I remember when I first did a show on television about fake degrees some people told me I was trying to create a big deal out of nonentity. A few months later it transpired that dozens of parliamentarians were the proud holders of forged degrees and those were not even worth the paper they were printed on. Last week when I brought the scoop of bogus votes, everyone was stunned. Luckily, the NADRA without delay owned up my story and firmly endorsed it though some officials there kept inquiring how I got it in the first place. Well, a reporter never discloses his or her source. Kanwar Dilshad, the former secretary of the Election Commission, also confessed that he was aware of millions of phony votes but insisted they were the doings of NADRA and the Election Commission had nothing to do with that. Either way the cat is out of the bag now.According to rough estimates over 360 million votes registered in Pakistan are phony and unaccounted for. This puts the blame directly on the beneficiaries. No wonder some political big wigs are rude to the extent of being arrogant knowing full well that they have mastered a plan whence no one can challenge their status quo. Sadly for Pakistan the status quo means non-existence. The country is fast slipping into more chaos and misery than ever before. Though I am a great advocate of democracy, I see no reason to endure with a parliament that brags of almost 45 % bogus votes undoubtedly reflecting that the nation never really had a chance to vote their representatives in the corridors of power and that a number of infiltrators have penetrated in place of those who should have been there in the first place.The problem is not as simple as it sounds. When I first probed a fatal air crash in Islamabad I was shocked to learn that some people in the air traffic control room too could have been possessing bogus degrees. Thats a possibility which cannot be ruled out. It gives me shudders to think that virtually every crash we have ever had in the country ends up with blaming the pilot. One reason is that the Civil Aviation Authority that should be included in the probe is the body that does the probe and hence their follies and blunders can be easily squashed. Consider the number of fake doctors or quacks in the country. From enthusiastic complex dental surgeries to prescribing life threatening drugs these quacks go on attacking humanity mercilessly every day of their lives. A number of advertised plastic surgeons are just general surgeons and are advertising their fake skills blatantly. The large numbers of C-section operations performed by gynecologists are unnecessary and merely means to a better paycheck.Counterfeit currency notes are not new, and bogus degree holders applying for immigration are also emerging phenomenon. A look at the number of cases in the courts will reveal that a vast majority of all pending cases in the courts are those that arise out of land disputes or revenue offices. There are hundreds and thousands of fake claims over properties. The issue is threatening to become even larger due to the fact that it goes unchecked. Encroachments and illegal construction is not restricted to popular plazas but even some so called madrasshs and places of worship are not spared as a consequence. Garments and accessories from Thailand and China are being blatantly sold in open market claiming to be originals and labels on imported food items are tampered to change the expiry date by the manufacturer. If that was not enough, there are claims of nepotism in the selection of our national sporting teams, be it cricket, hockey or even snooker.The question is where we go from here. Obviously, while we can laugh at the politicians and point fingers on those we dont like, the honest truth is that we are either lying ourselves or accepting a lie in our daily lives in one form or the other. The truth is that Sharifs are not really what they claim to be and patriots have palatial homes abroad. The poor steal water and fodder while the rich are busy in robbing everyone. Media moguls have been involved in the procurement and illegal sale of pricy newsprint and are to be blamed for claiming false sales to boost advertising revenues. Without trying to make a sweeping statement, I may dare add that to-date I have not come across a genuine business tycoon in this country who has not been the beneficiary of some relaxed regulation. Rules that give us an opportunity to dig gold while the others drag painfully behind.Is there any hope for a country that can be attributed with so many fakes? Is there really light at the end of the tunnel or has that been switched off due to load shedding? Where do we go from here if we are to reach anywhere? For me anyone got a Panadol, please?