—Photo Illustration by Faraz Aamer Khan/Dawn.com

The Khadim-i-Aala, Punjab’s yellow cab scheme is amazing. It is amazing because it will provide self-employment to thousands of people who will win the right to own a cab which is being leased out at very easy installments in a transparent manner by holding a lucky draw of sorts. But the pity is that very few people in the province are aware of the scheme, and perhaps the government is not seeing the kind of run on the banks to apply for the scheme that it expected — ostensibly because no free Umrah tickets are offered to the winners as an incentive. How very odd. Perhaps that’s why the scheme needs to be heavily advertised at public expense in major newspapers and on TV alike. Creating awareness about the scheme is obviously more important than investing the money being spent on advertisement into a few hundred more yellow cabs.

See, the people have the right to know what their Khadim (servant) is doing for them; because unlike in the Kingdom of Islam presided over by another royal Khadim, of whom our Khadim had been a privileged guest during the traitor Musharraf’s undemocratic and obscenity-filled era when girls danced to blaring, vulgar Indian songs on Lahore’s rooftops as they celebrated Basant, ours is a democracy where even such khadims are answerable to their masters, i.e. the public. What a contrast, really, hence the knockout advertisement campaign.

You are a fortunate person today to be visiting or living in Lahore. Here you can see for yourself the working of a government that responds to the people’s needs. Because we live in times that favour no one, it is important that you be stopped for inspection by the police as you drive through the city — as often as the threat level on a given day merits. The presence in the city, of course, of outlaws that are obviously not local, is the reason why there are so many police pickets in Lahore every few blocks. However, cell phone snatchers, the armed dacoits and ruffians terrorising the citizens of the city come dressed in camouflage. Sporting urban attire on the criminals’ part is only an indication of how fast Punjab is urbanising and progressing. Unfortunately, with this also comes crime, as it does in Chicago and New York, for instance, it can well be argued.

Lahore is the safest city to be in Pakistan today, that is, if you have a connection in the right quarters. For instance, if you know Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, you can be treated well in a government hospital if you have Dengue fever.  Bureaucrats reportedly denied admission to the Services Hospital, Lahore, for treatment are obviously jealous of Punjab government’s exemplary initiative to combat the Dengue epidemic. The Khadim-i-Aala’s government has taken the right step by allowing the Lahore city district government to sell the chemical liquid to citizens to spray it in their respective areas even though the labels on the bottles of the spray state clearly that it is for government use only and not for sale to the general public. Very pragmatic and transparent indeed.

The Khadim-i-Aala is very fond of threatening the bureaucrats of hanging them upside down if an irregularity is reported about their conduct and the way they handled a given situation. That he does not promise himself a similar punishment says a lot about his sense of responsibility. There’s a catch here. He alone is the last recourse for setting all the wrongs right in Pakistan’s largest province. He indeed is irreplaceable; therefore sanity demands that he be the arbiter of all things and decisions fair.

The facts that people may be dying of dengue fever in Lahore, and others may be drowning in the floodwaters of Sutlej River, fade in the face of the challenges that Sindh’s flood affected people are confronted with, especially in the face of the apathy shown to them by that province’s administration. How the Khadim-i-Aala, Punjab, wishes that his Sindhi counterpart followed his glorious example. And that is, that, in his own words, he will “hang upside down” the officials he finds responsible for adding to people’s misery.

Because the Khadim-i-Aala, Punjab, means everything he says, and shows it through his actions, it is expected that Punjab police will now stop harassing motorists, the commercial theatre workers and ordinary citizens going there, and set out on the trail of real criminals, nab them and get them prosecuted through the very efficient justice system that we have in the post-Musharraf Punjab.

All power to the good intensions of the Khadim-i-Aala, Punjab. How one wishes his conduct shames his counterparts in the other provinces into following in his footsteps and doing the right thing by their respective people.

The writer is a member of the staff at Dawn Newspaper. 

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Comments are closed.

Comments (49)

September 9, 2011 1:20 pm
Wow..the hate factory is in full swing. Churning out smoke of contempt cloaked by veil of liberalism and democrazy. Once gain the Punjab hate train is on time.
September 9, 2011 2:15 pm
man, this is such a biased article. It sounded as if it was a tribute to the so-called khadam-e-alla.
Rizwan Rauf
September 9, 2011 2:21 pm
very shameful and derogatory remarks and thinking about a person who atleast have courage to do something new. Alsa! we see the -ve side of every thing.
September 9, 2011 2:52 pm
Are you kidding me? I am not fan of any political party but at least he is trying to do something. It is so much easier to criticize rather to get up and be part of the solution. So far the author seems to be part of the problem.
September 9, 2011 3:20 pm
I love writings from you and Nadeem Paracha. But, why you guys hate Punjab/Lahore and how can you?...aren't you the part of it?..You're mentioning Punjab/Lahore in every line, totally biased, Lahore is not different to the other Pakistan....I like your criticism but it should be for all Paksitan !!...we all are Pakistan not Punjabi or Sindhi. You mentioined "if you know Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, you can be treated well in a government hospital if you have Dengue fever"...this is true, but true for all Pakistan, it happens in karachi and Peshawar too...here we're, this is Pakistan ! I'm disappointed on You..
September 9, 2011 3:59 pm
But the writer is a pucca Lahori and Punjabi, so how could he be anti-Lahore?
Atif Amin
September 9, 2011 4:45 pm
Undoubtedly Lahore is the safest and best city to live in Pakistan because its administration is not under the control of MQM or PPP. The writer is fully biased due to the grudge he carries with him against good governance in Punjab (compare to all other provices, punjab has Good Governance). Very shameful article. Punjab is the biggest province and despite its more administrative challanges it is safer than then ones smaller depicts the administration at its best.
September 9, 2011 5:39 pm
I am sure writer is not serious :)
September 9, 2011 5:49 pm
Thank you for sharing your thoughts but no thanks for the allegations you place upfront. I was watching Kamran Khan Program last night and he proved that how easy it is to blame and put allegations on someone in Pakistan, and you just strengthen his point. I mean by saying what you are saying does not makes it a saying. All you seem to be doing is criticizing out of the irritation a common man face all around Pakistan. And I agree to this extent, but when it comes to point fingers on someone, let’s be fare!
September 9, 2011 6:23 pm
Writer needs to draw a parallel between Khadim-i-Ala in Lahore and self exiled Supremo living lavishly in London. I am sure he will find that Khadim-i-Ala has better score card.
September 9, 2011 7:30 pm
i'm from Peshawar and would be more than happy to lease out our province to the Sharif's. i know they will have their ways with the public money but at least they will have something to show to the people at the end of their term.
Shams Malik
September 9, 2011 7:34 pm
First the article Lahore in free fall on 26 Aug and now another article by the author shows the biased attitude towards the tenants of one city only. I think the articles like these should be written and criticism is good but if one personality is targeted time and again then the readers started to think otherwise.
Waqas Aziz
September 9, 2011 8:15 pm
Yeah ! I agree
Imran Siddiqui
September 9, 2011 8:55 pm
You're kidding, right??
September 9, 2011 8:59 pm
Wow!! The writer touched a raw nerve or two here it seems, by the reaction and comments of most posters. By the way, how does one come to a conclusion that a person is anti-Lahore/Punjab or for any regions if he/she is criticising a person or policies.? In this case Kahdim-e-ala and why do we need to brand ourselves with self proclaimed titles to seem like we are working? There is a so-called Quaid in Karachi too, present in spirit always of course as he feels the pain and sufferings through the telephonic medium. Pretty high-tech, yeah!
Imran Siddiqui
September 9, 2011 9:02 pm
They highlight Lahore/ Punjab because Nawaz League is not getting their fair share of criticism and because they love Lahore and it hurts them to see the current state of affairs.
Muhammad Ishaque
September 9, 2011 9:25 pm
Very biased and unrealistic article; it seams that writer has some grudges and animosity against a very active and hardworking CM and his team. Well done CM! keep up your good governance and I am sure you will. Don't care about these jealous people. General people are not stupid and they understand, this kind of biased writers who are not doing any service to this country.
Riaz Murtaza (Canada
September 9, 2011 9:26 pm
" Not a good taste " the author is not serious. Just wanted to write something to bring peoples attention. This article not to the standard of a good journalist, absolutely. Does not serve but rather leads to hatred.
malik irshad
September 9, 2011 9:40 pm
i dnt thing DAWN is going to pulished such biased matareial
September 9, 2011 10:05 pm
As long as I saw the title on the dawn news main page, I had a feeling it was written by Mr. Murtaza Razvi, and BINGO!!! I m sorry but I fail to grasp the purpose of your writings Sir. I am a very frequent traveller between Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. And the enormous difference between Lahore and Karachi in terms of Administration, law & order, security etc is plain obvious as soon as u exit the the Airport. Roads,services, cleanliness of Lahore are way better than Karachi. Theres no bhatta khori so to speak. The pickets are atleast manned and there is active checking going on, not like Karachi where thousands of policemen somehow manage to be non-existent. And when I m out in Lahore after dark, I dont get the lingering feeling than I get in Karachi, that any moment someone is gonna put a gun to my head & bang goes my wallet n cell. Offcourse its Pakistan, things r very tough. But atleast we should keep a sane head and know what the real issues are. For God's sake, people are dying by the dozens. y do u keep raising one non-issue after the other. So what if Yellow Cab scheme isnt that successful. Atleast some people benefited from it,without loss to public exchequer. Not like Hajj Scam, Steel Mill corruption, NICL,Railways, PIA,Rental Power Projects and hundreds of un-highlighted cases where billions have been robbed from this poor public.
September 9, 2011 11:26 pm
Don't be disappointed on truth dear.
September 9, 2011 11:28 pm
Do u feel shame when you call the kings KHADIM-E-ALLA
September 9, 2011 11:34 pm
You are wrong.We were Pakistani before the one unit was demolished.Sadly, now we are every thing but not Pakistani.
Muhammad Qasim
September 10, 2011 1:02 am
totaly biased, not a positive criticism, article make sense if it is from an irrational politician
M Iqbal
September 10, 2011 4:56 am
Very true. They have smothered our city and encouraged the extremists. What else can you expect from them? They want Pakistan to be another Saudi Arabia.
September 10, 2011 6:06 am
Its not about being biased...if you were in karachi and the writer had written had something like this, then people would go against him the same way we've responded to this article. Things have been done here, there and everywhere. We've to question our representatives for our money and our rights.
September 10, 2011 6:56 am
its a shame that you are writing about perhaps the only atleast functioning government in the country (don't get me wrong, i'm not fan of any party when it comes to their performance). People are being butchered in the largest city and almost all other parts of the country on daily basis.. and no-one is resigning or being dismissed from Interior Ministry or Police Department for being inept to do their prime job of providing security to general public and safe environment to run a daily life and business.... Please wake up and write about the most urgent issues that country is facing and point out those who are not doing atleast the minimum ....
September 10, 2011 7:31 am
September 10, 2011 8:27 am
Pakistani standard time!!!
September 10, 2011 8:37 am
Not living in Lahore anymore but if this is the nature of complaints against the Chief Minister Punjab, then I guess things are going on pretty well compared to violence and corruption in other provinces of Pakistan.
Ahasn Sharif
September 10, 2011 9:24 am
The level of sarcasam is a little too high in the author's tone. Being a Lahori, I know that there are so many issues that are being neglected or what you can say, mishandled. But one should always look at the efforts of Khadim-e-aala. At times, it feels that its a man against the system. Even he has his fair share of wrong doings, but at least we can see some material changes due to his efforts. Give the man a break and try to play a positive role.
September 10, 2011 10:09 am
Now then, let's hear what the writer has to say about all the comments if he has the courage to face the reality.
September 10, 2011 12:37 pm
This is pathatic article. I do not understand what good objective the writer is trying to achieve in his sarcastic style. Can he pls focus on the right issues next time.
Abdul Wahab
September 10, 2011 6:24 pm
Well i live in Lahore and dun belong to any political party. I think khadm e Ala does have some shortcomings and have mismanaged certain things, but dude wake up u r in Pakistan, he is the best administrator by all standards set in Pakistan. He carried out many projects in whole of punjab. Some paid some didnt, but mostly he is a good man who hates corruption and donot approve of any wrong doing to the general public. Ashiyana is carrying on good, scrutiny is good, balloting is transparent. Danish schools are performing well. Road n bridges are being built at fast paces. Most of the contracts given are transparent. I am not sayin its all milky ove here but atleast its the best govt that my beloved Pakistan has at the moment.
Abdul Wahab
September 10, 2011 6:25 pm
Very true and rightly put by Obaid.
waheed khan
September 10, 2011 6:31 pm
We must give the alla a chance.Hopefully he'll remember his past mistakes(made during last govt.)but why then shld. he bring in yellow cab schemes.He could have replaced it with yellow rickshaws.Why make blunders when U can make mistakes.
September 10, 2011 8:18 pm
lol at Khadim-e-Ala , Elder brother is self proclaim Ameer-ul-Momineen and junior is self proclaim Khadim-e-Ala , This shows how much they are inspired by their Aqa-e-Ala who are self Proclaim ( Khadim haramain Sharafain ) after afraid from Iranain revolution in 1978, they put this name infront of their name to protect their Monarchy. Dirty Politics Please stop making innocent people fool
September 11, 2011 9:07 am
I am amazed at the comments in defense of the "khadime ala"! No doubt that ppp, mqm & anp have created havoc in the country but conditions in Punjab are no ideal either. Zaradri, Gilani & other politicians' scores are in NEGATIVES; so if "Khadim-e-Aala" even scores a ZERO, our people start praising it. Punjab has been turned into a one man show because of this Khadim. His knee jerk actions are proof of his good governance and management skills. The example of Dansih schools is suffice that he acts in unthinking manner. Budgets of several universities and colleges has been cut down to create this "chain of 3 luxurious schools". Obviously unprivileged sections of our society need quality education but does it imply that we cut down budget of already existing higher education institutes? And only 3 schools? Punjab needs thousands of schools! Where is good planning and management here? If a person cannot handle this situation how can he handle a whole province?
September 11, 2011 11:15 am
Public hospitals are atleast functioning-without any connections my father got great treatment at PIC- Punjab institute of Cardiology . This would have cost a fortune at any private clinic. Yes hassles and overcrowding is part of the game but the doctors treat you well. Also I would like to mention the Kalma chowk flyover, Ring road project and the new housing project being started. Sarcasm and criticism is easy- doing something worthwhile is harder. Why not complement the punjab governments work by doing a little bit ourselves.
ahmed saeed
September 12, 2011 11:57 pm
Please for God sake don't give them any further chance, hopefully you are not living in a state of denial. We are going to have it if this democracy prevailed for another decade.
Rizwan Khan
September 13, 2011 10:52 am
I am from NWFP, i have seen the condition of Peshawar and other cities of NWFP, presently i am in Lahore, i would openly admit that i have no comparison of Lahore with Peshawar in any way, roads in Lahore, developmental works, kalma chowk flyover, ring road, stipends and scholarships to Matric or Fsc position holders is only being done by CM punjab.And i am great admirer of him now.At least he is the only one seems doing work in whole country....Small lawns(parks) along canal is a luxuary that has given to u by CM Punjab , we cant' imagin it in NWFP....i would say it is ideal situation in Punjab than any other province of the country having picture of overall development of Pakistan.
September 13, 2011 12:31 pm
NO provisional govt. nor the federal govt. is comendable in the present senario - except the Punjab govt
September 14, 2011 11:58 am
I am seriously beginning to suspect author's intentions now. Punjab has never had a better administrator than Shahbaz.
September 15, 2011 1:28 am
Hmm, perhaps he is trying to make the point that ' andhon mai kana raja' w.r.t. comparisons with the rest of teh country's administrators.
September 15, 2011 3:11 am
He is better than the current lot. Please find some other topic.
September 16, 2011 3:32 am
No one can deny the fact that shahbaz sharif is doing much better than any other province administrator.
September 16, 2011 8:10 am
Hello hello, Wake Up… Stop admiring.. open your eyes.. Sharif bros are same as other politicians... This is all game…. Our country needs someone who is local who has lived here and depends on resources in Pakistan.
Shehzad Zafar
September 17, 2011 12:16 am
Shahbaz is a good town administrator. In the present lot of Pakistani people particularly officers class and senior politicians I find him better person to lead lahore to faisalabad. He is doing a very good job of a metropolitan mayor. As we Pakistanis are actually not controlling any thing more then this part of our government so he is a very good person to select. For every thing else of government do we Pakistanis actually control it?
September 17, 2011 7:17 pm
Yeah, sure one of the finest steps taken by Khadim-e-alaa.He seems to be the only one who is working for the nation betterment and establishment but he needs more men(politicians) of his type.
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