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Letís not hate Malik Riaz yet

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I donít hate Malik Riaz.
I have no reason to.

I canít blame him for the time I had to bribe a Nadra official in Lahore to have my computerised ID card made. My name was similar to someone who was apparently wanted by the FIA for indulging in anti-state activities. I didnít understand the system so it was a whole month before I came to my senses and realised that a couple of thousand rupees was a small price to pay to be taken off Pakistanís most wanted list.

I donít even blame him for the time I had to bribe someone to urgently get my passport renewed because I had to fly abroad for an interview. I had no choice as it was the only way to get what I wanted done on time.

I donít even blame Malik Riaz for the countless times Iíve had to slip a hundred rupee note to a traffic official for driving back home late at night.

I wonder if my family should blame him for the times we have had to bribe LESCO officials so our electricity connection, the lifeline of our business in Lahore could be restored. All we ever wanted was for someone to tell us why we were billed 20 times more than the monthly average,
but the only way to do it was to make sure we took care of some people first.

Go ahead, hate me.

Itís very easy to judge people in Pakistan, we all seem to be holier than everyone else. Iím pretty sure that everyone knows at least one person though; one person who has had to bribe someone to get admitted into a university, or to make the patwari show them the official records of their ancestral lands or even to get out of a mess involving the law Ė thatís just how we get things done here.

I would have hated Malik Riaz however, if he had grown to be one of the richest men in the world by abusing a government office. I would have hated him if someone could prove any kind of tax evasion on his part. I would have hated him if he had plundered this countryís resources and invested his money abroad.

Infact, I admire Malik Riaz.

I admire him for making a positive contribution to Pakistanís growth. I admire him for
developing a housing society where there is no loadshedding. I admire him for providing the basic infrastructure that has made Bahria town the preferred residential neighborhood for roughly four hundred thousand Pakistanis. I admire him for functioning within the system that we are all a part of and rising to the top by playing by rules that he did not make.

I donít admire him for his charity and philanthropy, that is between him and his God.

I am surprised though at why nobody wants to know who bribed the cameraman who leaked the footage from the Dunya News interview. Surely, the cameraman at the TV channel will lose his job after this fiasco and will not be hired by any other channel either. He could not have managed to upset one of the most influential power brokers in the country without some kind of support system. There are definitely many forces at work here. Forces, who unlike Malik Riaz do not have the courage to come out in the open due to their vested interests and because of all that they stand to lose.

Letís not hate Malik Riaz just as yet.

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