By Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
June 10, 2020
Fourteen hundred years ago, the second caliph of the Madina state, Hazrat Umar (ra) was starting to lead the Friday prayers. Suddenly, somebody stood up and asked for an explanation for the dress the caliph was wearing.
According to him, everybody had obtained one piece of cloth but it seemed that the caliph had used two pieces to prepare his dress. The caliph was in a position to end the conversation right then but he listened to his arguments very calmly. Before he gave a response, his son stood and informed him: “Like every other person, my father and myself both obtained one piece of cloth. My father is tall in height so that the piece of cloth was not sufficient for him. Therefore, I gave him my piece of the cloth.” This explanation was so satisfactory that the matter was resolved in a pleasant manner.
In a country like Pakistan, we should have been able to practise such great precedents, but we see the opposite happening usually. The most unfortunate practice that I see in our beloved country is to consider someone in power, either individual or institution, above the law. Similarly, there are many video clips viral on social media in which sometimes people are seen quarrelling with police officers and sometimes officials are found misusing their authority. They use the familiar: 'Who the hell are you to ask me this question?' Most of the time such arrogant elements think they enjoy absolute authority in society.
There is a popular English proverb 'To err is human', which means that nobody is perfect, and it is quite natural for people to make mistakes. Such errors are unwanted results of human judgment and perception. When someone makes a mistake, he/she may not have an idea at the time that the action in question would end with such negative consequences. However, the bright side is that we can learn from these mistakes to decrease the chance of repeating such deeds.
For this purpose, the person in charge must be answerable. He/she must understand that the purpose of accountability is to improve both the internal standard of fulfilling professional responsibilities in a better way and group conduct as a whole for the best interest of society.
No doubt, accountability is the recognition and assumption of responsibility for our actions, deeds, decisions, and policies related to administration, governance, and implementation within the given scope of the role or employment position.
In my view, there is also a direct link between accountability and progress. All of those countries, either the ancient Roman empire or modern-day Soviet Union, ultimately collapsed due to lack of accountability, public welfare and good governance. Today, this is the top priority of every successful leadership to promote the culture of accountability, based on answerability, responsibility, and liability.
Unfortunately, the noble cause of accountability has lost its respect in the eyes of the Pakistani public due to two major facts. First, the word 'accountability' has been used as a political slogan to carry on blame game and victimization of opponents. Second, the lack of transparency in due process always used to raise many questions. The Imran Khan led PTI government, which came into power to fulfil the promises of accountability for all, is struggling to ensure that every public official is responsible to fulfil the obligation to report, explain and be answerable for resulting consequences.
In order to transform Pakistan into a peaceful, progressive and developed country, there is a dire need to recognize the importance of answerability in letter and spirit, with a focus on improving the quality of public services.
Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.
Original Headline: Everyone is answerable
Source: The News, Pakistan
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