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India & Pakistan different, but not so different

The aim of public service was to ensure transparency of the government to its people. Unfortunately, it has been misused in both India and Pakistan.

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It seems that a sense of entitlement is common among South Asian political leaders. They feel that since they hold public office, they can do anything.

To clarify, news emerged from India that a public stadium had to be emptied early so that Delhi’s Principal Secretary (Revenue) could walk his dog. According to Indian media reports, Sanjeev Khirwar, from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) has been walking his dog at the Delhi Thyagraj Stadium for three evenings the past week.

Read more: Indian leader receives backlash for praising Jinnah

This means that athletes at the stadium have to wrap up their training by 7 pm. Athletes used to train till 8-8.30. However, as of late, they have to leave the ground by 7 pm. According to details, stadium guards start blowing whistles near the track around 6.30 pm to ensure it is cleared by 7 pm for the Sanjeev Khirwar and his dog.

“We used to train till 8-8.30 pm under lights earlier. But now, we are asked to leave the ground by 7 pm so that the officer can walk his dog on the ground. Our training and practice routine has been disrupted,” a coach told Indian media.

While the stadium administration denied the allegations and India’s Ministry of Home Affairs transferred the IAS officer, the reports still sparked intense backlash for India’s public officeholders. Indian Twitteratis reacted heavily to the news. They criticized the system that instills a sense of entitlement in public officeholders who misuse their powers.

Corruption: A reality in India & Pakistan

Important to note, that this is not the first time an IAS officer misused their authority. There have been reports of IAS officers being involved in corruption. Just a week ago, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested a Gujarat cadre IAS officer for accepting bribes worth Rs 5 lakh for issuing gun licenses.

According to a report, 581 corruption charges were filed against IAS officers in 2020-21. A total of 753 complaints were received against the IAS officers in 2019-20 and 643 in 2018-19.

A similar situation in Pakistan persists as well. In Pakistan too, public resources are widely misused by officeholders, for instance, former minister Hammad Azhar claimed that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif posted as many as 3,200 security personnel at different camp offices and residences of his.

Read more: Former PM Imran Khan’s security reduced?

Moreover, the Pakistani government is a bit excessive when it comes to purchasing resources for its use. To clarify, the Sindh government alone has around 25000 vehicles for government use. Earlier this year, the cabinet also approved a grant of Rs. 36 crore for the purchase of vehicles and motorcycles.

In addition to this, corruption also exists. Earlier, an accountability court convicted serving Balochistan Local Government Secre­tary Mir Imran Gichki in a corruption case and sentenced him to five years in prison.

Pertinent to mention, public service – brought to South Asia by the British – was meant to make the state visible to the public. Its aim was to create a link between the government and its people. Unfortunately, public service has been blatantly misused in both countries – seems like India and Pakistan are not so different after all.