Hail Farkhand Iqbal, the King of Islamabad
Earlier this week, CDA chief Farkhand Iqbal’s son, no doubt proud of his dad’s great list of accomplishments including stealing and unsealing the Bhoja Air black box and making ludicrous comments about other agencies to deflect blame for his own failures, decided to establish his father’s stranglehold on the city for all to see.
After a mother and son made the mistake of driving their car into the path of his daddy’s car on his daddy’s road near Kohsar Market, causing an accident that was in no way the younger Iqbal’s fault —because spoilt brats are never at fault — the youngster got off his car and proceeded to beat some sense into the mother and son.
No doubt, they sinned greatly by keeping the boy from an important engagement in the nearby coffee houses.
Later, when they went to Iqbal’s official house to lodge a complaint with Iqbal senior, the kid came out with armed backup and delivered a fresh beat down.
Not one of the cops stationed to protect the CDA boss and other VIPs living in the same street restrained the princes of Islamabad. It was up to onlookers to intervene, an act which earned them threats from the princes.
My credit to the police force for enlisting blind men as VIP security staff, for the police didn’t even register a case, even though the incident took place in front of on-duty cops. The same goes for an FIA additional director’s 16-year-old son, who on Friday ran over Imran, an Express TV technician in front of police officials, yet has no FIR against him.
But let’s forget for a minute that this is Iqbal senior’s city and focus on what happened. The kid rear-ended the victims’ car. That in itself is case closed as far as assigning guilt is concerned. Whether he was too busy talking on the phone to apply the brakes, whether he thought cars will magically disappear off daddy’s roads, or whether he made a genuine mistake while driving, under the law, he would always be at fault for the accident.
The ensuing scuffle saw him manhandle the mother and son while spouting expletives and making verbal threats vis-à-vis his father’s influential position. That is a straight-up physical assault case, even if one ignores his language, which was hardly befitting the Prince of Islamabad.
Now come to the more interesting details regarding his daddy’s car. According to a retired bureaucrat and CSS officer (which King Engineer Iqbal is not), a government official may not be allocated more than one car, and no family member of any government functionary is allowed, under any circumstances, to drive a government-issued car. Not a spouse, not a child, and not a parent.
In fact, “if he is not in grade 21 or 22, even the officer is not authorised to drive the car, only official government drivers, although this rule is usually relaxed for officers in grade 20.”
On the off chance that the car has green number plates but is privately owned, that is also illegal. No private vehicles are allowed to use green plates, and if the vehicle was purchased under the monetisation policy, the green plates are to be replaced with standard ones. The videos clearly show green plates.
Now if that isn’t enough, according to previously published reports, Prince Iqbal, who apparently learnt to drive on a bumper car ride, cost the CDA some Rs3 million on repairing official cars that he had damaged. At the time, Shahenshah claimed his son only drove private cars. It looks like even the king is fallible.
There are many honest bureaucrats who have given their kids a beat down for abusing government property or their fathers’ names. But then, these are good bureaucrats who work hard, go home to their families and hope to be promoted along the way.
Political appointees, or safarshi bhartis as my source called them, are only there to make a quick buck and have access to the power that comes with high government offices.
Good CSS officers also have spines. The career bureaucrat that Iqbal replaced was maligned for mismanaging the agency, yet posted as a federal secretary to keep him from talking about the political influence he was fighting against. Iqbal seems to have no qualms about being a more influential political appointee’s puppet. Incidentally, the final straw was believed to be a questionable lighting deal approved by the Planning Commission under Iqbal, then shot down for being unfeasible. Surprise, surprise, the deal is online again.
As for Prince Iqbal, his language alone qualifies him for a tight slap from his father. Abusing his father’s ‘good’ name qualifies him for another. To top it off, his physical behaviour qualifies his wrists to have handcuffs slapped on them. Instead, the only people getting slapped are we the people and particularly his victims.
So to our new brat-de-jour I say, this city might not belong to me, but I do pay your father’s salary.
Never forget that.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.