Tag Archives: Corruption

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

Advertisements

THE NATIONAL TREASURY CAN BE RECOUPED MR. PRIME MINISTER

By Akhtar Malik

7900_383727198395858_1703794330_nPrime Minister Mr. Nawaz Shareef had stated time and again that the treasury is empty so what should we do. Should we pay off the loan installments or should we get rid of the load shedding?

No doubt money makes the mere go. Nothing can be done without having sufficient money in your kitty. But Nawaz Shareef should understand that people of Pakistan have voted him to power for solving their problems and not to listen to the dismays. People already know that the national exchequer has been looted, state institutions have been plundered and the country is heading towards economic disaster. Now they want that the treasury should be filled, institutions should be made functional / profit-earning and their economic / social problems be solved.

There is nothing to worry about the situation. I have a few suggestions for Nawaz Shareef government to replenish the empty treasury. Obviously this has to be done without squeezing the blood of poor people of this nation which they have already given beyond their capacities. The NS government may immediately undertake following measures:

(1)     Put the names of all the looters and plunderers of the previous government on ECL.

(2)    Ask the FBR to put up list of the tax evaders and initiate punitive action against them under the law for recovery of arrears of taxes along with interest.

(3)    Ask the State Bank to put up list of loan defaulters and those who have got their loans waived off. Issue them legal notices to pay back the loans along with interest within one month, otherwise proceedings will be initiated against them for confiscating their property and businesses in the name of the State.

(4)     Pending appointment of an impartial and honest Chairman NAB, the government should form a high-powered judicial commission and task them to probe into the circumstances which led to massive corruption, irregularities and eventual failure of institutions like PIA, OGDC, Pak Steel, Railways, WAPDA etc. Ask the commission to finalize the proceedings within three months which should be followed by punitive / legal action against the culprits.

(5)    Request the Supreme Court of Pakistan to kindly expedite / finalize the corruption cases pending with them and give their verdict / decisions.

If the a/m suggestions are implemented I can assure NS that the treasury will be recouped within few months, the begging bowl will be broken forever and country will get rid of the exploitation at the hands of institutions like IMF, World Bank permanently. The best part will be that 180- million nation will stand firmly behind Nawaz Shareef, giving him immense moral and political strength. His name will be written in golden words in the history of Pakistan as a ruler, who carried out true accountability of the corrupt- a dream which the people of Pakistan yearn to see materializing and a promise which NS had himself made with the people before elections. We wish you best of luck Nawaz Shareef, just muster the courage and do something marvel for your nation.

The author can be reached at akhterhayatmalik@yahoo.com

Is This System Capable of Cleansing the Pakistani Politics From Corrupt People

The hope of cleansing the politics from the loan defaulters, tax evaders and hoarders of illegal money is fading away fast. The election day (11 May) is approaching but the Election Commission, the Supreme Court and the caretaker government do not seem to be serious about this vital issue. It appears as if the elections will be conducted as ‘business as usual’ and this poor nation will again be left at the mercy of looters and plunderers. The article should be an eye-opener for all those who have pinned high hopes with the coming elections.

Akhtar Malik

aik ka bees

What is the Myth and the Reality About Imran Khan Chairman Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf

By Andleeb Abbas

ikHe is not a politician; he is not a business tycoon; he is not a landlord; he is not corrupt; he is not a liar; he is not a blackmailer; such a criteria should automatically disqualify a person from leading Pakistan. But that is precisely why he is being considered as the change many in Pakistan are yearning for. For years Imran has been an enigma analysts, critics, fans and general public could not fathom-how come a man with such a record of achievements and such amazing following could not be considered fit enough to lead the country?

Having been written off for the better part of his political career Imran and PTI are today sometimes reluctantly, and sometimes enthusiastically, recognized as the third political force in the country. The enthusiasts are the ones who see him as an anti status quo warrior who will purge this country from its many political and economic ills and will restore the country’s self esteem, while the reluctants still feel that there are many grey areas in his approach that do not make him a voluntary choice but a choice because of no other choice.

Let us analyze some of these areas of debate and see the reality behind the myth:

Imran is all big talk?

The most oft repeated attack on him is that he has these grandiose ideas that are high sounding but have no connection with reality. His latest tall claim under criticism is that once in power, he will remove major corruption in 90 days. Figures speak for themselves. By the admission of their own appointed NAB chairman, who is being careful with these figures, the estimated daily corruption is Rs6 to 8 billion and most of it is due to 5 major institutions. If we change the head of these institutions we can save Rs2,000 billion annually solving our circular debt and many other problems. Pak Steel is an example. Led by an honest and professional head it was earning Rs8 billion profit in 2008 and with mercenaries in charge it has now accumulated a loss of Rs120 billion.

Also remember leadership starts with selling a vision and dreaming the impossible; Imran’s ability to see what others cannot see and do what others could not do is proven by his feats we all know about. Standing in a remote rural area and promising a world class college with a University of Bradford degree at no cost, was also laughed upon, but NAMAL today is a case study for international researchers, as is Shaukat Khanum.

Imran is pro-Taliban?

This is another favorite tagline of those who doubt his philosophy. Some say he is a reborn extremist, others that he suffers from confused identity. This argument was even more fueled a few years ago when Imran openly resented the military operations in Waziristan and protested profusely against drone attacks. His solution of engaging the Taliban through a dialogue was considered ridiculous and unrealistic. However time has proven his stance as being just and real. America today is chanting the same song and drone attacks are being condemned by all other parties in the country. Imran is a great believer in human values of equality, justice and integrity. His fear is that if any operations are carried out indiscriminately and end up hurting people who are innocent, as has been the case in Waziristan, Afghanistan and Iraq, its natural backlash will be more terrorism. This is substantiated by facts that there were no terrorist attacks before 9/11 in Pakistan and as the military operations and drone attacks increased so did extremism and bomb blasts. Pakistan has paid an unbearable cost of $60 billion and lives of 35000 people in this war “for” terror with no solution in sight.

Imran is anti West?

Another related criticism is that Imran is anti American and anti west. This scares off people in two respects. Firstly, that he is not a moderate Muslim and that fear crops up every time he is seen with Jamaat-e-Islami leaders. Imran’s whole spiritual discovery is based on how Islam is such a modern, progressive and balanced way of thinking and living. His model Islamic nations are Turkey and Malaysia where these values are found in abundance. Thus with JI or any other party the only collaboration possible is on a common stance on certain issues, and not an alliance.

Secondly, Imran is not anti west but pro Pakistan. After having studied and lived in the west he has acknowledged many times that many of these countries practice more Islamic values and teachings than those living in Pakistan. He admires how these countries by being principle- centered and law abiding have become societies with more justice and welfare for the common man. His vision is to develop friendly relations on equal footing with all countries including America.

The Quaid worked for almost 5 decades to fight for independence and for the rights of Muslims. Imran today is fighting for restoring the same pride and respect for Pakistanis all over the world. His dream of making the green passport a document of value and reverence is a dream every Pakistani shares.

Imran is an autocrat and not a team builder

The image of the angry and upset Imran of younger days was fuelled further by his solo flight as a politician appearing on media for many of the formative years of the party. People felt that his inability to listen to others and connect to many was a huge limit to attract people to his team. However now that a line of diverse people are joining PTI, the criticism is to the contrary i.e why is he taking people from other teams in his team.

Teams are always built on the basis of not who opposed whom but who best fits in with the job at hand. Obama’s appointment of Hilary is a classic example of how she who opposed many of his stances was still given the top international post due to her experience and competence. If you take opinion of those who have been with other party leaders to make a comparison between Imran and their previous chairmen they will unanimously tell you that such a democratic leader who listens to every dissenting voice and makes decisions on the basis of thorough consultations is almost unique in political parties.

If there is one thing that this nation has more or less unanimously agreed upon, and is demanding, is change. If Imran is not a career politician then that is the change we need, because the career politicians have failed time and again to better this country. Remember this country was not made by career politicians but by people who had the ability to sacrifice self for a higher purpose. Quaid-i-Azam, Allama Iqbal and Sir Syed were not MNAs and MPAs or sons of the political high ups. This country was made by a lawyer, a poet and a teacher and many like them. People who were not hard-core politicians but had vision, determination and integrity made this country. This country was made by people whose reason of existence was aligned to the reason of existence of the country. Thus, for this country to change, the time to choose people based on their ancestral fame, their constituency name and their political game is over.

Imran is a man driven by the vision of restoring faith in this country. Imran is a man driven by the exciting opportunities this country possesses. Imran is a man driven by his resolve to bring social renaissance in the society. His immense passion and relentless determination have always made bets against him a tricky business and will in the coming time prove a risky business for all those who doubt his ability to do the undoable.

The writer is a leadership coach, columnist and an ex Info Secretary of PTI Punjab and can be reached at andleeb.abbas1@gmail.com