These days, I am reminded of the nursery rhyme titled ‘The Three Blind Mice’, for we have a trio of these sightless creatures right in our midst – Development Authorities, the Police and its other half - the Traffic Police. Oblivious to what happens right under their noses, these three institutions ,if they can be called that, carry on with their daily routine, which includes corruption, dereliction of duty and a blatant abuse of their job description i.e. public service. For the purposes of this week’s piece we’ll pick up the Federal Capital as our case study.

Take the Capital Development Authority (CDA) first. Rules say that no commercial activity can be undertaken in residential accommodation, yet one finds offices, schools and shopping outlets by the score on such premises. It is the schools in particular, which have become a nuisance and a source of concern for residents. They have been officially classified as potential terrorist targets, in the aftermath of the APS Peshawar tragedy, and now pose a threat to people living in the vicinity. Their very presence and the gridlock of vehicles at pick up and drop timings is an invasion of privacy, not to mention the fact that it effects the smooth and uninterrupted travel of residents.

Then there are private speed breakers built, where by law there should be none. I narrowly escaped being hurt, when my car hit one ‘Mount Everest’ where there was nothing on the previous evening. The offices of a private television channel at the very end of the service road in Blue Area is protected by concrete barriers and concertina wire that create a bottleneck and resultant traffic jams. So much for the moral rhetoric that this channel throws at us.

Park fixtures are either broken or missing, sewage pollutes the once pristine clear water streams running through the Federal Capital, pervading the air with their obnoxious odors and making it difficult for residents to take their evening walk or jog.

Street lights frequently don’t work, except along the Metro Route, and many are either out of alignment or have their electric wires protruding from boxes, posing a threat to unwary citizens.

The police, including the traffic cops are even worst effected by their loss of sight. Take the ones in blue, that man security check points or patrol roads in their pickups. I recently saw such a police vehicle unconcernedly drive by a brutal brawl between two groups of young men on Murree Road - as if stopping the disturbance and arresting the perpetrators was not part of their job description.

Having called over such a ‘protector’ after being stuck in converging traffic at a checkpoint on Jinnah Avenue, I asked him as to why was he ignoring the mess and not getting some order out of the increasing chaos. I mentioned that this was actually creating a situation, where a terror attack could cause tremendous damage. He looked at me as if I had stolen his pet cow, and told me that this was not his job and ‘I should go my way and not obstruct the performance of his duty’. I threw up my hands at the man’s ‘blindness’, said a prayer for him, the force that he represented and drove on.

The Islamabad traffic police, for that matter traffic cops anywhere in Pakistan - barring a few exceptions, have successfully developed the knack of turning a blind eye to violators. You can now safely run through red lights, drive a motor bike without wearing a helmet, with two friends tucked behind, on a seat designed to carry only two riders. You can do this with absolute impunity in full view of the two, sometimes three, grey clad custodians of law, standing in a group under a shady tree deeply engrossed in a discussion of immense national importance.

While our three blind mice must take the blame for what is happening, it is us, the nation that must share the burden of guilt. We have regretfully developed a state of mind, where we need to be driven into following the law by the application of a ‘whip’. My notion is proved in its entirety when we see our countrymen meekly following rules abroad.