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It is a story that will keep you glued to your TV sets once you have viewed a few episodes. This is the story of Pablo Escobar the notorious drug lord of Colombia. It is available as a series titled (NARCOS) on a movie channel that most people subscribe to in Pakistan.

This is no ordinary story of mere crime and loot but how crime in a country can rise to a level when all state machinery and in fact the state machinery of a neighboring superpower find themselves helpless before a single criminal who challenges the writ of state with impunity and creates havoc in the country while the law enforcing agencies watch helplessly.

Undoubtedly, Pablo Escobar was the greatest and most powerful criminal in modern history. Maybe he would have passed unnoticed in the annals of history had it not been for his passionate desire to not only be the drug king of Columbia but also its elected ruler.

Yes he even made it to parliament and let me say that it goes to the credit of the members of Parliament that they threw him out even though the person leading that campaign lost his life as a result of his efforts.

He was just one among the thousands that were murdered in those days who opposed this drug lord or campaigned against the ill-effects of cocaine on the young in society.

The story of Escobar is also the story of weak governments that become hostage to criminals and in order to prolong their stay in power strike shameful deals with them.

This is exactly what happened in Columbia where the government lost total control and daily bombings resulting in hundreds of casualties became the order of the day. In the middle of this onslaught the president of Columbia did his best to stand his ground against Escobar but several incidents including the blowing up of a commercial jet liner and a bomb attack in a market place forced him to strike a deal with the drug lord.

This deal between a drug lord and a government in power is perhaps the only such example in the annals of history. According to the deal, Escobar was only to be charged with just one count of drug smuggling and spend his sentence in a prison built by himself in a place of his own choosing and no member of police or military would come closer than 200 yards from this prison.

This was really no prison but a safe house for Escobar from where he ran his drug cartel and enjoyed the luxuries of life including all night parties full of fun and frolic. It was the impulsive and murderous nature of Escobar that did his undoing.

He murdered two members of his cartel inside his personal prison and that was a serious breach of his deal with the Columbian government who raided his prison and even though he managed to escape he was later hunted down in a massive manhunt and shot dead.

So why are we talking about Escobar today? It is his meeting with his father while he was being hunted down that prompted me to write this piece. It was the most moving scene of the entire movie.

Hounded by his rivals, the other drug lords, who now wanted his territory; and pursued by state troopers and CIA he takes refuge at his father’s simple farm that he had not visited for decades.

One day, while both are planting seeds, he expresses his desire to settle down close by with his family but gets no positive response from his father.

During dinner he confronts his father and asks why he cold-shouldered the suggestion. With intense passion Pablo Escobar asks his father: “Do you know I am one of the richest persons on earth, do you know the president of USA knows my name and I was once member of the Columbian parliament”.

Calmly his father looks him in the eye and says: “I am ashamed of you”. I just wondered how many parents will say that to their children in our country if they were informed of the illegal manner in which they acquired their material possessions or the criminal acts they indulged in to advance their careers, amass assets and power. A point to ponder isn’t it?

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

Zia Ul Islam Zuberi

The writer is a well-known columnist

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KU Oct 21, 2023 08:15pm
In our part of the world the growing young generation has learnt that it pays to be dishonest, and to succeed in making money, one must be unjust. This is the result of our corrupt trickle down system feeding the society and no getting out of it.
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