Corruption stays

ACCORDING to IMF, bribes to the tune of about $1.5 trillion change hands every year, which constitutes 5% of the global GDP. In the ranking of the most corrupt countries, Pakistan stands at 166 in the list of 199 countries of the world while the least corrupt States include Sweden, New Zealand, Estonia, Hong Kong, Norway, Ireland, Netherlands, Singapore, Finland and Denmark.
The findings of the latest survey are in stark contrast to claims by the authorities in Pakistan that the instance of corruption has come down significantly. No doubt, there are no mega corruption scandals as in the past and there were also no reports of rampant corruption at the top or in major projects and deals but still the situation is far from satisfactory. The question arises as to why there is no worthwhile improvement in the situation when there is national focus on the issue. This is mainly because we have been paying only lip-service to accountability and even NAB is laying emphasis only on awareness. It has miserably failed to have any deterrent effect on the society and that is why there is corruption and misuse of power and authority. There are also other mechanisms in place like audit of the government accounts but in the first place the audit is not as comprehensive and fair as it should be and even in cases where anomalies are pointed out no remedial actions are taken. The annual report of the Auditor-General for 2016 has pinpointed fraud, embezzlement, thefts and misuse of public resources to the tune of Rs. 98 billion in different ministries and departments but as usual the report would be dumped and no action is expected against those who indulged in fraud or corruption. Similarly, MPs have been filing declarations of assets but these were never probed before and only now the Election Commission has started the exercise under pressure of the public opinion. Our economy is badly bleeding due to corruption and eradication of menace has the potential to help us make a leap forward.

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