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Say No To Corruption – By Irma Abbasi

Irma Abbasi
Freelance Writer

Images Credit:
Freepik
Dawn News
Reuters
AFP

Say No To Corruption
بدعنوانی کو نہیں کہو
भ्रष्टाचार को ना कहें

 Corruption undermines the foundations of a fair and just society
 Stop corruption; it erodes trust in institutions and hinders progress.
 Corruption is a curse that stifles economic growth and development.
 Say no to corruption; it tarnishes the principles of equality and justice.
 Combat corruption for a brighter and more equitable future.
 Corruption breeds injustice; let’s work together to eradicate it.
 Stop corruption in its tracks to ensure a level playing field for all.
 Corruption corrodes the moral fabric of society; choose integrity over deceit.
 Reject corruption; it’s a roadblock to prosperity and shared success.
 Stand against corruption; it’s a collective responsibility for a better world.

Unveiling the Layers of Corruption
A Deep Dive into
Pakistan’s Reality
Corruption Images - Free Download on Freepik

I. Introduction to Corruption
Corruption, a pervasive global menace, transcends borders and infiltrates the fabric of societies worldwide. It manifests in various forms, undermining trust, impeding progress, and eroding the
foundations of both economic and societal development. In the context of Pakistan, a nation grappling with its share of challenges, the study of corruption becomes particularly crucial. This section aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to corruption, elucidating its definition, global perspective, and the profound impact it wields on societal and economic dynamics.
A. Definition and Global Perspective
Corruption, in its essence, involves the abuse of entrusted power for personal gain. This multifaceted
phenomenon encompasses bribery, embezzlement, nepotism, and other illicit activities that compromise
the integrity of individuals and institutions. The global perspective on corruption is one of shared concern, with international organizations and governments acknowledging its corrosive effects on democracy, economic stability, and social cohesion. Corruption’s tentacles extend across borders, affecting developed and developing nations alike. The interconnectedness of economies and the ease of information dissemination make corruption a transnational challenge that demands collective action. Understanding corruption’s global dimensions sets the stage for a nuanced examination of its manifestations within the specific context of Pakistan.


B. The Impact of Corruption on Societal and Economic Development
Corruption acts as a formidable barrier to both societal progress and economic development. In the
societal realm, it corrodes the foundations of trust between citizens and their institutions. When public officials prioritize personal gain over the welfare of the people, the social contract is breached, leading to disillusionment and a loss of confidence in governance. Economically, corruption stifles growth by diverting resources away from essential public services and infrastructure projects. Funds intended for education, healthcare, and poverty alleviation end up lining the pockets of the corrupt, perpetuating a cycle of underdevelopment. Foreign direct investment may be deterred, as investors hesitate to engage in environments tainted by corrupt practices.
C. Significance of Studying Corruption in the Context of Pakistan
Against the backdrop of Pakistan’s complex socio-political landscape, the study of corruption takes on
heightened importance. The nation, blessed with rich cultural heritage and potential for economic growth, has, at times, found its progress hindered by the prevalence of corrupt practices. To envision a future of sustainable development and equitable prosperity, a thorough understanding of corruption’s roots, manifestations, and consequences is imperative.

II. Types of Corruption in Pakistan
Corruption in Pakistan is a multi-faceted challenge, deeply embedded in various sectors of society.
Understanding the different types of corruption is crucial for dissecting the complexities of this issue and developing targeted strategies for reform. In this section, we will explore the diverse manifestations of corruption in Pakistan, ranging from political to petty corruption.
A. Political Corruption
1. Examples of Political Corruption Cases: Political corruption in Pakistan has been evidenced through numerous high-profile cases. One notable example is the National Reconciliation
Ordinance (NRO), which granted amnesty to politicians accused of corruption. The Panama Papers scandal revealed offshore holdings of several Pakistani political figures, casting a shadow over
their financial transparency.
2. Influence on Governance and Policymaking: Political corruption exerts a profound influence on governance and policymaking. Bribes, kickbacks, and nepotism can skew decision-making processes, diverting resources from essential public services to the pockets of politicians. This not only hampers effective governance but also perpetuates a culture of impunity, eroding public trust in political institutions.

B. Bureaucratic Corruption
1. Role of Bureaucracy in Fostering Corruption: The bureaucracy, intended to be a pillar of public service, is often marred by corruption in Pakistan. Instances of bribery to expedite paperwork,
embezzlement of public funds, and favoritism in appointments tarnish the image of bureaucratic
institutions. The discretionary powers vested in bureaucrats become breeding grounds for corrupt practices.
2. Implications for Public Services and Administration: Bureaucratic corruption has severe
implications for public services and administration. Public projects may be compromised as funds
are siphoned off, leading to substandard infrastructure. The unequal distribution of resources perpetuates social and economic disparities, hindering the government’s ability to fulfill its duty of ensuring the welfare of all citizens.
C. Police and Law Enforcement Corruption
1. Challenges in Maintaining Law and Order: Corruption within the police force undermines efforts to maintain law and order. Bribery and collusion with criminal elements compromise the integrity of investigations, and selective law enforcement perpetuates a culture of impunity. This
challenges the very foundation of a fair and just society.
2. Impact on Citizens and the Justice System: The impact of police corruption extends beyond law enforcement to citizens and the justice system. Innocent individuals may face harassment or false
charges, while the guilty might escape justice through bribery. This erosion of trust in law enforcement institutions weakens the overall justice system, creating a breeding ground for criminal activities.In a significant development, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has formed special committees in all the four provinces and in Islamabad to identify “inefficient and corrupt judges” and to “prepare” references against them. — Reuters/File

D. Judicial Corruption
1. Examination of Corruption within the Judiciary: Judicial corruption poses a threat to the core
principles of justice. Instances of judges accepting bribes or manipulating legal processes for personal gain tarnish the credibility of the judiciary. The politicization of judicial appointments further exacerbates concerns about impartiality.
2. Consequences for the Justice System: The consequences of judicial corruption extend beyond
individual cases to the overall justice system. Unjust decisions, delayed justice, and a lack of accountability erode public confidence. The perception that justice can be bought undermines the foundational principles of a fair and transparent legal system.
E. Corporate Corruption
1. Unraveling Corruption in the Business Sector: Corporate corruption in Pakistan encompasses arrange of illicit activities within the business sector. Fraudulent financial practices, bribery for favorable contracts, and tax evasion are prevalent issues. The lack of transparency in corporate
dealings contributes to an environment conducive to corrupt practices.
2. Effects on Economic Growth and Private Enterprise: Corporate corruption has far-reaching
effects on economic growth and private enterprise. It stifles healthy competition, hampers foreign investment, and distorts market dynamics. The diversion of resources towards unethical practices
instead of innovation and development impedes the long-term sustainability of businesses.
F. Petty Corruption
1. Everyday Practices Contributing to the Culture of Corruption: Petty corruption, often considered minor in comparison to high-profile cases, permeates everyday life in Pakistan. Examples include bribes for routine services like obtaining permits or licenses, and the misuse of authority by low level officials for personal gain.
2. Impact on the Lives of Ordinary Citizens: While seemingly minor, petty corruption has a significant impact on the lives of ordinary citizens. The cumulative effect of small-scale corruption erodes public trust in institutions, perpetuates inequality, and exacerbates the challenges faced by those with limited resources. It creates a culture where corruption is normalized and accepted as part of daily life.

III. Root Causes of Corruption in Pakistan
Corruption in Pakistan is deeply rooted, shaped by a complex interplay of historical, socioeconomic,
governance, accountability, and cultural factors. Understanding these root causes is essential for devising effective strategies to combat corruption. This section delves into the multifaceted origins of corruption in Pakistan, exploring its historical evolution, socioeconomic underpinnings, governance challenges, lack of accountability, and cultural influences.
Pakistan is a country with weak institutions which is the biggest alone cause of corruption. Other reasons of corruption are; insufficient political will to eradicate corruption from the society, bureaucracy is the principal authority for the administration of institutes, salaries in the public sector are very low as compared to the other sectors of the economy and higher rate of inflation. The government bodies are held responsible for spreading corruption in Pakistan because these bodies control and allocate public resources of the country. The department of police is supposed to maintain the law & order situation in a country but known as the most corrupt institution of Pakistan. In Pakistan, police officers are appointed on the basis of political and bureaucratic connections. Thus, the police officers often have divergences of significance due to special loyalties.

Corruption may be classified broadly into two categories. One reason is compulsion, and the other is greed. Some people are corrupt because they cannot make both ends meet with their meagre income. They cannot afford the cost of their babies’ food or their children’s education. They are mostly from the low and middle income classes. Because of their position and status in society, they can neither beg, nor borrow, nor steal. The only alternative for them is to adopt unfair means to maintain their livelihood. In short, they are compelled to resort to corruption out of dire necessity. The other reason is greed, which is mostly out of moral decadence. People lacking in human values and moral responsibility towards others can do or undo anything to satisfy their ugly desire for worldly things. The more they get, the more they want. Out of sheer greed, they can indulge in any kind of corruption without caring for the consequences.
The biggest challenge of the day is this second category of corruption. It can bring the nation to the brink of disastrous consequences. It could make the country a truly bottomless basket.

A. Historical Perspective
1. Historical Factors Contributing to the Prevalence of Corruption: Historical factors have played a pivotal role in shaping the prevalence of corruption in Pakistan. The legacy of colonial rule and
subsequent political upheavals have left an indelible mark. Patronage systems established during
colonial times, coupled with political instability post-independence, created an environment conducive to corrupt practices. The lack of institutional continuity and a stable political environment provided fertile ground for corruption to take root.
2. Evolution of Corruption in Pakistan Over the Years: The evolution of corruption in Pakistan is a dynamic process influenced by changing political landscapes and economic structures. Initial
decades witnessed corruption primarily at higher echelons of power. However, over time,
corruption permeated various levels of society, becoming ingrained in everyday practices.
Economic liberalization, while fostering growth, also led to new forms of corruption, particularly in business and bureaucracy.
B. Socioeconomic Factors
1. Poverty, Inequality, and Their Role in Corruption: Poverty and inequality contribute significantly to the perpetuation of corruption in Pakistan. The disparities in wealth distribution create an environment where individuals, driven by economic hardship, may resort to corrupt practices to
meet basic needs. Additionally, the lure of wealth accumulation through corrupt means becomes
more appealing in societies with stark socioeconomic divides.
2. How Economic Factors Contribute to Corrupt Practices: Economic factors, including low wages and limited economic opportunities, contribute to corrupt practices in both the public and private sectors. Insufficient remuneration for public officials may incentivize bribery, while businesses facing economic challenges may engage in corrupt activities to gain a competitive edge. Economic
pressures can compromise ethical standards, fostering an environment where corruption flourishes.No movement was recorded in the open market as dollar held steady at Rs158.5. — AFP/File

C. Weak Governance
1. Examination of Institutional Failures: Weak governance, marked by institutional failures, is a
critical factor facilitating corruption in Pakistan. Inefficiencies, lack of transparency, and
insufficient checks and balances within institutions create opportunities for corrupt practices to thrive. Political interference in administrative processes further weakens the governance framework, allowing corruption to go unchecked.
2. Reforms Needed to Strengthen Governance Structures: Strengthening governance structures is imperative to curb corruption. Reforms should focus on enhancing transparency, streamlining bureaucratic processes, and fostering independence in decision-making. Implementing merit based appointments, ensuring accountability within institutions, and empowering oversight bodies are essential steps toward building a robust governance framework.
D. Lack of Accountability
1. Impunity and Its Role in Fostering Corruption: Impunity, the lack of accountability for corrupt
practices, is a significant driver of corruption in Pakistan. Individuals engaging in corrupt activities
often face minimal consequences, emboldening others to follow suit. The culture of impunity erodes trust in institutions and reinforces the belief that powerful individuals can act outside the bounds of the law.
2. Measures to Improve Accountability in Public and Private Sectors: Improving accountability requires comprehensive measures in both public and private sectors. Strengthening anticorruption institutions, ensuring swift and impartial judicial processes, and promoting a culture of accountability within organizations are crucial steps. Whistleblower protection mechanisms
and effective use of technology for transparency and oversight can further enhance accountability.
E. Cultural Factors
1. Influence of Cultural Norms on Corrupt Practices: Cultural norms and practices in Pakistan play a significant role in shaping attitudes towards corruption. Nepotism, clientelism, and a tolerance for corrupt practices in exchange for personal favors contribute to a culture where corruption is
normalized. The concept of loyalty to one’s community or network, even at the expense of ethical conduct, adds another layer to the cultural dynamics of corruption.
2. Addressing Cultural Factors to Combat Corruption: Combatting corruption requires addressing cultural factors through education, awareness campaigns, and ethical training. Promoting a
culture of integrity, emphasizing the importance of ethical conduct in educational curricula, and
encouraging civic engagement can help shift societal norms away from accepting corruption as a norm.
IV. Corruption Perception and Global Rankings
A. Overview of International Corruption Indices:
International corruption indices, such as Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), provide a systematic assessment of corruption levels globally, utilizing expert opinions and surveys.
B. Analyzing Pakistan’s Position and Trends Over Time:
Pakistan’s ranking in corruption indices fluctuates over time, reflecting the impact of policy initiatives,
legal reforms, and socio-political dynamics on efforts to combat corruption.
C. Perception vs. Reality: Public Opinion on Corruption:
Public opinion on corruption in Pakistan may align with or differ from international rankings. Factors such as media influence, political discourse, and societal attitudes shape how corruption is perceived at the grassroots level, influencing overall governance dynamics.
V. Notable Cases and Scandals
Corruption in Pakistan has been punctuated by high-profile scandals that have captured public attention
and shaped the discourse on governance and accountability. This section explores some of these
noteworthy cases, the investigative processes undertaken, their legal outcomes, and the lessons learned from these incidents.Bureaucrat facing corruption charges 'cleared' - Newspaper - DAWN.COM

A. High-profile Corruption Scandals in Pakistan:
1. Panama Papers Scandal (2016): The Panama Papers leak exposed offshore holdings of numerous
Pakistani political figures, including then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family. The revelations led to widespread protests and legal inquiries, ultimately resulting in Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification
from office.
2. Rental Power Projects Scandal (2010): The scandal involved allegations of corruption and kickbacks in contracts awarded for rental power projects. Investigations revealed irregularities,
and several officials were arrested. The case shed light on corruption within the energy sector.
3. National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) (2007): The NRO granted amnesty to politicians and bureaucrats accused of corruption during certain periods. Its nullification in 2009 led to the
reopening of corruption cases against prominent figures, illustrating the challenges in reconciling accountability and political stability.
B. Investigations, Prosecutions, and Outcomes:
1. Accountability Courts and National Accountability Bureau (NAB): High-profile cases often find their way to the accountability courts, and the National Accountability Bureau plays a central role
in investigating corruption. The legal process involves thorough investigations, prosecutions, and, in some instances, convictions. However, the effectiveness of these processes can be hindered by delays and legal challenges.

protesters hold a sign as they take part in a protest in islamabad photo reuters

2. Challenges in Prosecutions: The prosecution of high-profile figures faces challenges, including political influence, legal maneuvering, and a sometimes-overburdened judicial system. While some cases result in convictions, others may linger in the legal system for years, testing the
patience and confidence of the public in the justice system.
The anti-corruption laws consider any abuse of public power as a crime deserving of up to 14 years of imprisonment, however, no one has ever been subject to this verdict. In societies with high degrees of social polarisation, such as Pakistan, social conditions tend to induce an environment where the use of public power for personal gains is likely to obtain social recognition and appreciation. This could be perceived as the ‘moral view of corruption’, where an act of corruption derives its legitimacy from a context in which a holder of public office receives and returns favor to his kinship, associates and followers.

Pakistan failed to make any improvement on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) in 2022 as the country ranked 140 out of 180 countries — a position unchanged from the last year, Transparency International said in a report.

Illustration via TI website.

Unfortunately, in 2023, there will still be no progress made in eliminating corruption in Pakistan.
What is the most corrupt institution in Pakistan?
Police in Pakistan remained the most corrupt institution, followed by tendering and contracting and judiciary, the Transparency International (TI) Pakistan reported in its latest corruption survey in the South Asian country.
At national level, National Corruption Perception Survey 2023 has revealed that police remain the most corrupt sector (30 percent), Tendering and Contracting was seen as the 2nd most corrupt (16 percent) and Judiciary 3rd most corrupt (13 percent), the survey report read.
Pakistanis Consider Police, Judiciary The Most Corrupt Institutions

VII. Public Opinion on Corruption
Public opinion serves as a pivotal force in the fight against corruption, offering insights into the perception of citizens and influencing the broader narrative on governance and accountability. This section explores the multifaceted aspects of public opinion on corruption in Pakistan, drawing from surveys, grassroots movements, and the critical role of public awareness.

Surveys and Polls:
Understanding Public Perception: Surveys and polls provide valuable snapshots of public perception regarding corruption in Pakistan. Organizations like Transparency International often conduct such surveys to gauge citizens’ views on the prevalence of corruption and the effectiveness of anti-corruption measures. These tools offer quantifiable data, helping to understand the depth of public concern and identifying trends over time. Perception revealed in surveys is not merely an indicator of the prevalence of corruption but also reflects the trust citizens place in institutions to combat it. High levels of perceived corruption can erode public trust, impacting the legitimacy of governance structures. Insights from these surveys guide policymakers in tailoring strategies that resonate with public expectations. Police in Pakistan remained the most corrupt institution, followed by tendering and contracting and judiciary, the Transparency International (TI) Pakistan reported on Saturday, in its latest corruption survey in the South Asian country. The findings were part of the National Corruption Perception Survey (NCPS) 2023 that was conducted by the Pakistan chapter of the Berlin-based international monitor. Since 2002, Transparency International has conducted eight such surveys in Pakistan. The latest survey, comprising the perception of levels and frequency of corruption perceived by Pakistanis, was conducted in all four provinces of Pakistan from October 13 till October 31, with 1,600 respondents. “At national level, National Corruption Perception Survey 2023 has revealed that police remain the most corrupt sector (30 percent), Tendering and Contracting was seen as the 2nd most corrupt (16 percent) and Judiciary 3rd most corrupt (13 percent),” the survey report read.
In Sindh, police climbed to become the most corrupt sector (37 percent), tendering and contracting was seen as the 2nd most corrupt (14 percent), while education improved to become the 3rd most corrupt (13 percent) since the NCPS 2022. In Punjab, police continued to remain the most corrupt sector (25 percent), while judiciary (17 percent) and health (15 percent) ranked 2nd and 3rd most corrupt sectors, according to the survey. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), police climbed to become the most corrupt sector (37 percent), followed by judiciary (15 percent) and tendering and contracting (13 percent). In Balochistan, tendering and contracting (31 percent) remained the most corrupt sector, while police (20 percent) and judiciary (16 percent) were seen as the 2nd and 3rd most corrupt sectors.
At the national level, the watchdog found, the average expenditure on bribery was around Rs11,121, based on 760 respondents. In terms of the public service delivery, the average expenditure on bribery was highest on judiciary (Rs25,846).

Free vector hand drawn flat anti corruption day illustration

Around 75 percent citizens considered private sector to wield too much power and influence often leading to corruption at the national level, while a majority of citizens (36 percent) considered the role of anticorruption institutions “ineffective.” The major cause of corruption was a lack of merit, according to the survey.
A majority of Pakistanis (68 percent) believed that accountability institutions such as National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Anti-Corruption Establishments were used for “political victimization.”

Around 47 percent Pakistanis considered corruption as the main reason hindering Pakistan’s progress.
The survey also shed light on corruption and climate change, and the need for transparency and
accountability in climate governance.
“At national level, (62 percent) of Pakistanis consider corruption and unethical practices to contribute to
environmental degradation and the exacerbation of climate change effects in Pakistan,” the report read.
“In Sindh (61 percent), Punjab (66 percent), KP (80 percent) and Balochistan (38 percent) think that corruption and unethical practices have important role in exacerbating climate change effects in Pakistan.”
At national level, a large population of Pakistanis (67 percent) felt that provincial and local governments
did not take their views in shaping climate policies and actions, including projects aimed at addressing climate crisis, according to the report. They also believed that ordinary people could make a difference in the fight against corruption.
VIII. International Cooperation in Combating Corruption
A. Collaborative Efforts: Pakistan collaborates with international organizations like the UN and World Bank to combat corruption. Joint initiatives focus on sharing best practices, capacity building, and diplomatic cooperation.
B. Successful Models: Countries like Singapore and Denmark offer successful anti-corruption models. Pakistan can draw lessons from their strategies, emphasizing strong institutions, transparent governance, and a culture of accountability.
IX. Conclusion
A. The Path Forward: Recommendations for Tackling Corruption in Pakistan:
Recommendations for tackling corruption in Pakistan include strengthening anti-corruption institutions, enhancing transparency, enacting robust legal frameworks, prioritizing whistleblower protection, fostering international collaborations, and promoting public awareness.
B. Building a Corruption-Free Future: The Role of Every Citizen:
Every citizen plays a crucial role in building a corruption-free future. Cultivating a culture of integrity, civic responsibility, and active engagement in holding public officials accountable is essential. Empowering individuals with knowledge fosters a foundation for collective action.
C. Final Thoughts on the Challenges and Opportunities:
The fight against corruption in Pakistan faces challenges rooted in history, systems, and culture. However, each challenge presents an opportunity for transformation. Leveraging lessons from successful models, fostering international cooperation, and recognizing the vital role of public participation can pave the way for a future where corruption is minimized, institutions are strengthened, and the principles of good governance prevail. The collective aspiration is for a brighter, more just, and equitable future for the people of Pakistan.

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