Islamabad: Pakistan`s civil awards are now "tawdry pieces of junk jewellery" handed out to people who have in reality achieved little beyond keeping their political boats afloat, said a daily that described award-winner Interior Minister Rehman Malik as a "bravura exponent of the foot-in-mouth syndrome".
An editorial in a newspaper on Monday said that the "worthies were amply awarded by the President (Asif Ali Zardari) at a ceremony held at his private planet, The Presidency".
"Head of the queue for a Hilal-e-Imtiaz was none other than that bravura exponent of the foot-in-mouth syndrome the Interior Minister Rehman Malik. An award was his rightful prize," it said.
The daily pointed out that notably absent from the awards line-up were people like Dr Ehtesham Anwar who did the "impossible and cleaned up the Islamabad Taxation and Excise Department - for which he was rewarded by being placed OSD by the Interior Ministry".
"Quite right too. We cannot have people going around cleaning up corruption and things like that. Can we?" it wondered.
It said that the whole point of making awards for public service is that they are based on merit, apolitical and "most definitely not to be in the gift of public servants - bureaucrats - who have developed a strong tendency to award themselves".
Citing the example of Nargis Sethi, the daily said: "She is the cabinet secretary and as such part of the decision making process which determines who is to be awarded. Did she absent herself from any discussion about an award for herself?"
The editorial rued that the awards are "now tawdry pieces of junk jewellery handed out to people who have in reality achieved little beyond keeping their political boats afloat - and by extension the boat of the government of the day".
"The only redeeming feature is that these awards can be withdrawn by any future government. So lucky winners, celebrate quickly," it added.