Long live Liaquat Ali Chattha !

Amalendu Upadhyaya
Posted By -

By Justice Markandey Katju

In my 78 years life, I have known and heard of many bureaucrats, but none like Liaquat Ali Chattha, the Commissioner of Rawalpindi division, Pakistan, who recently held a press conference and resigned, and was later arrested and taken to an unknown place.

In the press conference he did what perhaps no bureaucrat has ever done in the world: he confessed to his crime ( of rigging the parliamentary elections in his division ), and said he deserved to be publicly hanged.
In the 13 parliamentary constituencies in his division, PTI candidates were leading by over 70,000 votes each, but on his orders they were declared to have lost

He said that due to pressure from above he had stabbed the country in the back, for which he could not sleep for several nights, and he was taking full responsibility

He also said that he was thinking of committing suicide, but ultimately decided to go public with a full disclosure of his crime of rigging and falsification of the election results.

Some people, mostly associated with the erstwhile PDM govt, have declared Liaquat Ali as a mental case. Thus, Punjab's caretaker Information Minister Amir Mir dismissed the allegations made by Chatha and said that he was suffering from mental illness. The PMLN raised concerns about Chattha's mental condition with former Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan calling him a "psycho".
However, in my opinion it was a genuine case of remorse, and had no other motivation.

There is no doubt that there was massive rigging in the elections. In fact early leads announced that the PTI candidates were leading in 148 seats, while PMLN in 43 and PPP in 47. However, the announcements were suddenly stopped, and remained stopped for several hours, after which the leads, and then the results, declared had been altered drastically.

I have no doubt that the Commissioner genuinely felt a guilty conscience at the massive fraud, of which he had willingly become a party, and would not let him sleep, and almost drove him to suicide.

One is reminded of a similar historical incident over 2200 years ago. The great Emperor Ashoka, after his famous victory in the battle of Kalinga, felt great remorse at the large number of people killed in the battle. In the famous Kalinga Edict ( the 13th Major Rock Edict ) the Emperor declared :

''When king Devanampriya ( the beloved of the gods ) Priyadarsin had been anointed eight years, the country of the Kalingas was conquered by him. One hundred and fifty thousand in number were the men who were deported thence, one hundred thousand in number were those who were slain there, and many times as many those who died.

After that, now that the country of the Kalingas has been conquered, Devanampriya expresses great repentance on account of his conquest of the country of the Kalingas. For, this is considered very painful and deplorable by Devanampriya, that, while one is conquering an unconquered country, slaughter, death, and deportation of people take place there,

Therefore even the hundredth part or the thousandth part of all those people who were slain, who died, and who were deported at that time when the country of the Kalingas was conquered, would now be considered very deplorable by Devanampriya ''.

Although Liaquat Ali Chattha was not an Emperor like Ashoka, and he did not rule over an Empire but was only Commissioner of a division in a country having many divisions, his expression of remorse recalls what happened in 261 B.C.

Never in world history has a victor expressed remorse over his victory. And never in world history has a bureaucrat voluntarily and publicly confess to a crime of this magnitude

Long live Liaquat Ali Chattha ! Hats off to him !

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

Post a Comment


Post a Comment (0)