International anti-corruption day and Pakistan | By Dr Muhammad Khan

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International anti-corruption day and Pakistan

THE United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption on October 31, 2003.

UNGA also designated December 9, as International Anti-Corruption Day. The objective of this day is to raise consciousness among the international society against the corruption and corrupt practices at international level.

It also aims to highlight the role of the Convention in combating and preventing corruption. The Convention entered into force in December 2005.

Indeed, the world needs to be serious on the issues of corruption and “problems and threats posed by corruption to the stability and security of societies, undermining the institutions and values of democracy, ethical values and justice and jeopardizing sustainable development and the rule of law.”

Analysing the ingress of corruption in Pakistan, the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah cautioned the nation against corruption and bribery at the time of inception of Pakistan in 1947.

It was because of his ordain and the strength of ideology that the word corruption was uncommon for the masses and even the political elite of Pakistan until the decade of the 1970s.

Resultantly, there remained socio-economic stability despite political turmoil and even the disintegration of Pakistan.

The decade of 1990s though started with democracy and freedom of expression and right to information, but it brought along the unpleasant element of corruption, dishonesty, financial embezzlement and other deceitful acts.

It was in the 1990s that the demand for accountability against corruption became louder than ever before.

The result of such widespread corruption has been a loss of legitimacy of state institutions. The broad areas of corruption include embezzlement, graft, bribery, abuse of discretion and even favouritism and nepotism.

Upon practicing these depraved acts by the political elite, government servants and the bureaucracy, their impacts were felt by the society of Pakistan.

The most dangerous impact of corruption and corrupt practices in Pakistan was felt in the form of flagging of social filament, impudence and widespread depravity.

It is to be noted that the traditional Pakistani culture was based on moral values, honesty, mutual respect, morality and fair play.

In the traditional Pakistani society, no one had the courage to indulge into corruption and corrupt practices and then remain unaccountable too.

Away from the legal system, Pakistani masses and civil society would not tolerate anyone who indulge into embezzlement, graft, bribery, abuse of discretion or else involved in favouritism and nepotism.

A single immoral practice or a behavioural issue (other than social norms and ethics) would segregate the culprit from society even if the wrongdoer had influential family background.

Unfortunately, in the last three decades, the social norms, morality, fairness, respect, merit and honesty have rapidly eroded from the Pakistani society.

In the previous Pakistani society, honest people used to be respected and regarded in the society during ceremonies and functions.

Today, it is reverse; the people having under gone corruption and corrupt practices are regarded and respected.

Nepotism, bribery and violation of merit are wide-spread evils in Pakistani society. The element of regard and respect is untraceable in Pakistani society.

While analysing the trends of corruption and corrupt practices in Pakistan, one would learn that there has been a top-down approach, followed for the spread of this menace in the last three decades.

The elites and ruling classes did all, what they could do to earn the money through financial embezzlement, violated the merit, promoted nepotism and favouritism.

Their corrupt practices travelled down to the government servants and strong bureaucracy of Pakistan.

The effects of this corruption then travelled down to masses, since they were the vulnerable class, available to both the ruling elite as well as the public servants.

Such a situation created a sense of bad governance and ill will among the masses. Indeed, the primary objective of a State is to provide its citizens with basic necessities of life.

This includes security of life, availability of food, education, treatment facilities, timely justice and fearless environment.

Indeed, “freedom from poverty, freedom from servitude and a quality of life where they are able to live without fear of injustice and tyranny. Nothing harms these objectives more than corruption in the organs of the state.

” The corruption ruined the governance system and the development process of Pakistan. Started from a restricted area, today the menace of corruption has spread over to all government functionaries and public sector areas.

As a result of corruption, there arose inequalities in the society which became entrenched over the years in absence of neutral accountability system.

As per the United Nations, the menace of corruption is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries.

Corruption undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability.

In Pakistan, corruption has spoiled each and every institution. Owing to rampant corruption, there has been an increase in the poverty, unemployment and chaos.

Whereas, the elite class have earned billions through corruption and malpractices, the lives of over 220 million people are miserable.

The International Anti-Corruption Day-2022 “seeks to highlight the crucial link between anti-corruption and peace, security and development.

At its core is the notion that tackling this crime is the right and responsibility of everyone, and that only through cooperation and the involvement of each and every person and institution can we overcome the negative impact of this crime.

” States, government officials, civil servants, law enforcement officers, media representatives, the private sector, civil society, academia, public and youth alike all have a role to play in this.

In order to save Pakistan from the massive corruption, lets’ get united and create a movement against corruption and its impact on Pakistani society.

Let’s collectively demand major penalties and rejection of all, elite, public servants, bureaucrats and politicians who have been involved in corruption and corrupt practices in Pakistan.

Let’s not forget, “corruption is criminal, immoral and the ultimate betrayal of public trust. ”

— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.