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Archive for category Corruption

The genesis of corruption by Tahir Kamran

The genesis of corruption
Tahir Kamran

 

June 19, 2016 

Is a corruption-free Pakistan possible?

 

 

 

A few days back, an old acquaintance asked me about the future pattern of Punjab politics in the wake of a scam as big as the Panama Leaks. I told him nothing is likely to effect any change in the existing pattern of Punjab politics. Not a single parliamentarian has raised a voice or threatened to depose the current rulers because ‘the first family’ has off-shore companies and the source of capital invested is shrouded in obscurity.
Of course it is corruption. But then isn’t that the way of life in the land of the pure? If it is an art, we have perfected it; if it is a science, we have excelled in it. More worryingly, we have accorded legitimacy to corrupt practices. In fact, we celebrate both corruption and the corrupt.
In the Victorian era, man was defined as a symbol of masculinity, white (read Caucasian) and rational with values derived from the Christian faith. If we try to define Pakistani ‘man’, corruption has to be an essential trait that he is bound to carry in order to qualify as ‘man’. He also has to be yaran da yar, (friend of friends) which means a real ‘man’ shows no respect for any law or regulation when it comes to his friends, cronies or sidekicks.
Thus in our case, violating the law or even constitution for that matter symbolises how powerful someone is. For the poor, corruption may be a means of climbing the social ladder but for the rich and affluent, corruption is the means to express power.
Another acquaintance jestingly said the other day that he has tried to make a payment of a few dollars to get his name included in the list that has emerged out of Panama Leaks. I asked him why he did that, knowing he wasn’t serious. He replied that it was a sign of ‘respectability’; it becomes damn easy to marry off a daughter to a boy from a good family if you can affirm your wealth.
Historians (particularly Edward Gibbon) have inferred from the past that when wealth becomes the principal determinant of the values that society respects, the fall of that society becomes inevitable. The same happened with the Romans and they fell, never to rise again. The generation of wealth and even more so its distribution should be carried out through mutually agreed regulations, which the Romans started flouting with impunity, and hence their fall.
For the poor, corruption may be a means of climbing the social ladder but for the rich and affluent, corruption is the means to express power.
Indeed, it needs no less than a miracle for any nation/civilization to rejuvenate itself. China can be put forth as one rare example. But it too will have to go a long way to match the sole super power, USA.
Another of my friends says, “corruption and Pakistan are like two peas in a pod”. His observation seems sweeping, yet it cannot be easily denied. The first and foremost cause of corruption was embedded in the cataclysmic event of Partition. This is depicted in the relevant chapters from the works of Ilyas Chattha, Urvashi Butalia, Yasmin Khan and Vazira Zamindar. Such events as the partition of India are no less than the upheavals of history bringing about the tectonic shift in the established norms of sociology and culture.
As a consequence of an event of such magnitude, usually a break from the past (though selective) is intended which causes rupture in the centuries-old tradition. The process of evolution which is usually gradual and steady is markedly disrupted. Such disruptions tear the affected people apart from the socio-cultural norms and practices which have hitherto defined their collective ethos. Every one, in such a scenario, is running for life. En masse relocation and genocide, such as were concomitant to partition, gave a big blow to the sensibility that binds people together.
Many living the life of relative deprivation in united India saw Pakistan as a land of opportunities, and came to the newly-founded country for economic gains. In the newly established state of Pakistan, regulatory structures were not in place to check any arbitrary practice aiming to amass wealth or to grab property. Thus the people who could, did all that was possible to secure wealth. Partition catapulted many from rags to riches. These sort of sudden changes contravene the smooth and gradual process of evolution, which people find really hard to come to terms with.
Another cataclysmic event was secession of East Pakistan, which gave a big jolt to the morale of the people. The trust in the future of the country was considerably undermined, a ripe situation in which corruption could proliferate.
Unfortunately Pakistan’s politics, right from the outset, was marred by inconsistent transitions. One political order was substituted by the other, with the two having hardly anything in common. Hence, the transition was abrupt and instantaneous. Political compromises of the oddest kind were made merely for personal gains. Characters like Ghulam Muhammad, Iskander Mirza and Ayub Khan did not allow institutions to germinate and blossom. The will of the people was not sought, in the first place; if and when elections were held, non-political actors wielded more power than the elected ones.
Therefore, institutions remained weak and their fate uncertain. Religious ideology was deployed for self-legitimisation with disastrous consequences. In such a scenario, when state institutions were weakened beyond measure, corruption flourished rampantly.
Such political choices made by the Pakistani elite conjured up a social fabric which was amenable to practices which were corrupt to the core. I do believe that a social movement spearheaded by the intelligentsia can stall that trend. But Pakistan’s history fails to register the existence of any social movement aimed at raising awareness among the people about such an issue of wider significance. So, thus far, there is no hope for a corruption-free Pakistan.

 

 

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Blunders & Goof-Ups of Nawaz Sharif in his THIRD tenure so far (2013 – 2015)

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Blunders  of Nawaz Sharif in his THIRD tenure so far (2013 – 2015)

This is Nawaz Shareef’s third tenure as a Prime Minister of Pakistan and look like he has gained very little in respect to the political maturity, international affairs awareness and leadership vision. In this short blogs i will try to highlight few of his biggest blunders according to my opinion and will try to explain what he did wrong.

Change of Route of Pak-China Economic Corridor

Pak-China Economic Corridor is one of the most forward looking economic project of Nawaz Shareef’s current tenure. In a sense i feel its the need of the hour not only for economy of Pakistan but its security stability and unity. Road not only bring traffic but also economic activity, prosperity to the land and also reduce hatred and terrorism. According to the original plan the economic corridor was suppose to go through Balochistan and KPK into the china. Currently all Pakistan’s infrastructure is present on the eastern side and this economic corridor will provide much needed infrastructure development on the western side. Western side is also the side troubled with terrorism and sense of depravity and this development will increase the harmony and reduce the terrorism.

But recently PML-N decided to change the route and take it through Lahore. Lahore already is over populous and full of infrastructure and this would have created more chaos and congestion to the over crowded city.

Then the mistake over the mistake was the statement they give for the change of route that the security was lacking. There are two problems with this statement. Is PML-N not in government? do they not plan to improve the security? and secondly are the not giving the message that only Punjab is safe.? so are they acknowledging that their government has failed in improving security and have no plan to improve the security.

Thirdly this project is multi billion rather trillion ruppee project once the road is finalized you cant just pick it up and take it somewhere else so one excuse should not over shadow other important gains like giving the strategic depth, development of the western side, improvement of the harmony among people by improving travelling. opening new routes. enabling the development of the under developed areas and so many more benefits.

Cyber Security Bill

Cyber Security Bill is also one of the high level blunder. This is one of the most ill concived bill in which freedom of speech is restricted and this will give rise to more anti-government sentiments. Social Media was one of the few places where government managed to get some support against the dharna politics of Imran Khan Now they are trying to block it and it will hurt them more in the future then gaining them anything in the present. Most form of the criticism is blocked according to this bill.

I am not against having some restrictions but according to the bill even making political cartoons is a crime. The other issue is the government has not given his view. If they have all these points in the bill for some specific reason then they should commnicate to the masses. But unfortunately tnawaz shareef lack of democratic views and keeping quiet s hurting more than serving him

Enactment of Military Courts 

This is one of the biggest blunder of internal politics. The PML-N enactment of military courts is a message that government is incapable and cannot fix the judicial system of the country. If we go by this logic then the government should not criticize dictatorship or dictators because they also believe that democratic system has not produced results for Pakistan and therefore dictators should be allowed to the govern Pakistan. There government says that democracy should be given time to strengthen then why not give time and direction and make effort to fix the judicial system of Pakistan also to make it more effective.?

Failure to understand Sindh

Although federal government is considered to be representative of all Pakistan and PML-N also waste no time in saying that it got votes and seats in all provinces o the Pakistan but its hidden thing that PML-N is highly disliked by people of Karachi in unanimity. Looking at various steps of the ruling party PML-N it come as no surprise.

Firstly they have highly incapable president of Sindh PML-N. A president of sindh PML-N can not win his own seat even a provincial seat. He has no backing plus he is notorious. Secondly the the mentality of Karachi voter is highly different then the thinking of Punjabi voter.

Secondly just before the election PML-N included candidates or made alliances with the parties who were notorious and with little support on the ground. After these parties lost they again split  from PML-N. So instead of giving exposure to some of their own capable candidate they relied on external unreliable support. Then PML-N Sindh has no voice and even when rarely they make a statement they make a stupid one.

Lack of Foreign Minister

May be in its effort to keep the government size manageable PML-N federal government tried to restrict the number of ministers. But not appointing a dedicated Foreign Minister PML-N just shows that either they are incapable of understanding foreign affairs. ? or they lack a good personality to handle foreign affairs or foreign affairs matters are not in their control. All three meanings shows a blunder and nothing else on PML-N part

They also have some of the worst ministers in IT. Even water and power minister have failed to end load shedding or give a clear vision.

Large delays in Appointing on Key Posts

Nawaz Shareef seems to be incapable of making a decision. Number of key bureaucratic and head of departments post which required agreement with opposition leader like chairman NAB takes a long long time in getting appointment. They get appointed in the end because of strict warnings from the Supreme Court Judges. When a person is incapable of simply appointing key positions with honest and well reputed people in timely fashion then it leaves a big question mark on his decision making skills.

Development of Lahore Karachi Motorway

I am always pro infrastructure projects. but there has to be limit to the amount of such projects especially if its destroying your most fertile land and giving no benefit at all. There are now number of links from Lahore to Multan so developing yet another road from Lahore to Multan for Lahore Karachi motorway is simply like cutting your limb. Pakistan already is facing heaving reduction in agricultural land. We just need to develop the missing roads between Lahore Karachi and should use the existing infrastructure as much as possible.

Yemen Affair:

Without having a dedicated foreign minister its no surprise that PML-N made number of blunders on Yemen Affair. Yemen affair has number of significance. Our trusted friend Saudi Arabia first time asked for help. Nawaz Shareef agreed to provide this help. Suddenly media started maligning campaign against this issue, openly accusing Nawaz Shareef under personal gains helping Saudi Arabia without realizing that our existence is largely thanks to Saudi Arabia help which have never shied from helping us in our time of trouble.

Blunder 1: Government gives no directives to media not malign our trusted friend. (When Musharraf sent NS to Saudi Arabia under the deal he directed media not malign Saudi Arabia in this affair)

Blunder 2: Under pressure from Media and probably Army, Nawaz shareef tried to back track from its commitment and for this calls a joint session. This joint session started talking foul about Saudi Arabia. It is Saudi that helped us when we were put under economic sanctions and its Saudia that has helped monetarily whenever we asked. The joint session speakers started speaking in favor of Iran who deliberately tried to roll back our nuclear program by informing about our help to Iran. Dr. Abdul Qadeer father of Pakistan nuclear capability is penalized because of Iran’s effort.

Nawaz Shareef should have called a meeting with the parliamentary leaders and should have given them directives not to use any foul languages against our trusted Saudi friends

Nawaz Shareef should atleast have told his own party members that they should not take a position against Saudi Arabia.

Blunder 3: Iran FM visited Pakistan and Saudi Arabia also announced to send its representative to Pakistan.. PM after meeting the Iranian FM passes resolution in the join session regarding Yemen conflict which sound n favor or Iranian point of view before even the meeting with the Saudi delegation is held. So a message is sent to our friend that dont come we have already accepted Iran point of view. A country which has number of times violated our sovereignty and killed our soldiers. What a stupid message to give our friend Saudi Arabia.

Blunder 4: When our friends gave a well deserved harsh response to our parliamentary resolution then our Interior Minister who is mostly missing and never found giving a statement on matters related to interior minister gave an even more damaging response. Come on cant the Prime Minister tell his minister to shut up instead of burning to ashes our friendship with the most loyal friends.

Blunder 5: When some section of media highlighted the contribution of Saudi Arabia after our nuclear blast, PML-N finance minister gave a statement in denial of those gifts and concessions and contribution. So now we showed to our friend that we are one undeserving and inconsiderate friend.

Just to wrap up. I feel that Nawaz Shareef is far from the leader the Pakistan needs at this time. His decision making leaves a lot to be desired. He lacks total understanding of foreign affairs. His political skills and political sense are very weak and incapable of developing further. This may turn out to be the bigger threat for PML-N then any other party including PTI

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The Big Story that went unreported from Washington:Red Alert for Corrupt Leaders by Shaheen Sehbai

 

The Big Story that went unreported from Washington:Red Alert for Corrupt Leaders

by Shaheen Sehbai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sham Democracy under Nawaz Sharif

 
 
 
 
 
 
 This is how we ruin the country under this Sham Democracy and demand that nobody to interfere 

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Robbers Versus Rangers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Robbers Versus Rangers

 

 

Irfan Hussain

 

THE recent exchange of artillery salvos between Islamabad and Karachi over the Rangers’ operation in Sindh exposes the tension between the federal and provincial governments.

As the PPP government in Sindh continued to drag its feet over renewing its approval of the operation, Chaudhry Nisar, the abrasive interior minister, upped the ante by hinting at governor’s rule in the province. While clearly a setback for democracy, such an extreme step would not be unwelcome among large segments of the population.

When the MQM was the focus of attention from the Rangers with its headquarters being raided, its senior members being arrested, and its activists — many of them alleged killers — being hounded, the PPP was a silent witness. But when its own Aman Committee thugs were targeted, and its bagmen locked up, there were loud squeals of anguish.


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Insisting that investigation of corruption by provincial bigwigs was outside the remit granted the Rangers, the PPP cited constitutional provisions about the rights of the provinces. Clearly, the party feels that its leaders should be allowed to suck the province dry without let or hindrance from the centre.

The irony here is that some of those in Islamabad pressing for tough action against violence and corruption in Sindh have apparently not been above helping themselves to the national exchequer. And for months, the PML-N leadership delayed action against the Taliban. Even today, some of its members are on the same wavelength as the jihadis.

But while this may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black, any improvement in security in Sindh — and especially in Karachi — is to be welcomed. Although the leadership of both the MQM and the PPP have reason to oppose the intrusion of the federal government in their fiefdoms, most people have welcomed it. Demonstrations in favour of the operation being conducted by the Rangers across the province are testimony to its popularity. Even though there are rumours that some of these protests were instigated by the Rangers, everybody I have talked to in Karachi and in rural Sindh supports the operation.

The truth is that things had got so bad in the province that millions were desperate for protection, no matter where it came from. A battalion of horned demons would be applauded if they could make Karachi’s mean streets safe again. The Rangers, not subject to the same political interference that had hobbled the police, have smashed several criminal syndicates that enjoyed protection from party leaders who shared in the spoils.

There have been several reported incidents where the Rangers have misused their powers. But by and large, their crackdown has been effective and focused. Probably the most controversial step they have taken is the arrest and detention of Dr Asim Hussain, allegedly Asif Zardari’s frontman and close buddy.

After the 90-day remand period, he was handed over to the police who have recommended his release as, according to them, there is no proof linking him to any terrorist activity. The Rangers are moving the Sindh High Court to block his discharge as they claim the police have destroyed the relevant evidence.

This extraordinary case between two state agencies again underlines the friction between the federal and provincial governments. Obviously, the police reports to the provincial administration that has every interest in getting Dr Hussain freed. The Rangers, on the other hand, want him tried for allegedly giving terrorists sanctuary in his hospital.

This newspaper has argued in a recent editorial that the Sindh government has every right to seek the assembly’s approval for an extension. Of course it does. But such an exercise in democratic procedure should not have been allowed to turn into the farce that it became. Now, with a diluted approval, it remains to be seen how effective the Rangers will be, and how much acrimony it will generate between the centre and the provincial government.

The reality is that the provincial assembly is seldom used to discuss and debate the abysmal state of law and order, health, education and the infrastructure. Both the PPP and the MQM use the assembly to squabble over irrelevant issues. Issues vital to Sindh’s beleaguered population are seldom aired, let alone resolved.

An online survey conducted by this newspaper found that 84pc of the 4,000 or so respondents polled support the operation. Being online, it is not really representative of Pakistan. But the handful of politicians opposing it benefit from the lawlessness they preside over, and resent any interference in their misrule and corruption.

If anything, the recent local bodies elections showed how the PPP used its muscle to bully the opposition into abandoning the field. The unopposed victory of many of its candidates is testimony not of its popularity, but its undemocratic practices. For this party now to claim the democratic high ground to oppose the Rangers is pure hypocrisy.

irfan.husain@gmail.com

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2015

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