Corruption is a ‘poison’ which squanders the government resources, deters investment and is detrimental to economic growth and political development. It flourishes, if people in authority are dishonest and corrupt, the state institutes are weak, and there is a political instability, financial control, lack of transparency in governance and disregard of the rule of law. It can be curbed if there is honest leadership, meritocracy, financial control, decentralization, vibrant civil society and media, transparency and rule of law.
We, in Pakistan are breathing in a culture which, for no better description can be called as the culture of corruption. It has permeated into every facet of our life. Not a single institution is without its black sheep whose number is ever on the increase. Corruption means “dishonesty or illegal behaviour, especially of people in authority.” A common definition of corruption is “the use of public office for private gains”. As a matter of fact; we seem to be developing Immunity towards corruption. Indulgence in corruption is no longer looked upon as an immoral or shameful act. Rather a person who does not avail the opportunity to amass wealth is regarded as either a coward or a fool. The cultural cycle is complete and we are in the grip of its spiral. Religion and moral codes or examples of earlier heroes of honesty have failed to produce any healthy influence.
Currently, according to Transparency International, Pakistan is the 46th country in the index of corrupt nations. According to calculations performed by Transparency International, Pakistan has lost an unbelievably higher amount, more than Rs8.5 trillion (US $94 billion), in corruption, tax evasion and bad governance during the last four years of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani’s tenure. An adviser of Transparency International acknowledged that "Pakistan does not need even a single penny from the outside world if it effectively checks the menace of corruption and ensures good governance". The Transparency International also noted that the four years of the present regime under Gilani had been the worst in terms of corruption and bad governance in the country’s history. Pakistan’ position is worse than almost all its immediate neighbours.
Corruption is not something new. There have been periods in the subcontinent when corruption was rampant such as under British East India Company (1757-1857), when there was almost anarchy in the northeast of the subcontinent. Soon after the revolt of 1857, when the authority was transferred from the East India Company to the British Crown, corruption decreased because the British government concentrated on better governance by building institutions, such as executive and legislative councils, an efficient judiciary, bureaucracy and military. But after independence in 1947, these institutions suffered a decline in efficiency and accountability causing an increase in corruption. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in his inaugural address to the constituent assembly on August 11, 1947, had warned that bribery and corruption is a Poison and “we must put that down with an iron hand.” Unfortunately, the corruption practices have increased to an intolerable proportion and have assumed the gravity of a cancer. Dr Ilhan Niazi, in his book, “The Culture of Power and Governance of Pakistan 1947-2008” has dealt with the corruption. As early as 1950, the Lahore High Court found the Chief Minister of the Punjab ‘guilty of corruption, abuse of power and obstruction of justice’ because he had illegally acquired evacuee land for himself. After the demise of the first Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan (1947-51) in 1951, a...
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