There is no system of governance, including democracy, which can work without a moral code and the ultimate end must be providing welfare to most deprived sections of society and submitting all – whether the elite or the not-so-elite — to transparent accountability. This is the basic difference between democracy and dictatorship: where in the latter an individual’s order assumes force of state authority, in the former the elected executive has no absolute powers and is always subjected to checks and balances built into the system and judicial review.
Today, in Pakistan, there is neither an independent NAB, nor a powerful Auditor General, nor an Attorney General seen to be doing their jobs without executive interference. The mere process of elections does not make a democracy; it is the deliverance of good governance and a focus on collective welfare of a people in accordance with objectives laid down in constitution that makes it democratic.
In any other democratic government, it is top elected public office holders who lead by example. The manner in which our PM has accepted that expensive branded suits, ties, shoes and watches he adorns, are gifted to him by his friends would be enough to disqualify him.
On a recent TV talk show, two anchors, who like few others working in print or electronic media, are alleged to have received expensive gifts and assets from big business cartels, including a real estate tycoon who allegedly has showered similar favours on the son of our Chief Justice, like he has for sons and daughters of other important public office holders, it is ironic that they were pontificating on what they consider kosher for themselves. When public office is used to reward cronies and self with lucrative LPG quotas or RPP projects and expensive real estate, than culture of corruption thrives like it has in Pakistan.
In the developed democratic world, the onus is on an individual to account for assets that he owns and not for the state to prove him wrong.
Even in the rare cases where dictatorships have delivered like in Singapore and China, it is the leadership that sets the trend by following a strict moral code of ethics and neither they nor their family are ever seen to be receiving favours.
We are talking of gifts such as suits worth upwards of $5000, watches worth $20,000, limousines, villas etc worth millions of dollars. All this constitutes bribery. The Chief Justice has taken a moral high ground by putting his son in the dock, while the PM, President and others like Shujaat did not.