Transparency International defines corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. Corruption is a vice that erodes trust, weakens democracy, hinders economic development and further exacerbates inequalities, poverty, social division and environmental crisis. Corruption can take many forms and can include behaviors such as: officials demanding or accepting money or favors in exchange for services, politicians misusing public money or granting public jobs or contracts to their sponsors, friends and families, companies bribing officials to become lucrative deals.
Corruption can occur anywhere, in government institutions / departments, in government-planned development projects and in the private sector involving public or private funds. Corruption can involve anyone: politicians, officials, officials, officials / members of state institutions, businessmen or members of the public. Corruption occurs, often with the help of professional enablers such as bankers, lawyers, accountants and real estate agents, opaque financial systems and limited companies that allow corruption schemes to flourish and the corrupt are allowed to launder and hide their illicit wealth.
Like many other countries in the world, even more like neighboring India, corrupt practices are also prevalent in Pakistan, which has had a negative impact on its economy. This article mainly deals with corruption in the public sector in Pakistan, where public money is plundered by elected representatives of the ruling party, bureaucracy and bank officials together. Of the public funds allocated to development projects, very less is spent on projects / provision of services to the population and most of it goes into the pockets, from which private property / assets are made to make it white or otherwise. money is laundered to hide corruption. And with very little money spent on projects, the quality and lifespan of projects is compromised due to inefficiency or corruption prevalent in quality control departments. Since the proper documentation of project expenditure is carried out to meet the audit requirement, those suspected of being corrupt cannot be sanctioned.
The main weakness lies in the court ruling, where the prosecution is asked to prove whether the defendant’s assets are in line with his income – rather than placing the burden of proof on the defendant himself.
Likewise, public officials and influential officials get heavy loans from banks, government money and citizens’ money deposited in banks, and later these loans are canceled by their party government. by obtaining political favors through pressure tactics. It also results in heavy losses for government and private money. The article also discusses corruption caused by concealment / misrepresentation of assets by representatives of the public, officials and the general public, and corruption in RBF which results in insufficient collection of taxes / revenues for annual budgets, resulting in budget deficits that force governments to obtain domestic and foreign loans.
The corruption discussed above has been a major cause of Pakistan’s hampered economic growth and development and has resulted in wider economic and social inequality in society. Corruption has also placed Pakistan in heavy foreign debt and prevented common people from without necessary public services. Due to the high external debt and the inability to repay debt tranches, due to declining production / economic growth, exports and foreign exchange reserves, Pakistan’s sovereignty has also been severely affected. affected because it is forced to take out new loans from friendly countries and the IMF / World Bank, which are controlled by the great Western powers like the United States and EU countries.
Therefore, now the time has come for Pakistani national leaders from all political parties to realize the need to end corruption in the country by relegating their personal / partisan gains for the sake of the country. In this regard, they should know of Quaid-I-Azam’s advice for ending corruption, where he said, “Corruption and bribes are like horrible poison and disease, which must be quelled. with an iron fist. “
Therefore, it is necessary to put an end to corruption in order to make Pakistan an economically self-sufficient and strong country based on the economic development supported by the CPEC. This must be done to serve the Pakistani people well by ending poverty and bringing prosperity, to maintain a strong armed forces to meet the ever-increasing security challenges in the region, and to enable Pakistan to become an economic powerhouse. and autonomous and sovereign military. its role for regional peace and prosperity.
To end corruption, although anti-corruption departments had existed in Pakistan for many years and later the National Accountability Office (NAB) was also added, but these institutions could not function well for rule among corrupt people. The main reason was the lesser insistence of successive governments to put an end to corruption, due to the involvement of influential public officials and government officials in this malpractice, and those accused of corruption easily escaped punishment due to weak prosecution laws and the judicial system. However, it is encouraging that the PTI government led by Imran has launched a clear campaign against corruption, but this government faces many obstacles in this endeavor.
The main obstacles are; opposition politicians who face corruption charges are from a wealthy class and control most of the country’s businesses and as a result they are countering the government’s anti-corruption campaign by controlling the market and raising prices products of daily use by accumulating them to discredit the government in the eyes of the people / voters in order to get the PTI government to vote in the next general election.
In addition, due to the weakness of our prosecution and judicial systems, many corruption cases persist without any results. The main weakness is the judicial decision, where the prosecution is asked to prove, whether the assets of an accused are in line with his sources of income, rather than asking the individual concerned to prove it, because he is supposed to know his sources of income. much better than the pursuit. Additionally, as the justice system needs witnesses to prove corruption charges, witnesses brought to accountability courts by the NAB ultimately change their statements in favor of the accused as they are heavily bribed by the accused to leave. looted money.
The above discussion indicates that while it is necessary to put an end to corruption in Pakistan, it can only be done if all political parties are committed to working against it, as the ruling political parties continue to change in based on their victory in the general election held after every five years. However, currently, opposition political parties are expected to start cooperating with the PTI government in its anti-corruption campaign, in particular, by supporting the government to change anti-corruption laws in the National Assembly and the Senate. , in order to make these more effective in putting an end to corruption.
In this context, the judiciary, the electoral commission, the NAB and other departments should also commit to supporting this government’s anti-corruption campaign, as well as future governments, which are struggling to end corruption in the country. The Supreme Court of Pakistan can help by making a ruling that the accused will have to prove that his property is in line with his sources of income, rather than the prosecution doing so, although the prosecution is doing its part by providing the information available. . with that.
And, above all, the Pakistani people should also support any political party / government that is fighting to end corruption in Pakistan. At the same time, to gain the support of the people to end the corruption in Pakistan, as the current PTI government should alleviate the economic hardship of the people by halting the ever increasing rise in the prices of everyday products, it should also compensate the salaried class. and retirees by increasing their wages to a minimum of 25 percent, in the next budget, as has been rightly announced by the government of Punjab for its employees and retirees.
In addition, while the government should further improve its anti-corruption strategy to make the process more transparent in order to avoid the blame suffered by individuals from other political parties, the NAB should also strengthen its prosecution procedures and make his work more transparent. avoid the blame that the NAB victimized those accused. At the same time, responsibility courts and courts of appeal should ensure that all corruption cases are dealt with urgently to achieve swift results and that defendants are not allowed to unnecessarily delay cases. by not participating in legal proceedings with lame excuses.
The author is a former IPRI researcher and SVI Islamabad principal investigator