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Pakistan’s corruption debate needs to go beyond politics

Corruption in Pakistan

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8 minutes read

Don’t talk, Act; Don’t say, Show; Don’t promise, Prove. Most often than not do we come across such quotes in our daily life. Which, for the majority of times goes unnoticed. But the question here is: why do we always just say things rather than actually implementing the ideas and thoughts? Mr. Imran Khan, well known for his outspoken nature, who is always on the verge of pointing out the possible flaws of the government, but as a result of it what happens? Probe starts and then diminishes in the nowhere. We always assume the likely reasons of the flaws that lead to such illegitimate acts of corruption in Pakistan but little do we realize that it’s actually the impracticality of law and order situation in our society that takes us nowhere.

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In Pakistan, the trend of blame-game is mostly followed with full zeal and spirit. The lack of accountability and liability abstain us from advancing rather it keeps us standing still on the individual level as well as on the national level. Do we ever ask ourselves, why are we not progressing? Why is Pakistan not much of a credible country on international arena? The answer to it lies in the fact that we are not an action-oriented nation rather we are the ones who just blabber about the evils culminating the society and take no actual step to curb them out. This is the dilemma and at an alarming stage so.

Types of corruption

Let’s first take into consideration why is corruption in Pakistan in first place ever carried out? The word ‘why’ can’t though justify it but it sure can explain it.

  • Those who do it out of lust/greed obviously belong to top tier people. In an urge to pile their wealth up and increase its height they go to the extent of illegal means of corruption.
  • And then there are those who do it out of compulsion which involves the ones with lesser means to life’s luxuries. But money through such illegal means is by no way the solution to combat monetary crisis.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was keen to have observed this defect decades ago, who on 6 May 1945 said,

Corruption is a curse in India and amongst Muslims, especially the so-called educated and intelligentsia. Unfortunately, it is this class that it selfish and morally and intellectually corrupt. No doubt this disease is common, but amongst this particular class of Muslims it is rampant.

Ranking of Pakistan in terms of corruption

The soaring figures of corruption in Pakistan ranks it as 117th least corrupt nation out of a total of 175 nations. This is according to the 2015 report of Corruption perception Index issued by Transparency international. While in 2005, Pakistan was ranked at 144 reaching an all-time high. So let’s just say that it did show some improvement over a decade. But if we go back and have a look at the figures of 1995 report, corruption in Pakistan was at a record low of 39 out of all countries. So hierarchically we are going down instead of moving upwards. With time nations are progressing which in the case of Pakistan is the other way around.

The Panama Paper Scandal

To add to the much worsening situation, the Premiere of Pakistan was also named among the scandalous Panama Papers leak. Thereby tarnishing the image of Pakistan world over. Some of the foreign premiers involved in the said illegitimate act resigned owing to the pressure built by people of respective countries. But people of Pakistan seem to have become numb to such happenings anymore. While the inquiry which started due the pressure built by opposition leader Imran Khan also went down the lane and never to be heard of again. So the matter really needs to go beyond politics and practical steps need be taken to curb the growing corruption in Pakistan.

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Corruption is said to be the greatest obstacle to economic development in any country. According to the estimates, about $2.6 trillion are stolen and $1 trillion are bribed each year through corruption. This on the whole amounts to 5 percent of the total Gross Domestic Product. As regard Pakistan, corruption has plagued all the institutions from education, judiciary, police forces, utilities, medical, to tax and customs. The possible causes for corruption are non-uniformity of the legal system and unequal financial distribution.

How to fight this menace?

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Anti-corruption Establishment (ACE) are agencies set on the mission to combat corruption in Pakistan. Clichéd though it may sound but change starts on individual level and change comes with action.

And above all our judiciary needs to be mended. It’s the only institution that can do the right kind of justice. If people start getting justice and high ranking officials are held accountable only then can system be made transparent. As of now, Pakistan Army is the only reliable institution of Pakistan having the full trust of people. An example is before us when recently Chief of Army Staff dismissed 12 high ranking Army officials over the charges of corruption. Under such circumstances who else will dare to be indulged in such heinous crime? If the very same criteria starts applying for bureaucrats and government officials just imagine where our country would stand.

What role ordinary citizens can play?

Stop bribing. Stop taking bribes. Abstain from the evil act of nepotism, let the system come on merit. Refrain from corruption, even though however small it may be. Spot down and stop the next time you see someone bribing a police. Remaining silent is in itself a sin so speak up, if we really want to save Pakistan from further destruction. Take a stand for the betterment of the country. Take charge, take responsibility. Because now is the time.

How do you being a Pakistani think change could be brought in real terms? What practical steps could result in fostering our economy? Let us know in the comments section.