Almost like the military and the naval aides-de-camp, the two men, one in brown and the other in white uniform escorted this smartly dressed lady, as she made her royal arrival into the departure lounge of the Jinnah Airport. The one in brown uniform carried her bag. The one in white uniform who appeared more senior carried the not so heavy, airline ticket and the boarding pass on her behalf. She planted herself on a seat, keeping a good six empty seats distance from the nearest passenger. The one in brown rushed to the nearby coffee shop and brought a cup of coffee for the lady. Without blinking an eyelid she immediately got down to consuming the beverage, knowing fully well that she had not paid for it. The two attendants kept hovering around her while maintaining a respectable distance, so as not to appear overly intrusive.
The demeaning display of this completely unwarranted subservience continued for some time. The lady clearly was linked to someone in a position of great authority and power. Someone who could dispatch two government officials to carry her bag and escort her right up to the door of the aircraft. Their sole purpose in life seemed to pamper her and to protect her from coming in close proximity to any other human being – as if she had just arrived from Sierra Leone, Guinea or Liberia.
The flight was announced and the passengers rushed to form a somewhat imperfect queue before the departure desk. This is the counter where the staff checks the picture ID, tears off a portion from the boarding pass and lets you go towards the aircraft. The overly chaperoned lady however did not get up from her seat to queue along with the other passengers. Instead, her escort in the white uniform walked directly to the departure desk and with an air of entitlement, presented the lady’s boarding pass. A few passengers who were immediately next in the line murmured a protest. One questioned as to why the lady could not stand in the queue like all other passengers. Sensing that things could turn ugly, the official in the white uniform pulled back and replied, “Because she is the Collector’s wife”.
The two escorts in uniform were federal government employees whose salaries are paid from the tax payers’ money. To carry the bags or check-in the boss’s wife is neither a part of their mandate nor a task they look forward to perform. The ruling elite is inundated with sick officials and politicians who suffer from the ‘Collector’s wife’ syndrome. In search of preferential treatment, they misuse their authority and force their subordinates to comply with illegal and demeaning errands. The CAA, the ASF and the PIA are only too happy to lend their support. The two escorts could not have entered the departure lounge without the connivance of these three organisations. The ‘Collector’s wife’ is not an isolated event but a hugely prevalent attitude that has become a way of life for our disgusting VIPs. For how long will the people of Pakistan suffer this racist discrimination by an officially pampered VIP class who considers it an insult and a comedown to behave like ordinary people.