Category Archives: Politics

STRATEGY TO FIGHT CORRUPTION IN PAKISTAN

Ethical Dimensions and Political Expediency

 In my view the biggest hurdle in fighting corruption is the political expediency of the governments. The governments get blackmailed on this account by their MNA / MPA and others to accrue the illegal benefits and get the immunity from prosecution. This is the reason why all the anti corruption mechanisms have failed in Pakistan in the past including the NAB. It is really a fantastic task to ask a political government not to be influenced / pressurized by the corrupt people in the ruling party or its allies however a start can be made in this direction.

The strategy of fighting corruption has little chances of success if it is void of moral and ethical dimensions. Unfortunately the moral values and norm in our society have changed negatively over the past many decades. Money and its accumulation have attained the highest priority as with it everything else can be purchased. This is the reason why the corrupt persons are not now even ashamed of their ill gotten wealth. Any revolutionary party like PTI will have to take up on itself that the accumulation of money should be made an irrelevant and insignificant affair in the society. Once a system of social justice is in place in society whereby everyone is getting his/her due share in jobs, income, social amenities and facilities of life then there should be no need for going after the illegal means to accumulate wealth. After meeting the basic necessities of life all the surplus wealth should belong to those who don’t have it. This is also in consistence with the basic Islamic principles and teachings.

The ethical and moral grooming of all including the public and the state functionaries should go side by side and be demonstrated practically by setting personal examples. Apart from academic teachings in ethics it should form part of our social and official lives. Citizens should be given importance (protocol) in society based on their character, morality and virtues rather than the wealth and power. After all why shouldn’t we give the highest protocols to our teachers / researchers / scientists instead of the bureaucrats, as is being done in many developed countries? Once the corrupt persons know that the government is oblivious to the personal material gains they will not resort to their tactics.  A government should prefer to resign rather than being blackmailed by the corrupt lobbies. It all may sounds unbelievable but is not bizarre. No one has ever tried it in Pakistan. Let us take the lead and at least start treading this difficult path. This has to be done in phases and in slow motion but we must take the initiative if we really want to build a new Pakistan as an Islamic welfare state. Though the last para 12 g of the paper touches this aspect under heading “Education on Ethics” but I propose that this concept should be inbuilt in any future strategy against corruption.

 Tackling White-Collar Crimes

 The second most difficult aspect is to identify, locate and prove the white-collar crimes that are the mainstay of the corrupt activities. Those who indulge in corruption are so clever that they hardly leave any tangible proof of their crime. For example in the award of a government construction contract the applications will be invited, tenders will be filled/opened and contracts will be awarded fully ‘in line’ with the procedures written in the books. The pre-audits and post audit reports will be clear of any discrepancy or irregularity. But a huge sum of public money would have been eaten up the looters. This is because all the settlements, bargains and monetary transactions will be done outside the ambit of the contractual activity. The courts need concrete proofs against the culprits which are normally not available. This is the reason that when a government or its any functionary is labeled as corrupt, the person would say very confidently, “Well no one can become corrupt by pointing finger or through media trial, if you have any proof then go to the court.” They know that their crime will never be proved. This is the reason why people remain in jails / detention for years on corruption charges and after being freed unscathed, claim to be ‘clean, innocent and a victim of political oppression’. The result is that the institutions are ruined, machinery is turned into scrap, people are rendered jobless / homeless, the government exchequer suffers huge financial loss, the national assets are sold out / privatized at throw-away prices, the institutions fear their closure, the government itself gets squeezed in the domestic and foreign debts and the persons responsible say shamelessly, “Go to the courts and prove our corruption.”

As the issue is complex and difficult to prove, it is suggested that some unconventional measures may also be made part of the strategy. A person who is appointed as head of a certain department like PIA, Railways or Pak Steel Mills, he and the other members of the board of directors should be selected on merit. All of them should accept this task as a challenge and their output be measured on the standards of market economy. They should be given a specific period of time, 6 months or 1 year, to show their performance. Following should be taken as indicators of corruption in any institution:

  • If the institution starts showing improvement in its financial position as compared to the previous time period, however small the improvement may be, the performance of the managers should be taken in positive manner.
  • If the financial situation of institution does not show signs of improvement or shows even a downward trend, the management will be considered either incompetent or corrupt
  • If the financial situation slides drastically but the personal assets of the managers increases substantially, the persons will be decidedly declared as corrupt. Apart from other penalties the managers should be liable to make good the loss of institution through their personal resources.

The overriding indicator in all such cases will be the worsening situation of the institution and an ever inflating bank accounts / properties of their custodians.

Writing-off of Loans

 This is one of the biggest sources of corruption in Pakistan. Writing off of loans should be prohibited by making a suitable legislation. Any amount exceeding a certain limit will have to be referred to High Court / Supreme Court before it could be condoned. The only way out for the defaulters of hefty loans should be confiscation selling out of their property and / or a jail term till they refund the amount. All avenues of funneling out public money should be blocked vigorously.

Anti-Corruption Courts

 Any kind of special courts tend to be a hurdle in true dispensation of justice. They can be misused as well. Efforts should be made to keep the anti-corruption courts within the mainstream of the justice system (which otherwise needs a complete overhauling).

Vigilance and Monitoring Teams

 The media is playing a dynamic role in exposing the malpractices in the society. A large number of Suo Moto actions by the courts have been taken on the news run on electronic media. These media reports have proved very effective in waking up the administrative machinery from their deep slumber to take notice on various matters which would otherwise have gone into oblivion. Media has gathered in itself the role of a watchdog, an intelligence agency and the political opposition and must be utilized to the full benefit of society. It is recommended that the vigilance and monitoring teams comprising civil society members, media persons, welfare organizations and persons of good repute may be formed at district level to keep an eye on the ongoing government / semi-government projects, the activities of the government departments and also on social evils / crimes. To start with they may not be necessarily equipped with magisterial powers to arrest but their reports must be channeled up to appropriate forum for an immediate action. The mere presence of such teams with official authority and mandate will be an effective deterrence for the law breakers.

Downsizing the Government Departments

 While downsizing the government departments, no employee should be dismissed / retired from the service as a rule. The role of the government is to create / provide jobs and not to render the people jobless. The surplus employees should be adjusted elsewhere by creating productive slots.

Encroachment and ‘Kachi Abadi’

 Whereas all other encroachments may be dealt with ruthlessly, the Kachi Abadis that have appeared on government lands over a period of time need different approach. It is recommended that Kachi Abadis may be converted in to livable communities at the same location. This will require much less funds as compared to shifting and relocating the population somewhere else.

 Online Dealing

 Apart from one-window operation as a measure to reduce corruption, it is recommended that efforts should be made to eliminate the person-to-person contact altogether while dealing with government departments / paying taxes etc. This has been effectively done in the developed countries where people sparingly visit the government offices that too on unavoidable issues only. The e-governance and online technology has revolutionized the dealings and should be applied to our benefit. A large number of taxes and government revenues can be designed in such a manner that they are collected indirectly without a citizen physically going to the government officials. For example we can calculate the Moto Vehicle Tax and Toll Tax and include in the fuel charges so that all the vehicle owners ‘pay it inadvertently’ without visiting the post offices or being stopped at the Toll Plazas. Many other innovations can be devised in the same manner. This will not only reduce the chances of corruption but will also curtail the movement on roads and rush in the public offices, thus economizing on time, fuel and effort.

Exploring Chinese Model

China has very effectively curtailed the menace of corruption since 1948. We ought to study the mechanism as how Chinese leadership was able to eliminate corruption particularly from the ranks and files of the Communist Party and still was able to run the country without any blackmailing. We should then tailor those measures to suit our peculiar environment. The underlying idea would be to initiate the battle against corruption from members of the ruling political party in Pakistan and then spreading it in the spheres of bureaucracy, other politicians and the society as a whole. Nothing will success if it is void of sincerity and a strong will to accomplish this uphill task.

Written by

Akhtar Malik

The Rulers who are Indicted on Murder Charges are still in Power in Pakistan

We are living in a system where, two courts including a High Court, have given their judgement that an FIR against 21 persons including the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister should be registered in a murder case of 14 citizens, and all the accused persons are continuing to hold their offices. In other words we are being ruled by persons who are legally accused of murders or abetting the murders. Can we find a single example of such an apathy in any of the world democracies?

We are living in a system where legal counsels of the heirs of the victims go to police station to get the FIR registered with a High Court order to this effect in their hands, but the police refuses to register. The whole staff of police station vanishes and some Gullu Butts come in to have scuffle with the legal counsels. Is there any precedence of such lawlessness in any civilized country?

Leaving the politics of IK or TuQ aside for the time being and focussing on the society as a whole would you call this system constitutional, legal, democratic, ethical or Islamic in any way? Can this system be supported, accommodated or appreciated by anyone less its own beneficiaries? Over the past 65 years this system has been nurtured, shaped and protected by successive rulers, both civilian and military, and no change or improvement has been made therein. Will the present political paradigm make any change? Never. It is the power of people of Pakistan who can and will change this cruel system one day. Insha Allah.

Written by  Akhtar Malik 28 August 2014

THE ROLE OF ARMY IN DIFFUSING POLITICAL CRISIS IN PAKISTAN

Latest-Pakistan-army-SSG-commando-wallpaper-and-pictureIn a meeting NS requested Army Chief Gen Raheel to play his role in resolving the political crisis, to which the later acceded. As per Dawn newspaper NS appointed Gen Raheel as the arbitrator between the protestors (PTI/PAT) and the Govt. IK & TuQ had a lengthy meeting with COAS on night 28-29 Aug and both leaders seem to be satisfied as far as the meeting is concerned.

Though it is a welcome progress that kindles a light of hope to diffuse the tension and normalize the life, but I wish the politicians could have resolved their issues by themselves without inviting Army. It is a matter of shame for Noon govt that enjoys about 2/3 majority in NA and claims to have a support of 11 out of 12 parties in the parliament. Once again our politicians have proved that they are incapable of resolving even their trivial issues.

Though the political parties had shown resolve to support NS and had told him to stand-fast and do not resign, they did not even once asked the govt to register FIR of Model Town massacre or didn’t ask NS that OK Mr. PM we have supported you and your govt but you must also show flexibility with protestors, as your mandate has already become dubious. I am sure NS has not taken them in to confidence while making Army Chief as arbitrator. I don’t know how will NS show his face to them and will he address the parliament now. I can say it with confidence that failure of politicians, particularly the Govt, to resolve the crisis at their own, have made the political paradigm much weaker than before.

Another point of concern is that supporters of Noon have started bashing and criticizing the Army on its present role to resolve crisis. I ask the critics what wrong on God’s earth has the Army done? Have they imposed martial law? Have they toppled the NS govt? Have they asked for resignation of NS on gun point? Or have they intervened against the wishes of the Govt? Obviously not. Noon supporters should rather be happy that at least the democracy is safe and has not been derailed. Then it is just a matter of arbitration. If Noon thinks that they have committed a mistake to make this arrangement they can always say goodby to it. Arbitration is effective only when all the parties agree to it. After the meeting with CAOS, both the leaders, IK & TuQ have made it clear that nothing short of resignation of NS and SS will be acceptable, otherwise Dharnas will continue. Same line can be adopted by Noon if they think they are being aggrieved.

Written by   Akhtar Malik  on 29 August 2014

CONSPIRACY OF MQM TO TRAP PTI ON DIVISION OF SINDH

Over the past one week MQM chief Altaf Hussein has started suggesting that Pakistan should have 20 new and smaller provinces and that Sindh should also have more provinces. Earlier MQM had a stance that they do not want division of Sindh which they still maintain.

MQM is scared of rising popularity of PTI particularly in Sindh. This is the most serious political challenge that MQM is facing in urban Sindh, particularly in Karachi in its history. PTI has successfully penetrated those areas which were earlier considered as MQM stronghold and were virtually ‘no go areas’ for other parties. If fair & free elections are the results will be a total surprise and devastation for MQM. MQM is perturbed as its politics of gun has totally failed to deter the citizens of Karachi from joining and supporting PTI.

In order to neutralize PTI and diminish its popularity in Sindh MQM has played its trump card– the division of Sindh. MQM thinks that if PTI supports making of more provinces it will lose its support in rural Sindh and if it opposes the new provinces it will lose lose support in urban Sindh and Karachi. Someone asked Dr. Arif Alvi of PTI about this proposal of MQM to which he said, ‘ Make more smaller provinces in rest of Pakistan and leave Sindh for the time being, as it is a sensitive issue there”. Making this statement of PTI leader as an excuse MQM members staged a walkout from Assembly and have announced to stage a dharna at Teen Talwar Clifton Karachi on 21 Sept.

It is interesting to note that MQM is not protesting against PPP who always opposes the division of Sindh aggressively. MQM is not protesting against Noon league who do not have any plan for making more provinces anywhere not at all in Sindh. MQM is protesting against PTI who is not in power either in Sindh or in Center. They are protesting against just one casual statement of one of its leader which cannot be even termed as policy statement of the party. The sinister designs of MQM are very obvious to any neutral observer, particularly when Imran Khan is going to address a jalsa in Karachi on 22 Sept.

I expect PTI leadership to neutralize this conspiracy of MQM by making a clear policy statement on this sensitive issue. PTI should announce that they are not against making of new provinces in Sindh but it should be left to the people of Sindh to decide. PTI should also ask PPP (being rep of rural Sindh) and MQM (being rep of urban Sindh) to sit together, discuss the matter and form a joint commission that would decide about the number of newly proposed provinces and other related details. Once both the parties arrive at a conclusion PTI will have no reservation to support the plan.

If MQM is really serious (which I doubt it is as the past history of the party reveals) then the issue will be resolved without creating any ethnic and linguistic confrontation in the province. If MQM has floated this proposal just as a tool to trap PTI, it will be neutralized well and proper.

Written by   Akhtar Malik  on 20 Sept 2014

Blame Game in Politics of Pakistan

WHERE ARE THE MIGHTY PROSECUTORS?

(1) Iftekhar M Chaudhry. The ex CJP has been squarely blamed by IK for rigging elections. IK ridicules him almost daily in any language he deems fit. IMC had given legal notice to IK for contempt and threatened to proceed against him in court if he doesn’t apologize. IK has not apologized rather he has withdrawn his written reply also. Why is IMC not proceeding against him in the court?

(2) Arsalan Iftekhar. Son of ex CJP notorious for making billions thru corruption was blamed by IK in a public gathering. Arsalan had threatened IK of legal action. Arsalan had been gathering data about IK from various institutions and dept for this purpose. His main focus was to demean IK on charges of moral turpitude concerning his early life. It is now about 3 months. What Arsalan is waiting for? why is he not proceeding against IK?

(3) Justice (R) Riaz Kiyani. One of the main linchpin of electoral machinery who was instrumental in rigging the elections on massive level. His ex secy Afzal Khan leveled serious allegation against ECP and particularly Kiyani. Justice (R) Kiyani had announced to proceed against all those who are hurling blames. Where has he gone now?

(4) Justice (R) Khalil Ramdey. Another important figure who has been accused by IK for running a cell to monitor the rigging had also threatened to go to court against IK and others. Why is he silent?

(5) Khurshid Shah. Opposition leader in NA has been blamed by IK for having two corruption cases pending against him in NAB. IK had told the audience in Islamabad that soon you will see Khurshid Shah absolved of the corruption charges as a part of MUK MUKA between PPP and Noon. The person has asked IK to render a public apology within 3 days otherwise he will be prosecuted in the court for defamation. The dead line is just 2 days away. Will he go to court or follow suit of his above companions?

Most of the above persons belong to legal fraternity who must be have strong links there. Then why are they reluctant? The reason is that all of them are guilty and they know it well and proper. They know that as and when they will initiate legal proceedings against IK it will bounce back on them.

So no doubt  that these mighty prosecutors are reluctant to go to the court.

Written by Akhtar Malik on 21 Sept 2014

The Future of Pakistan Peoples Party

FUTURE OF PPP

برمنگھم برطانیہ : پیپلزپارٹی کے جلسے میں لوگ نہ آنے کی وجہ سے سیکورٹی خدشات کا بہانہ بنا کر جلسہ منسوخ کر دیا گیا۔
چند لوگوں نے گو بلاول گو کے نعرے بھی مارے۔

If PPP really wants to remain a meaningful political force in Pakistan, it must do following:

1. Replace Bilawal with some seasoned and capable person. There is no dearth of good people in the party. They should not be obsessed with Bhutto only. Anyone leading the party will definitely draw ideological strength from Bhutto. People are otherwise getting averse to family-based politics, so they must get rid of this curse, the sooner the better.

2. Give a clear narrative to the nation as to where does the party stand and what they aim to achieve. PPP should not be seen as a part of status quo. The whole nation is waking up for a change and parties who try to resist this change will be reduced to non entity.

By Akhtar Malik

16 Nov 2014

Election Rigging in Pakistan in 1977 and 2013

WHY DO THE POLITICIANS – BHUTTO OR NAWAZ SHARIF – RESORT TO RIGGING WHEN THEY KNEW THAT THEY COULD OTHERWISE WIN THE ELECTIONS? AND WHAT ABOUT THE LESSONS FROM HISTORY?
(AKHTAR MALIK)

2013-Nawaz-Sharif-5Imran Khan is organizing a “long march” this month, culminating in a visit to – or, perhaps, an occupation of – the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. Ostensibly, he is protesting against the rigging of last year’s elections, even though most analysts agree that any fraud that did take place would not have materially affected the outcome. It seems more the case that Mr Khan is desperate to re-establish himself as a serious contender in Pakistani politics.

The self-styled cleric, televangelist and orator, Tahir Ul Qadri, has decided to join hands with Mr Khan in Islamabad on August 14 – and Mr Qadri is promising a revolution. There is little doubt that between the two of them they could destabilize the weakened Nawaz Sharif-led government.

Meanwhile, the government has invoked Article 245 of the constitution and called in the army “in aid of civil power” for a period of three months that started on Sunday. The government says this is a response to the possibility of retaliation from Tehrik-I-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for Operation Zarb-e-Azb, which is targeting its militants in North Waziristan, but the fact that Mr Khan’s movement has unnerved Mr Sharif is commonly accepted. A constitutional appeal has been filed in the High Court challenging the government’s decision to invoke Article 245.

Calling on the army as a preemptive measure is not merely an admission by the Sharif government of its inability to respond to the Khan-Qadri challenge, it is also ceding further political space to the army in Islamabad. Under Article 245, the army is constitutionally protected from judicial reprisals.

I am struck by the similarities between the current situation and that in the 1970s.

In 1976, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto – a Machiavellian but genuinely popular political leader – decided to rig the elections and won. The opposition took to the streets to protest – even though, like now, it was generally accepted that the fraud had had no effect on the outcome.

The weak protest was met with violence. As a result, it grew in numbers and soon turned into a popular movement. It culminated in Lahore and, when further opposed, turned increasingly violent. Bhutto invoked Article 245 and called in the army.

The difference this time is that the army has been requisitioned as a preemptive move – and that is one of the reasons why the move has been challenged in court.

Back in the 1970s, a few ambitious young army officers ordered their men to fire on the demonstrators in Lahore. But three brigadiers, voicing the view of most officers and the rank and file, refused to fire and resigned their commissions. They enjoyed the support of a large number of senior officers.

The rest, as they say, is history. Bhutto paid for his error of judgment with his life. Though this was not his last mistake, it was the one that led him to the hangman’s noose.

More recently, in 2009, Mr Sharif was the central figure in a similar “long march” to restore Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as Pakistan’s chief justice. That the restoration was a disaster is irrelevant to this discussion. But Mr Sharif could draw a parallel.

That history repeats itself is unfortunate. That so few leaders choose to analyze history to learn from it is the real tragedy.Such movements thrive only if they are opposed. In a recent media interview, Mr Khan has expressed the desire to “face the first bullet”. This is exactly what he and Mr Qadri want: a violent response.

If Mr Sharif had the courage to call his bluff, Mr Khan’s challenge might soon turn to bluster.