The Brazilian educationist and philosopher Paulo Freire has rightly said “If I am a pure product of genetic, cultural, or class determination, I have no responsibility for my action in the world and, therefore, it is not possible for me to speak of ethics. Of course, this assumption of responsibility does not mean that we are not conditioned genetically, culturally, and socially. It means that we know ourselves to be conditioned but not determined”. However, with determination comes responsibility that is how we treat humans and individuals who share different cultural, gender, religious, racial, economic and political attributes and backgrounds. Are we entitled to the same rights and political, social liberties and basic human freedoms, dignity and respect in Pakistan? The answer is apparently no because we have developed a culture of indignity and disrespect. In order to understand the culture of indignity and disrespect, we should first know how to differentiate between the two terms: respect and dignity. Respect and dignity are two distinctive terms used interchangeably in our daily conversations and debates with little or no understanding of it. Respect is admiration or praise for people based on their abilities, potentialities, struggles and achievements whereas the latter refers to the worth of human beings and their right to be acknowledged for their inherent humanity and to be treated ethically. Respect is something which is earned whereas dignity is ascribed and given and no one can take it away from anyone, it a basic right.The problem here is that we often use the term respect while referring to an individual’s position, status and worth in relation to other members of a particular society. So, respectful means polite, obedient and following the acceptable standards of behaviour. Whenever, you challenge the existing norms, values and rules, it is considered an open defiance, offensive and rude, liable to punishment. This is however, an issue that needs to be separated from the framework of dignity and needs to be addressed. Anyone who abuses his power and authority and discriminates on the basis of gender, colour, race and ethnicity, needs no respect but shall be condemned and challenged. This is not to say, that a person who abuses his power and does not treat people equally should have his right to human dignity and ethical treatment taken away.Recently, a Sargodha university Professor Mian Javed, arrested in October on the basis of corruption allegations, died of cardiac arrest in Camp Jail Lahore. The deceased’s handcuffed pictures went viral on social media which was condemned by people from all walks of life. It is not the first incident of this nature; we have witnessed enough of such cases where professors, students, teachers, doctors, media anchor persons, human and women rights activists and politicians’ right to human dignity is continuously violated by the patrons of legal powers and institutions. Nonetheless, the moral outrages and moral discourse and political rhetoric morphs around corruption, we should know that “we are always innocent till proven guilty”. Apparently, it shows that we have less respect for human life, dignity and respect. This in no way justifies the wrongdoings of individuals but questions the ideas of extreme disrespect of an inherent humanity and civility to which every human being is entitled to and that can be taken away from people under the pretext of corruption allegations and misuse of power and authority that has to be established.Certain ethnic groups, people who follow certain political ideologies and support civil rights movements, minorities, and women are dehumanized and criminalized in a way that they are considered as lesser humans which in turn validate the discriminatory and inhuman treatment meted out to themThis culture of indignity and dehumanization is not only limited to the powerful institutions of the state, but has been inherently widespread in the social and cultural fabric of Pakistani society. Certain ethnic groups, people who follow certain political ideologies and support civil rights movements, minorities, and women are dehumanized and criminalized in a way that they are considered as lesser humans which in turn validate the discriminatory and inhuman treatment meted out to them. In doing so, it results in the rejection of political consciousness, and the voices of particular social and political groups in Pakistan. The anti-corruption politics appropriated by the populist mantra is so strong on both social media, electronic media and among the masses, that everyone has become blind to the basic human rights violation and lack of human dignity in the photos of a professor’s helpless dead body lying in the morgue.On one hand, this unfortunate incident has exposed the culture of intolerance, dehumanization, abuse and violation of the alleged miscreants; on the other hand, it has also uncovered the dual standards of certain state institutions in dealing with alleged criminals and killers of innocent Pakistani citizens. It in reality, partially depicts the institutional discriminatory approaches towards teachers, professors, politicians, media anchor persons and those influential alleged absconders and criminals who receive VIP treatment from the same institutions.To put it more bluntly, this structural violence, abuse and both dehumanization of living human beings and desecration of human corpses must end in the name of accountability. Inflicting punishments on human bodies to discipline masses with impunity has no place in the modern form of power and civilized regimes. Human sanctity and dignity are the supreme components of human rights charter and of the civilized world.The writer is a graduate of Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgPublished in Daily Times, December 30th 2018.