Wednesday, May 23, 2018 | ePaper

Commentary

Public servants must prove their dedication to public service : Comey as example

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The government that has sunk deep in corruption   and incompetence is now surfacing as cracked all-over. Nobody can claim truthfully that any government department is functioning properly. There is no overseeing and no accountability. Every area of governance is a mess.
We have to accept that only the police are very busy as they are to be when the government is in trouble. How much helpful they are to the people is for them to know. There is no accountability anywhere. We are very lucky if they are doing their best to help the people when there is no hope anywhere.
I know someone will remind me that frustration is no help. But to lie about a frustrating situation is not fighting frustration. We made Pakistan a free country but we could not be free. To be free now we have created Bangladesh. Yet our fight for freedom continues and people are living in more in fear than freedom. We cannot be sure about       
electing our own government.
 Now the grim reality of mismanagement cannot be hidden away any more. There were no preparations for the calamity in the Hill districts--Rangamati, Bandarban and Chittagong due to heavy rainfall. Rains in these areas were predictable as a yearly phenomenon. It is also a fact that the magnitude of damage is the result of long negligence and callous appropriation of mud hills by powerful people. Yet, there were no advance preparations to save lives.
To be sure, in our country the powerful people are the main lawbreakers and major perpetrators of crime. But that also should not be a reason for frustration.
The death toll owing to massive landslide so far is at 149. Death of others is sad but not worrying for the government. They are sure to be in power because they have corrupt collaborators against the people.  Death is the common fate of the common men.
We are used to blaming the political government for the mismanagement in public affairs, though it is rightly done. But we forget that we have a huge army of public servants for offering the people their impartial and dedicated service. They are to remain politically impartial for protecting fundamental structure of the government and basic public interests. The truth is, most of them find it more gainful to be politically loyal.
Many of our readers have been following with keen interest the investigation relating to the talks President Donald Trump of USA had with Mr.  James Comey, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, as it famously known is an independent body for investigating impartially serious crimes and security matters.
Mr. Comey was sacked as Director of the FBI as the President felt Mr. Comey was not being loyal to him as he did not agree to comply with his wish to drop the investigation into Mr. Flyn. The fact was Mr. Flyn was forced to resign as Security Adviser to President Trump after he was found lying about his contacts with Russia.
The clash between the President Trump and the public servant thus ensued.
The President himself is most likely to be investigated for obstructing justice. The problem with President Trump is, he is not aware how the government functions. He expects everybody to be loyal to him and not to anything else. He does not care to know that there are things called fundamental public interests which must be protected. The nature of the government cannot be flouted. The President is not above law and cannot he interfere with the justice system.
As a very highly placed public servant in charge of fair investigation into crimes and state security, Mr. Comey was painfully conscious of his public and patriotic duty. He risked loosing his job but did not agree to betray his responsibility to act impartially in national interest. To him the high job was not important if he had to forgo his public duty that goes with the job.
The clash between the President and him involves the principles at the foundation of American democracy.
It is quite possible for a politician to be power hungry. But it is the responsibility as public servants to tell him what are the limits of his power and what he cannot ask the officials to do. If the public servants are not for the people why trust them to be in office even after change of political government?
It is our greatest misfortune that the history of our public servants is that they easily forget the distinction between the men in power and them as public servants. To them job is more important though public servants are specially protected by the Constitution for serving the larger interest of the country and the people. But selfishness prevails and public interests suffer.
Mr. Comey being called upon by the Senate Investigation Committee said, like the public servant of a free country, that he was stunned during an Oval Office meeting with the President when he requested to drop the investigation into Mr. Flyn a close ally of Mr. Trump.
The President is also in trouble for his alleged connection with Russia in manipulating the election results. But Mr. Comey, as a patriot did not permit President Trump to use him to act against the justice system of the country.
If collusion with Russia in undermining the American democratic system is proved to be true then it is most likely that President Trump is in for impeachment. The Supreme Court may even annul the election.
The elected government gives policies to implement their manifesto. But the fundamentals of good governance are to be protected by the permanent government constituted by permanent public servants. Miseries of our people are going on heedlessly because the public servants   are not conscious of their dedication to public service.
Let our public servants know from the example of Mr. Comey how dedicated to public service a public servant must be.

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