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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Why Pakistan has become a hostage to corruption

Corruption in Pakistan is widespread and extends to every sector from the government to the judiciary, police, health services and education. The problems are long-standing, and despite ongoing calls for reform, and many attempts to improve the situation, there is little evidence of progress.

As a nation, we are hostage to corruption. In the land of the pure, no one can dare to be pure without having to pay a heavy toll. Till the decade of the eighties, corrupt practices were largely contained. Those who indulged in foul play were looked down upon, the term  Rashi (One who takes bribes) was considered to be evil and harmful to society. My late father considered his national responsibility to fight Bribery. In his hay days, he would slap the corrupt while in the twilight of his life he took legal action against the unscrupulous who demanded bribes from him. Cases were filed, and notices were served against them. In his own words, Truth always prevails, in the end, it’s a game of stamina.

It can be safely assumed that corruption in the land of the pure has been inflicted by repeated establishment intrusions into the political arena. Every usurper promised to fight corruption but was left with a bigger mess. From Ayub Khan’s EBDO (Elected Bodies Disqualification Ordinance) to Musharraf’s NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) to the recent return to the power of the corrupt there is a visible pattern of support. Imran Khan (IK) the leader with the stamina to fight this menace was not only cornered but removed from power when he was close to nabbing the ‘Thugs’. The current resurgent support for the fallen leader is clearly indicated that the public desires to break through the cordons of corruption imposed on them, they refuse to be a hostage of this pandemic any longer.

Read more: Pakistan caught in a serious debt trap

Corrupt nations have no future

A clear line has been drawn for the first time between the ‘Clean & Corrupt’ (C & C). Thanks to social media the corrupt have been exposed beyond an iota of doubt, now the system is geared to tarnish the image of the few clean who remain in the political arena with IK being one of them. PML-N entered the circus as a party of interests where everyone was allowed to make a kill for himself mostly through ‘Kickbacks’. Plots, loans followed by right offs, lucrative jobs in violation of merit, every foul was declared ‘Fair in Politics.

Abba Ji the founder of the ‘Sharif Dynasty’ that emerged from the ‘Ittefaq Group’ believed that everyone has a price, pays and gets their job done. Those who came in the way were dealt with accordingly. Bhutto’s People’s Party remained clean till the ‘Zardari Touch’ since then it has been downhill. It is almost extinct in Lahore from where it was launched in November 1967 and now may be facing its ‘Waterloo’ after the ‘Waters’ recede inflicting misery on our Sindhi brothers. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Jr has made an entry after a long absence mainly because of life threats. His sister Fatima kept visiting but was afraid to settle down in her homeland where people still chant Bhutto Zinda Ha while the beneficiaries of his legacy are now Zardari’s.

Though the party still has some surviving old Comrades, when it comes to corruption both parties are about the same. It is true within the fold of PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) there are some tainted players but the Kaptaan remains above board. In one of her recent speeches, Maryam Nawaz compared CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) with GPEC (Gogi Pinki Economic Corridor) but it did not stick, her speech writers led by an Ex-Comrade Pervaiz Rashid had to go back to the drawing board. Gogi is married into a hard-core PML-N Jutt family from Gujranwala. Her father-in-law was a cabinet member of the now-defunct Hamza Cabinet.

Yes, the nation is divided between the C & C on which there can be no compromise or dialogue. As offered by IK both sides can sit together to agree on the way forward through  Free and Fair Elections to determine the will of the people as was done in 1970 for the first time. With an entrenched establishment in bed with corrupt politicians it will not be easy for the people to be counted and then heard but any misadventure this time around will have serious consequences. The writing is on the wall just by sitting with IK the ‘Corrupt’ cannot get a new lease of life.

Read more: The pandemic of corruption in Pakistan

They have to survive through a contest through a credible ballot otherwise they will perish like all the Establishment Touts were wiped out in the first free and fair elections in 1970. Since then, the establishment has followed the ‘Stalin Doctrine’.The byelections scheduled for September 25 if held will be interesting as IK and his ‘Tigers’ are well prepared to take on the corrupt. Real freedom may finally be achieved as the establishment seems cornered this time around but a massive clean-up operation will be required to sustain the fruits of this relentless struggle once power is gained. Hopefully, Kaptaan will enter the field with a new untainted and able team to introduce real change after ‘Haqiqi Azadi’ that he is so valiantly struggling and toiling for.

Corrupt politicians together with colonial institutions will have to make room for the ‘Clean’ as it was in the first decade (1947 to 1958) before our journey to freedom was hijacked in October 1958 by the first Desi Sipah-e-Salar who then promoted himself to the rank of Field Marshal. As a nation, we refuse to be Hostage to corruption any longer as we have suffered enough already. It is time to bury them together with their founders and designers. Jinnah rightly said; “No force can undo Pakistan” not even the corrupt politicians and their supporters in the establishment.


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.