Syed Nayyaruddin Ahmed
IN Pakistan, every body knows that we are no less behind any nation in corruption.
The NAB chairman during last PPP government’s tenure of 2008-13, himself disclosed that the daily value of corruption in Pakistan, was a staggering amount of Rs.12 billion per day or Rs.4320 billion per year. Now, this huge amount of corruption in Pakistan is more than the Rs.4.0 trillion budget of the country; and almost 17% of the country’s whole GDP of 250 billion USD. A State Bank report published on December 23, 2015 by the daily “Express Tribune” also sheds light on the very high level of “Informal Pakistani Economy” quoted as below.
Quote. “Currency in circulation as a percentage of GDP is a measure that reflects the scale of the informal economy: a higher ratio means a larger informal economy and a heavier dominance of cash. According to the SBP annual report, this ratio is 9.4% in Pakistan, which is the second highest after India (10.6%). It is 3.4% in Sri Lanka, 3.7% in Malaysia, 5.9% in Bangladesh and 7% in the Philippines. Similarly, the ratio of broad money (M2) as a percentage of GDP is another proxy that helps determine the size of the undocumented economy. A lower ratio of M2-to-GDP reflects a larger informal economy. This ratio is 41.2% in Pakistan as opposed to 62.7% in Bangladesh and 76.7% in India.” Unquote.
Moreover, we are also no less behind in raising hue and cry against corruption. But, the problem is that corruption can neither be curbed with hollow slogans nor by declaration of assets by the politicians and government employees. Times of India reported on November 19, 2011 that after signing agreements with 48 countries, India will shortly ink pacts with 42 more nations to bring backblack money stashed abroad, Union minister of state for parliamentary affairs Harish Rawat said. Once these agreements are signed, India will be in a position to bring back black money stashed in different banks abroad, he told reporters here. Corruption can only be minimised by deterrent legislation; which ensures that crime of corruption will not pay, neither in the short, nor in the long term.
And effective judicial verdicts, like the one announced by the Delhi court in which former Indian 86 years old telecom minister Sukhram, has been sentenced for five years jail, for taking Rs 3 lakhs as bribe to give a lucrative contract to a private firm in 1996. He pleaded for leniency in court on grounds of his old age while the CBI called him a “habitual offender” and sought maximum punishment for him. The 86-year-old former minister was held guilty for misusing his official position during his tenure as telecom minister in P V Narasimha Rao’s cabinet in giving a contract worth Rs 30 crore to a private company, Haryana Telecom Limited (HTL), to supply 3.5 Lakh Conductor Kilometers (LCKM) of Polythene Insulated Jelly Filled (PIJF) cables to the telecom department.
We in Pakistan must realise that our main problem is not the existence of corruption. Rather, the fertile culture which helps breed corruption as the most lucrative and profitable activity in Pakistan. Till such time, we attack the very roots of this cancerous culture of corruption in Pakistan, no positive improvement should be expected in any sphere of life. And we must be aware of the fact that, corruption is a bigger menace than terrorism. Since, we have all the required institutions and no dearth of honest and honourable people, what is required is developing a system to post these dynamic people to be head of NAB, FIA and Anti-Corruption departments of provincial governments.
Towards the achievement of this goal, a committee is proposed to be constituted, consisting of Chief Justice of Supreme Court, all Chief Justices of High Courts and leader of the opposition of National and all provincial assemblies, for appointing on a tenure post, all heads and key personnel of NAB, FIA and Provincial anti-Corruption departments. Moreover, NO person in the country from civil, military, judiciary and any other department should have the immunity from interrogation, on corruption matters, before; these departments. It is earnestly hoped that the above said mechanism if, put in place, will strike such a fear in the hearts of all and sundry, that no one will dare even think, of doing corruption in Pakistan.
— The writer is political analyst based in Lahore.