By Sarvat Hossein
One might be forgiven for wondering what the causes of corruption are, if one examines this vice within Pakistani society. What drives the human mind to fall for the twin vices of corruption and bribery with such gay abandon in Pakistani society?
On the face of it, one could suppose that poverty, sheer greed and a love of power in a society short on democratic rights and fortified stalwart institutions to protect the ordinary citizen are all contributory factors. The low level of literacy and the weakness of the system of democracy may all be factors which make for a melting pot of sadness and despair, which in the long run, could destroy the society. Freedom of the press remains another victim.
Pakistan has struggled with notoriously high levels of corruption since it gained Independence and efforts by consecutive governments have done little to curb it. Corruption has been described as ‘a disease’ which affects the whole world, but perhaps more so in developing countries, when levels are compared to that which is encountered in the more developed countries.
Undeniably, bribery and corruption are a deep-rooted chancre in Pakistan; this continues to shake the very foundations of the country in every sphere of life, but equally as importantly, it has also tarnished the image of Pakistan internationally. The credibility of almost every institution is at stake, and one wonders where and how it will all end.
To defeat this all permeating disease from the society, a comprehensive plan needs to be formed and implementation of the strategy must involve the very highest reaches of Government and its many institutions. The flaws within society at large, which lead to and normalize bribery and corruption has been the subject of considerable scrutiny and study over many years.
An interesting new development, and one which gives hope to most Pakistanis is the recent intervention by PM Imran Khan, who launched the anti-corruption app called ’Report corruption’. This was in the context of International Anti- Corruption Day observance on the 9th December 2019. It is certainly a positive step taken by PTI government, and by virtue of this move, it suggests that the problem is widely acknowledged.
PM Khan demonstrated an infectious enthusiasm in his speech, suggesting that the nation should unite against the corrupt elements, given that and country’s progress depends in large part on the eradication of corruption from the society.
This has gone down very well, although critics wondered why this step had not been taken during his first few days in office, since it is one of the most damaging of the issues facing Pakistani society. However, most agree that it is never too late to put one’s house in order. It has been one of the top trending issues on Twitter recently, certainly news about the punishment of some corrupt individuals recently.
A particularly challenging example of the destructive influence of bribery and corruption is how drug dealers engage with the judicial and penal system; people have expressed the view that drugs dealers involved in smuggling of tons of drugs (and making huge fortunes from this menace in society) are readily being bailed out of jails and from the courts because the police and concerned departments are unable (or unwilling) to present strong evidence against the criminals. The supposition here is that officials are being bribed out of following the requirements of the laws of the land and that collusion with the criminals is why conviction rates of the NAB (National Accountability Bureau) and police are low.
The nation must unite against corruption and its related elements. It is not one person’s fight or job, rather it is the mindset of the people which needs to be changed. A huge shake up within the whole society is a necessity, and the roots of corruption need to be destroyed completely.
By saying NO TO CORRUPTION with one voice, loud and clear, this is the only way Pakistan can come out from the dark shadow of sleaze and graft which is slowly and quietly destroying the country.