In a republic, people who constitute the state are treated as customers whereas in a colony they are exploited as serfs. The Japanese dominate the world with their customer orientation. Having been a pioneer in the quality movement that started in Pakistan in the mid-nineties, I was aware of this modern approach. In the ISO-9000-based Quality Management System (QMS) customer satisfaction was measured. When I took over the Chairmanship of the Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) and its two affiliated organisations, the Pakistan Scientific and Technical Information Center (PASTIC), and the Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) on August 15, 2002, it was decided to pursue ISO 9000 certification of all three. A team was put in place which I personally trained. After the PSF, QMS was certified, and it was decided to offer free assistance to other government departments. In response to my offer, the Registrar of the Lahore High Court (LHC) wrote back saying; that the “LHC had no customers”. I was taken aback by his reply and personally explained that all organisations/institutions were created to serve the people, and customers are required to ensure continuity otherwise they perish. Litigants were the customers of the court.
During my student days in Arizona, I was given a ticket for a traffic violation which I challenged. During the process, the officer asked me if I were from Iran as the US Embassy hostage crisis was on at that time. During the hearing of the case, I asked the officer if he had asked the question about my nationality. He kept quiet, I then asked if it was a relevant question. The judge was infuriated at the silence of the officer and the challan was cancelled as there was a clear bias against the accused which was not acceptable in the eyes of law. In the land of the pure, the approach is totally opposite. A few years back I had gone to Beijing for a seminar where I was informed that my office had been sealed by the Excise & Taxation Department (E&T Dept). On my return, I visited the E&T Dept and was told that my tax assessment had been changed. The inspector was expecting the traditional ‘Muk Muka’ but instead I challenged the sealing of the office when the earlier assessed tax had been paid. The Director ruled in my favour, the Inspector was made to apologise. Again, last year I received a final notice for my property tax assessment. I approached the Inspector and asked for the earlier three notices that were required before sending the fourth. As there was no answer, the notice was withdrawn.
My late mother was a Wealth Tax Assie. We received a hearing notice. On her behalf, I went to the office, and the officer kept requesting papers which I refused without proper written request, documentation and receipt. After several such inconclusive episodes, I decided to seek the help of my Income Tax Commissioner friend. Upon inquiry I was told that the department had lost its file, they wanted to rebuild their documents for which they needed my help. I insisted on a written request instead of harassment and notices. On the assurance of my friend, I gave copies of the documents to stop the harassment, I was told that the department had a free hand at sending notices.
In the USA, after independence, the Americans decided on a complete break from the colonial system. They pulled out of the British Commonwealth and formulated their own constitution which guaranteed rights to the citizens. Freedom was at the core of all policies. The state acts as a facilitator, not an exploiter as is the case in the land of the pure. We started off well, the founding fathers in all spheres understood the importance of freedom and provided relief to the people but the system was not reformed. By the mid-eighties, the founding generation went home leaving the ‘ Colonial System’ in the hands of un-elected individuals who had no public support. The partyless elections of 1985 opened the floodgates of corruption. The slide continues unabated till today.
The constitution of the United States which was enacted in 1787 continues to be followed in letter and spirit. No one dares to cross the constitutional limits. In the land of the pure the colonial laws are followed ignoring the constitution of the republic. A constitution is an agreement between the rulers and the ruled which cannot be overruled. The usurpers that took control after August 1973 tried their best to deface the agreed document. Perhaps Pakistan is the only country in the world that had to formulate four constitutions (1956, 1962, 1972, 1973) and yet the country is run under the Government of India Acts (1923, 1935). The Pakistan Resolution was passed on March 23, 1940, at Minar-e-Pakistan Lahore where Imran Khan is holding a public rally on March 25, 2023, demanding free and fair elections as mandated by the constitution of the republic. The colonial laws are being applied to thwart the will of the people. Colonised people have no future, they live and die as serfs. Republics are formed on the solid foundations of freedom. Patrick Henry’s words are inscribed on the Statue of Liberty; “Give me freedom or give me death”. As a nation, we have reached the same point after 75 years of so-called freedom.
Dr Farid A Malik
The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation, email: firstname.lastname@example.org