Corruption as Main issue of Pakistan in 2019

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Campaign against corruption is looking like the main issue in 2019 like 2nd half of 2018. But still this campaign has not given any result in real terms. To some people it may be soothing for them that some leaders are under trial or have been sent to the jails but they would soon get free as we have seen in 72 years of Pakistan in all such cases.

No doubt it is easy to charge your opponents corrupt but to eradicate corruption from a society is highly difficult. No society has ever remained 100% corruption free but it can be minimized through an accountability system meant for all without any discrimination.

Pakistan has seen 13 Presidents out of which 4 were from military and 9 were from civil side. Up till 1958 Pakistan has seen 6 Prime Ministers all for a shorter period. Thereafter Pakistan has seen 15 Prime Minister. Imran Khan is the 15th PM. Apart from this Pakistan has also seen 7 caretaker Prime Minters.

Pakistan has had a problem of corruption since it came into being. Thereafter corruption started in form of denationalization and political favoritism through formation of linguistic and religious extremism: 1978-1988. Finally now we are going through unprecedented political corruption: 2008-2018.

Since 2000, Rental Power Projects scam, PMDC fake registrations, Mismanagement of state-owned institutions like PIA, Hajj corruption case, OGRA scam, NATO containers case: Pakistan Steel Mills scam, TNICL corruption case, Ephedrine quota case, The media gate scandal have remained main corruption cases apart from corruption in Public utilities, education, health, sports and Taxation Corruption is also a major cause and a result of poverty around the world. It occurs at all levels of society, from local and national governments, civil society, judiciary functions, large and small businesses, military and other services and so on.

Corruption affects the poorest the most, in rich or poor nations, though all elements of society are affected in some way as corruption undermines political development, democracy, economic development, the environment, people’s health and more.

Look, we spend only 2.2% of our GDP on education as against the UNESCO recommended norm of 4% and much higher corresponding figures for rapidly developing countries like South Korea. Our national expenditure on health is only 0.9% of our GDP. The net result is that we are turning into a nation of illiterate and semi-literate people with stunted physical and intellectual growth. With these numbers how we can eliminate corruption from education and health the two basic pillars of our society.

As regards to judiciary, the cases pending before them go on pending with no end in collaboration with legal fraternity giving chance of corruption. Pakistan has witnessed 25 Chief Justices. Justice Mian Saqib Nisar is the 25th. Apart from them we had Mr. Justice A. R. Cornelius and Justice Hamoodur Rahman creating respect from all circles. Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has given boost to judicial activism favoring people of Pakistan. However on his leaving this month a new scenario is waiting for us with hopes to move forward in positive manner.

As regards to Police, they work in collaboration with street criminals, gangs, mafias. Those who went against these gangs either lost their life or were forced to leave the force. This situation still stand as it was before. Rao Anwar is one recent example in this respect.
So in conclusion, nothing came out of all these cases. The same trend persists today where one or two politicians are being tried but with the wake of time they would get away like other cases of our 72 years history.

As regards laws to eradicate corruption, Pakistan does have following legislative structure.
The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 was enacted to make effective provisions for the prevention of bribery and corruption of public servants, particularly in the bureaucratic administration. In October 1958, an ordinance was passed to extend the act to the whole of the province of West Pakistan – this is known as the Prevention of Corruption Act (West Pakistan Extension) Ordinance, 1958. On 16 November 1999, Ordinance XIX was passed which later came to be known as the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance.

It called for the establishment of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as an autonomous federal institution building efforts to combat cases of corruption, financial crimes and economic terrorism in Pakistan. According to the ordinance, NAB was granted authority to launch investigations, conduct inquiries, and issue arrest warrants against individuals suspected in financial mismanagement, terrorism, corruption in private, state, defense and corporate sectors, and direct such cases to accountability courts. Individuals convicted under the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance are prohibited from holding political office for ten years.

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) published annually by Transparency International since 1995 ranks countries “by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.” The CPI generally defines corruption as “the misuse of public power for private benefit”.

The CPI currently ranks 176 countries. Denmark and New Zealand are perceived as the least corrupt countries in the world, ranking consistently high among international financial transparency, while the most perceived corrupt country in the world is Somalia. Pakistan is at 116 with Mali, Tanzania and Togo. India is at 79 along with China.There is no silver bullet for fighting corruption.
Six ways that are most popular and proved effective are as follows.

n Effective law enforcement to ensure the corrupt are punished and break the cycle of impunity, or freedom from punishment or loss.

n Reforms focusing on improving financial management and strengthening the role of auditing agencies like Auditor General of Pakistan.

n Countries successful at curbing corruption have a long tradition of government openness, freedom of the press, transparency and access to information. Access to information increases the responsiveness of government bodies, while simultaneously having a positive effect on the levels of public participation in a country.

n Strengthening citizen’s demand for anti-corruption and empowering them to hold government accountable with a sustainable approach helps to build mutual trust between citizens and government. For example, community monitoring initiatives have in some cases (like Switzerland) contributed to the detection of corruption, reduced leakages of funds, and improved the quantity and quality of public services.

n Access to the international financial system is also required very much to monitor and control officials throughout the world to not to launder and hide the proceeds of looted state assets.

n Major financial centers like SBP are needed to put in place ways to stop their banks and cooperating offshore financial centers from absorbing illicit flows of money.

Chairman Centre of Advisory Services for Islamic Banking and Finance (CAIF), former Head of FSCD SBP, former Head of Research Arif Habib Investments and Member IFSB Task Force for development of Islamic Money Market, former Member of Access to Justice Fund Supreme Court of Pakistan.

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