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Old Saturday, October 14, 2006
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Default Corruption



Factors or reasons, which contribute to corruption
Main channels for corruption
Corruption in Pakistan
How to end corruption

The word corruption has been deduced from corrupt which means to change from good to bad in morals, manners and actions. Corruption stands for impairment of integrity virtue or moral principle or inducement of wrong by bribery or other unlawful means. This also means departure from what is pure or correct.

Since corruption is connected with bribery, it will be useful to define it, too. The word bribe literally stands for money as favors bestowed on or promised to a person in a position of trust in order to prevent a judgment or corrupt his conduct. It is thus clear that corruption and bribery go hand in hand and cover a big sphere of social activity, which can be disrupted to an extent that makes people’s lives miserable and retards the growth of a country.

It is questionable, whether corruption can be dealt with selectively, because many activities are independent with it: corruption in business feeds on corruption in government and administration which in turn, supports social and moral corruption that distorts the fabric of society by promoting questionable values.

It is true that at the time of its birth, Pakistan had no socio-economic infrastructure for a nation’s survival. Despite political instability corrupt leadership and self-centered opportunists has weather everything to stand firm like a rock. It was due to the dexterity of laborers, the romantic idealism of its youth, the diversity of its agro-climate conditions and kind of resolve of its people to defeat all odds.

Before discussing aftermaths of corruption it is imperative to analyze the factors or reasons, which contribute to corruption.

To begin with, the lack of accountability promotes corruption rampantly. Since we do not have any organized institution, which can be reliable, corrupt one feel secure without check and malpractice at large.

By every definition corruption means the violations of the laws of land and social norms. It is precisely the excess of rules that create fertile ground for corruption. When social relations tend to be close and personal, it might be difficult to establish direct link between the act of corruption and the person concerned. But complicated rules camouflage social intimacy and have the way for both to come into a deal, which may suit them but not to the country. In many cases the corrupted and the corrupter may never even have discussed the payment. It would be simply understood that favor granted today creates a presumption or even an obligation for a reciprocal favor tomorrow.

The biggest drawbacks in our national development have been political instability. So-called leaders and opportunists joined hands with the civil-military bureaucracy to retain powers and loot the country of its resources with both hands.

Our immoral and un-Islamic social customs play an important role in boost corruption. In order to fulfill unreasonable needs of customs of families, officials go out of the way to earn money. Instead of practicing austerity in their lines, they are bound to lead luxurious life, which demands high cost. That can only be met by illegal means.

The recent crises in Indonesia and Russia highlighted a sobering lesson for the rest of the developing countries. Whatever economic policies may be in place the country has to pay a heavy price sooner or later if the incidence of corruption crosses a certain threshold limit. No amount of external assistance or foreign investment or natural resource abundance can save the population from dire social and economic consequences of corruption.

Indonesia had pursued relatively good economic policies for the last three decades and had succeeded in lifting almost 99% of its population out of poverty. But the greed and insatiable seeking ability to accumulate wealth by a small coterie of the ruling elite brought about people without jobless, no longer small business and economic insecurity in the country. The damage caused by a minuscule segment of the population for their personal aggrandize thereof cost the country a big setback.

Russia a country with poor economic policies has also suffered equally as a result of widespread corruption of a mall class of oligarchs and other factors. A country with so many natural resources, possessing an educated labor force, endowed with so good infrastructure and favored by heavy external assistance has ended up in serious internal turmoil owing to corruption.

These two real examples determine the fatal consequences of corruption that corruption has any “facilitation or greasing the wheel” kind of benign effect. There is an emerging consensus among the academics as well as the policy-manners that corruption has an inimical and corrosive influence on economic development and leads to social instability.

It is time to learn from the lesson of Indonesia and Russia in order to come to grip with the problems of the carpet, it sources and channels of corruption in Pakistan. Following are the main channels or ways, which give rise to opportunities for corruption and if these can be plugged the chances, are that its incidence will be minimized.

First is the leakage in the assessment and collection of tax revenues. Owing to unscrupulous tax collectors, even honest taxpayers have succumbed to tax evasion and extortion. This ill-gotten wealth by both taxpayers and tax collectors creates serious social fragmentation.

Second, the government contracts and purchases of goods and services by different departments and ministries have brought affluence to those who allow or authorize these contracts and purchases. The recent history of commissions, kickbacks and foreign deposits is too well known that it does not need any repetition but simply illustrates the gravity of the problem. The inflated public expenditures are one of the main contributory factors in the financial distress and heavy indebtedness faced by the country.

Third, the public enterprises and corporations such as WAPDA, KESE, Steel Mills, PIA, etc. have become a big sore on the economic landscape of country. The managers and employees are making hay while the sun shines but country is facing financial disaster by absorbing the losses of these enterprises. The public utility bills are out of reach of a common hardworking honest family. The point shows that the very existence of these enterprises induces the honest public to grow corrupt because being honest they cannot cater to the prices of basic facilities of life. The competitiveness of Pakistan’s manufacturing industries in the world market is at serious stake because of higher tariffs charged for electricity and other utilities.

Fourth, the nationalized commercial banks and financial institutions have made a few thousand families fabulously rich but made the rest of the population pay the price for their malfeasance. The cost of capital has become exorbitantly high and the access to credit has been so severely curtailed that legitimate business and enterprises are unable to carry out their productive activities or expand. No a modern, employment opportunities are shrinking.

Fifth, the recruitment, postings and transfers in all government ministries, departments and corporations are largely made either in exchange of outright pecuniary favors or on pure political considerations. The result is that the government offices are saddled with incompetent and dishonest functionaries who are always trying to please their bosses on political matters while being completely oblivious to the grievances of the common man whom they are supposed to serve.

The culture of sycophancy and catering to the whims of those in power has taken firm roots. While the upper echelons of the bureaucracy remains busy in meeting the demands of those in power, the clerks and the lower functionaries harass, extort and misbehave with the poor people who come to their offices for legitimate need. The police officials are perceived as a menace by the ordinary citizens rather than as a protector of their life and property.

Sixth, another avenue for making a fast buck and becoming rich overnight, particularly in the past, has to lay your hands on a license or permit of any kind, i.e. construction import or obtain flats of land at highly subsidized prices and pocket the differences between the acquired price and the market price. The prices of both the commercial and residential property, have therefore, soared to levels beyond the affordability of middle class family. The textile export quota has also been misused in the post to enrich a few.

Society is affected by corruption, bribery market manipulation and hinders economic development. It substitutes graft for quality, performance and suitability in global markets. Bribers undermine democratic accountability. Weak governments are further weakened by corruption and emerging democracies are threatened.
In Pakistan, corruption has eaten up the inner of people belonging to all walks, sections, areas and classes in the country. The poorest is least corrupt only because there is nothing handy to steal from the laborer who puts in half a day’s work and charges for the full day, is as corrupt as the executive engineer in a government department who puts half the project funds in his pocket. The problem, therefore, is somewhat larger than it appears. Corruption has become part of our system.
It is much easy to diagnose the problem, analyze it and lay it out explicitly but it is more difficult to prescribe as to what can be done about it. Fortunately, the solutions to all the problems sketched out above are well known: i.e. transparency, openness accountability, selection on merit, privatization, competitive tendering, removal of discretion and enforcement of the rule of law.

Not withstanding, mentioning or diagnosing the hallmarks of an egalitarian society or corruption. Free policy; there is dire need to pen down practical measures in removing or rooting out corruption from the country. Following steps may also ensure corruption-free future in our country.

Insulating the civil servants from all kinds of influences can minimize corruption. On the one hand his posting, transfer, punishment and promotion should be done not by the rulers but by commissions and tribunals which are completely free from the influence of rulers as well as from personal greed. On the other hand, in order to ensure this insulation does not allow him to an extent that he does not succumb to any temptations. The endeavor should be to make the civil fearless, honest, and non-compromising and a strict follower of the Book.

Let all appointments to be made through independent commission. Let no one have the power to take out any posts for whatever reason from the purview of the commissions. The chairman and member of these commissions should be appointed through procedures similar to those followed for the appointment of Supreme Court Judges.

Expenditures incurred on such commissions will be millions times less than the money lost through the wrongly recruited people chosen by the rulers. We must remember that proper recruitment is the key factor in preventing corruption and misuse of powers. A person recruited for wrong reason is not only a source of all kinds of evils during the tenure of those who appoint him but also for another forty years during which he continues his government job.

Establishment of independent commission to combat corruption and ensuring independence of regulatory institutions, and independent judiciary, in this regard, plays a vital role in upholding the rule of law and protecting a society against corruption. It can ensure that no one is above the law.

There is also need to ensure the independence of regulatory institutions such as the Central Bank, Securities and Exchange Commission in order to prevent major corruption in relation to the financial operations of banks and stock exchanges. Loans must be issued pledging the equal value property without politician’s pressure.
Declaration and publications of assets of all persons holding elected office and their family members, such declarations should be available for inspection to the members of the public. In the UK a number measures have been adapted to monitor and provide checks on activities of members of Parliament. A register that is open for inspection by the public is maintained in which members have to declare nine categories of interest from which they may derive financial benefits.
All the public servants should be compelled by law to clear their deskwork within a reasonable time. Failing which, they should be punished with deduction from their pay because sometime they delay in work to get some benefit from people. Work in offices should be automatic so that needy persons do not have to visit offices and give an opportunity to clerks to make illegal demands. Citizens should be free to lodge complaints with courts or ombudsman. Discretionary powers of officials should be kept to the minimum and be monitored by respectable citizens. Let us revive social boycott of corrupt politicians, officials, businessmen and even journalists.

In addition there is a dire need to organize various forms of civil society groups, raise voices and keep on highlighting these issues, use the free press to expose the real instances of corruption and malpractices and act as pressure group. Moral and religious awareness are also key solutions to this problem.

NOTE: Written by Naveed Anwar not by me

Last edited by Princess Royal; Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 12:10 AM.
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Old Saturday, October 14, 2006
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If somebody write something or try to eluidate something then he/she must have read and reviewed a lot before putting forward his/her views. So, i must suggest that we should value everybody's writings.

This essay is also worth reading. Good work !

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