Indifference towards Corruption in Pakistan
“Corruption, Corruption Go Away- Leave My Country, This I Pray”
Corruption is an evil which undermines the credibility of the government and plague the system of the entire public functionary.
Pakistan scored only 30 out of 100 on Corruption Perception Index 2015 and ranked 117th among 168 nations by Transparency International.
While India was placed at 70th position with a score of 38. This menace was soon foreseen by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah after Pakistan came into being as he said in his address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, “One of the biggest curses from which India is suffering, I don’t say that other countries are free from it, but I think, our condition is much worse, is bribery and corruption. That really is a poison.
We must put that down with an iron hand and I hope that you will take adequate measures as soon as it is possible for this Assembly to do.”
There has been rampant corruption in the country since its establishment. Bhutto terminated hundreds of civil servants in this regard but couldn’t give a system which would have helped in prohibition of this actus reus forever.
During Afghanistan crisis in the Zia regime as the government received big chunks of aid so did the monster of jobbery grow. Although some say that, “Corruption is the price we pay for democracy” yet during dictatorial regimes there has always been high incidence of corruption even surpassing that in democratic governments but it has always been covered & most likely has eluded detection.
The poison of bribery and corruption has been extended to almost all departments of the body politic and is perpetrated with pride and impunity in all quarters. Many among the politicians and public servants look upon it as their legitimate right. One of the prominent legislators confessed it on the TV screen that corruption is committed by all and those who shun this practice only harm themselves.
This speaks volume of the impunity which such hollow-hearted officials have. A corrupt leader will never hold his subordinates accountable for the misdeeds they commit.
Many journalists and columnists have exposed hundreds of such scandals in articles after articles that involve embezzlement of money with facts and figures and also on electronic media but only to fall on deep ears.
The factors which have contributed to the growth of this scourge include, inter alia, no requital or only nominal punishment for the perpetrators, poverty, unemployment, inflation, bureaucratic procedures, discretionary powers of appointees, lack of transparency, sluggish dispensation of justice, and low salaries. Also, election candidates spend millions of rupees on their election campaigns whose benefits are to be reaped later via unfair means. When elected, many of them would patronize illegal activities to compensate themselves for the money they squandered in the course of soliciting votes.
NAB laws are also faulty which give corrupts an option to reimburse a percentage of the plundered money/goods and avoid the prosecution. This tradition has given the offenders confidence, who take little risk for a greater benefit. The lack of robust check and surveillance system and the government’s apathy, all are conducive to the augmentation of this devilry in many sectors of the public administration.
Corruption is partly responsible for the crimes and violence taking place in the country and there does prevail a nexus between the both. It also leads to the demise of the organizations and corporations run by the state as it erodes their foundations heedlessly like worms which eat away the stems of trees from inside out. Rule of law exists in name only while oppression and frustration are found among the public.
To do away with the menace of jobbery, the response threshold to it must be minimized and severe and stern penalties should be introduced for those who are found involved in this evil practice. NAB laws should be modified so that retribution is inflicted on the culprits in addition to refundment of the entire embezzled money.
Election expenditures of every candidate must be observed closely by the election commission and those who run afoul of the law must be disqualified forthwith. Besides, legal outlay on electioneering should be brought to such limits that a candidate belonging to mediocre family has no problem regarding canvassing. Indirectly, it’ll also lessen the yearning of politicians for illegal money.
Campaigns concerning discouragement of such immoral conducts should be run by religious scholars under the support of the government machinery. While the services of the social media, electronic media, and print media should be considered for uncovering such scandals. A toll-free number should be advertised via which public could register their complaints against the corrupt officials subject to prompt actions by the authorities.
If this bane is kept with tight rein on, the prosperity will knock at our country’s doors. Rule of law will most likely see light of the day. The frequency of wrongful activities will be dropped. Social and infrastructure developments will land in the region. State’s institution will be strengthened and most people will take a sigh of relief.
The writer can be reached at SirajShawa@gmail.com
By Siraj Shawa