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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The pandemic of corruption in Pakistan

Corruption is defined as the theft of the resources of the people. It eats away at the capital requirements for human development for the nation to stand on its own feet. Education, health, birth control, and infrastructure expansion are the hardest hit areas.

Unfortunately, the pandemic of corruption has spread so deep in the land of the pure that it has become a way of life. Unless this menace is brought under control, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (IRP) has no future. In the political arena, Imran Khan (IK) stands tall as the lone financially clean leader of a major political party. Sharif Brothers, Zardari & CO could not come clean in any case registered against them. The biggest tragedy is that the ‘Neutral Establishment’ has files on all the corrupt players who have squandered the wealth of this nation. There is a concept of  ‘One Page’, the editor remains in control of the pages, and names of those who do not fall in line are removed in disgrace with no assigned reason. The ‘Editorial Control’ of the page is firm and out of reach of ordinary mortals.

Till the 1985 party-less elections, the political arena remained relatively clean of corrupt practices. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) was accused of ‘Waderaism’ but not for financial corruption of any kind. In the words of Wali Khan, the leader of the opposition in the 1970 house, “though we have had serious ideological differences with Qayyum Khan but neither of us has ever blamed each other for corruption. My father the die-hard Muslim Leaguer always admired the honesty and steadfastness of character of the ‘Red Shirt’ leaders.”

Read more: Aamir Sohail: T20 leagues help fight corruption in the game

Nawab Zada Liaquat Ali Khan the first Prime Minister did not have any personal property in the new land despite leaving behind the huge estate. He even donated his personal property to the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. After his assassination in 1951, the family fell on hard times, till today their property claims have not been settled.

Understanding the matter better

By comparison, Ayub Khan, the first usurper, allotted prime land to himself in the new capital Islamabad where he built his personal mansion. After his death, the property was sold and proceeds were distributed amongst his heirs. As it is close to the Marriott Hotel, it is now Sadruddin Hashwani’s residence. A four Kanal plot was also allotted to Justice A R Cornelius who resided in the historic Faletti’s Hotel. He returned the favor with a polite note, “I am very happy staying at the hotel, do not need the plot”. For the cost of new tires he sold his Wolseley Car to his partner in the law firm Jawad Khawaja which was finally donated to the Supreme Court Museum.

Corruption is defined as the theft of the resources of the people. It eats away at the capital requirements for human development for the nation to stand on its own feet. Education, health, birth control, and infrastructure expansion are the hardest hit areas. The founding fathers had a firm commitment to contain this menace. I clearly remember the violent reaction of my old man in such a situation. As long as he lived no clerk, inspector or meter reader could dare to ask him for a bribe.

Fearing violence, at times I pleaded with him to let go but he stood firm to nip the evil in bud. A few years back I sold my car to a retired General of the Pakistan Army. After a week he requested me to send a more visible copy of my NIC which I did but each time the dealing clerk was unable to see my photograph. Finally, I told the General that he was interested to see the face of Quaid-e-Azam, not Farid Malik, it is termed as ‘Speed Money’.

Read more: Corruption is not a problem for Pakistan: Ahsan Iqbal

There is a famous Persian saying; “Uzar Az Gunah Batar Az Gunah (Ignoring sin is a bigger sin). Unfortunately, as a nation, we have lost the will to fight evil. The world we live in is no longer black and white, only shades of grey are prevalent. My late father who stood for the right cause remained defiant till the end. In his later years, he relied on court cases to fight evil. After his passing away, I inherited about twenty litigations.

In my very first meeting with the brilliant lawyer Mian Nisar Ahmed, father of Saqib Nasir who is the Ex-Chief Justice of Pakistan, he said; Balli I kept on harping to your father that courts only provide leverage, not justice, we live in a grey world, one has to reach a compromise there are no clear winners or losers. My father died waiting to be heard in a court of law. I followed Mian Sb’s advice and reached a settlement, at least my children were spared the agony of fighting the unending legal battles of their ancestors.

When I took over as Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation I realized the influence of the ‘Network of the Corrupt’. IK calls them ‘Mafia’, personally I think they are even more deadly than the ‘Sicilian Godfathers’ as they control the files and the paperwork also. Even before I took charge, the Admin Officer wanted to send me the protocol car for personal use in Lahore which I refused. Then every time I visited home, he urged me to claim TA/DA declaring it an official visit.

He controlled all files including recruitment. It took me about six months before I could clip his wings and transfer him to another position. The backlash was unbelievable. I received telephone calls from the highest offices of all the influentials in the capital urging me to bring him back. I held my ground. Finally, he managed to get posted in the Prime Minister’s (PM) Secretariat across the road to continue with his evil ways. The PM office needs a major cleanup.

There is a ‘Mafia Protection Cell’ within the highest office of the land

There are some interesting sayings; President Richard Nixon said; “Sheep remain Sheep it is the Shehpard that changes”, fortunately in the land of the pure everyone is not a ‘Sheep’, the resilience continues despite 75 years of ‘Shehpard Aggression’. There is an American Indian saying; “An Apache rides the best Horse”. As a nation, we have been robbed and taken for a ride several times but we keep bouncing back.

Read more: Toshakhana: The mother of all corruption?

The ‘Shepards’, ‘Apaches’, ‘Editors’ and the ‘Corrupt’ have tried their best to sink us in the ‘ Sea of Corruption ‘ but in the words of Allama Iqbal, “Idhar Dobay Udhar Nicklay” (Drowned here, reemerged there). Benazir said; “Har Ghar Say Bhutto Nicklay Ga” (From every house a Bhutto will emerge). In the land of the pure ‘Rule of the Corrupt’ is destined to perish sooner or later, purity has to prevail. Father of the nation Muhammad Ali Jinnah said “There is no power on earth that can undo Pakistan” we will prevail IA, the corrupt have been identified and exposed now they have to be expelled and erased from the same page.



The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation. He can be reached at  fmaliks@hotmail.com. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.