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Lesson from Malaysia

Updated July 28, 2013

WE in Pakistan are very fond of talking about the rule of law little knowing what it really means.

In order to understand the meaning of the term, it would help to recall an incident that took place in a country not too far from here.

A deputy inspector-general of the police informs the prime minister that he owes the state a specific amount in fines for traffic offences attributable to his car.

The prime minister checks up and pays the fine, from his pocket, not the state exchequer.

The country is Malaysia and the prime minister is Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Meanwhile, back home in Balochistan, the chief minister orders the suspension of a superintendent of police for upholding the law and stopping the personal bodyguards of a senior minister from entering the Balochistan Assembly premises, which was already under heavy guard.

In one instance a prime minister follows the law in letter and in spirit. In the other, an SP is suspended for upholding the law.

Now you know what the term rule of law means and why we are where we are.

FARID NAWAZ Former Inspector-General, Police
Islamabad