenure of her father as prime minister, presumably as she failed to graduate successfully the first time round. The PML-N has denied the allegations made in the pamphlet. The PPP has denied any role in circulating it. But nonetheless, it is clear the acrimony between the two major political parties in the country is rising. This could have damaging manifestations in the days ahead. There is a reminder in the whole affair of the ugly, personalized politics that marred democratic rule through the 1980s. The post-February hopes of a new order of civilized cooperation are fading fast.
The issue of the two different daughters, who both benefited from the position their fathers occupied and their readiness to misuse power, is also a telling reminder of the way our society is structured. Nepotism and abuse of power are now a way of life. Few of us think twice about resorting to it. Our leaders, quite evidently, never hesitate at all. The latest disclosures are embarrassing for Mian Nawaz Sharif. They act to remove him from his pedestal and provide a reminder that we lack leaders capable of acting with integrity themselves but quick to point fingers at others who do so. This is our tragedy. It is one reason why we are unable to rise above the mundane when it comes to politics and why so much energy is consumed on unproductive issues that can in no way help the country to move towards the stability it so desperately needs in order to enable citizens, most of whom can of course never even dream of a place in medical college, to improve their lives.
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