Corruption and Good Governance in Pakistan

Topics: Political corruption, Transparency International, Worldwide Governance Indicators Pages: 13 (3848 words) Published: February 23, 2011
123 Pakistan Economic and Social Review
Volume 48, No. 1 (Summer 2010), pp. 123-134

Abstract. Good Governance flourish in a necessarily corruption free situation. Pakistan is unfortunately way down on the ladder on this account. Corruption of all magnitudes mega, moderate and petty permeates all tiers of governance and all segments of the society public, private, political, judicial, commercial and even religions. Paradoxically corruption acts as the balancing market mechanism here in a vastly unregulated administrative paradigm. There exists surreal economic rationale for this give and take at the individual level but economic cost to the society is stupendous. Corruption severely impacts the life of the citizens through less returns on resource use and adds manifold to their cost of living. Genesis of corruption in Pakistan can be traced to the mega events of 1940s to 1990s and even the current decade. Serious attempts at accountability originating in mid 1990s and fortified on the turn of the century farcically turned into tools of political patronage or victimization. For the last two years there is a practically a legal vacuum at the national level. A host of measures are needed to eradicate this menace. The awareness in the general public and emergence of a strong civil society, vociferous media and a newly independent judiciary all by themselves stand as a guarantee to the success of any future programme of accountability.

Corruption defined as misuse of entrusted power for private benefit is unfortunately endemic in Pakistan. No structure, no tier and no office of public sector is immune from it. Its spread is enormous. It has reached every organ of state — beyond executive it has put its claws on judiciary and legislature even. It would be no exaggeration to say that the whole body of the state of Pakistan is suffering from this malaise and wailing under its dead weight. So enormous is its incidence that Pakistan is ranked 139th in the *The author is Chairperson/Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab, Lahore-54590 (Pakistan).


Pakistan Economic and Social Review

comity of nations on the scale of corruption free governance. This ranking is not at all enviable or acceptable. TABLE 1 Transparency International; Corruption Perception Index Pakistan Score and Ranking Year 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 Pakistan Rank/Score 139/2.4 134/2.5 138/2.4 142/2.2 144/2.1 129/2.1 92/2.5 77/2.6 79/2.3 N/A 87/2.2 71/2.7 48/2.53 53/1 Pak Most Corrupt Rank 42 47 42 20 16 19 42 26 13 N/A 13 15 5 2 No. of Countries Ranked 180 180 179 163 159 147 133 102 91 90 99 85 52 54

Source: 2009 Press Release November 2009.doc.

“Corruption manifests itself in various forms in Pakistan, including widespread financial and political corruption, nepotism, and misuse of power. Both petty and grand corruptions are prevalent in the country” (Chene, 2008). Corruption clouds almost all tiers of government; it is all pervasive and deeply entrenched. “The level of corruption in the society ultimately depends on the values and morals of that society” (Vittal and Mahalingam, 2004:237). Over the period acceptability of corruption has rather increased in the society and there is little evidence that people feel guilty about their own role in corruption. The scale of corruption is highest in development projects and procurement (including defense and public sector corporations) and the bank loan write offs. Whereas mega corruption is mainly in development projects, bank loans and procurements which rocks

JAVAID: Corruption and its Deep Impact on Good Governance in Pakistan


the foundation of the economy, the common man is more interested in the petty and middle level corruption that he encounters in the...
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