Politics of Corruption

By Raza, Moosi | Economic Review, September 1998 | Go to article overview

Politics of Corruption


Raza, Moosi, Economic Review


Growing narrow nationalism is a clear indication of restlessness and sense of deprivation prevailing among smaller provinces. It needs immediate solution before it becomes too late.

There is no denying the fact that the existing system is cemented together through corruption and politics plays an important role in it. Rulers in Pakistan make false claims about eradication of corruption and changing the system. But their track record is quite contrary to that. No angel is needed to do so. An honest man with political will at the helm of affairs can do it. Simply root-out the corruption, the whole system will come to the ground automatically. At least three out of four elected governments were sent home since 1988, though under infamous Article 58(2)B but the major reason was the corruption. Without indulging in the debate of the credentials of the then Presidents whether they were pious or not, the fact remained that everyone looted the country according to his or her capability. As the saying goes when the roof starts leaking one can't keep the floor clean. The corruption when prevails at the highest level of the system its transmission to the lowest tier can not be stopped. And this is the dilemma of our system. Our politicians when in opposition make high claims of elimination of corruption, establishing a democratic governance, independence of judiciary and press, provision of relief to the common man and restoration of law and order in the country. But the moment they come in power they become part and parcel of the whole system and forget the pledges made to the nation. And there is no exception to it. Have a look on both sides of the political divide and try to find out a single Mr. Clean. Certainly it would be a disappointing exercise. Right from the Surrey to Raiwind Palace more or less it is the same lot.

It is dilemma as well that there is no tradition of rulers submitting themselves voluntarily to impartial and transparent accountability. Those in power make the rules of game in line with their own suiting in order to victimize the political opponents. Benazir even did not spare the aged Abaji so she is facing the music now. Independent political analysts always stressed upon the need of establishing an impartial Ehtesab Commission headed by an Apex court judge in order to make the accountability process transparent, fair and impartial.

The performance of the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her spouse and colleagues in both tenures is no secret. Corruption in every field was its hallmark. Nawaz Sharif now is in office for about 18 months. Is his performance different from the predecessor.... ? Has he fulfilled the commitments made to the downtrodden during election campaign or in party's manifesto or is there any sign of meeting such pledges in near future or in the days remaining in his tenure ... ? The answer perhaps, is quite obvious. The problems of the teeming masses in fact have further aggravated.

It has become difficult for them to meet both ends. Claims of independent judiciary and press are licking dust. Official electronic media that was assured to be made independent in the PML(N) manifesto has been more loyal to the king. Law and order situation has further worsened with sectarian and factional killings all around. Economy is in a shambles. Inflation and price-hike has sky rocketed. Rupee is continuously dipping against the dollar. The business-friendly community of the PM is on the rampage on various issues including GST. Investors' confidence was eroded by freezing FCAs. Agriculturists are scot-free despite assurances that meaningful agriculture tax would be imposed on them.

Moreover, Nawaz government is undergoing crisis of its own making. Ill-conceived and untimely decisions on Kalabagh Dam and CA- 15 have made more enemies than friends and diverted the attention from more important issues that were deemed to be addressed on priority. For instance better economic management, well-being of the downtrodden and visible improvement in the law and order situation, in short good governance should have been the goal of the government. …

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