The plague of corruption has engulfed the state like terrorism. There are only a few institutions left which are free from this menace. It is not the embezzlement of financially or through bribing, corruption has become a phenomenon globally which is not only any state’s issue, it has taken over the world. It has deteriorated societies morally as well as socially. The financial gains have made people so reluctant that they are not ashamed or apologetic of such behavior. Patronization of corruption in public offices is the ample reason for the spread of this tumor.
For four decades ago, Corruption was regarded as the sin in Pakistan but as we move forward, it has gained momentum and now corruption has obtained some legitimacy. The people who aren’t corrupt or do not accept bribes are limited.
However, it is not only patronized in Pakistan only, but the mammoth economies of the world are also the part of this game. Several post-colonial states, developing states come under this phenomenon. According to the Transparency International (A Berlin-based civil society), the most corrupt states are the countries in Africa than in the Middle East, whereas, Pakistan ranks 117 least corrupt nations out of 175 countries. Whereas, according to the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. Corruption Rank in Pakistan averaged 109.04 from 1995 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 144 in 2005 and a record low of 39 in 1995.
Unfortunately, Pakistan is still in the list of the corrupt countries. Such stats diminishing the status of Pakistan in the world forum, foreign donors and industrialists somehow discouraged to invest in the country. Corruption is one of the grievous reality of public sector institutions. Despite having renewable and non-renewable sources, Pakistan’s nominal GDP per capita is of $ 1,357 (2019) which ranks 133rd in the world.
Socially, there are two kinds of corruption we observe in our public sectors. First one is in private individual’s affairs when a person has to deal with the public servants and wanted to make their work done hastily or some illegitimate work, the bride the public officers. The second one is the robbery of public funds. The most corrupt institutions of Pakistan are health, administration, politics, police, local government, power sector, customs, and education.
To liquidate the menace from its roots, Former General Pervaiz Musharraf initiated an institution for accountability for these sectors. To keep a hawk’s eye on their illegitimate business, money-minting techniques are now accountable to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which since last year has arrested the big fishes of the corruption sector.
The formation of NAB was General Musharraf’s one of his seven-point agenda when he came into power. The National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) came into existence from his laws. The NAO is the most comprehensive piece of legislation to date in Pakistan to curb corruption. However, it provides some extraordinary powers to the NAB Chairman such as:
- Order non-bail able arrest of the accused of inquiry and investigation for a maximum of 90 days.
- Order freezing of the property of the accused.
- Call for information from or examination of any person and the production of any document relevant to the proceedings.
- Request a foreign state for all kinds of assistance necessary for investigation.
- Release an accused if he returns to NAB the assets acquired through corruption among others.
Under NAO, if a person is caught for the offense of corruption, he is punishable with 14 years of rigorous imprisonment. This law is applicable to all residents of Pakistan. However, the efforts of NAB has been strongly opposed by the political entities but since last year NAB has made such apprehensions which were used be thought as the dream. The recent cases of corruption against Pakistan’s strongest politicians who were the ex- executives of the country are now in the custody of NAB along with their corrupt team. The Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan is committed to eradicating this menace from Pakistani society from the grass-root level which has somehow yield fruit. In Corruption Perception Index (CPI) Pakistan has improved in this index.
According to the Islamic principles, corruption (bribing) considered as the sin. The Holy Qur’an 2:188 states:
“And do not consume one another’s wealth by unjust means, nor offer it as bribes to officials to consume part of other people’s wealth illicitly, while you know.”
Corruption does not stamp out from changing the government or any policy, it should be dealt with the iron hands and comprehensive policies which will make this country even a less corrupt one. Strict laws, education, and sincere administration will be the catalyst for the eradication of such tumor from Pakistani society. The efforts from the PM Imran Khan and NAB are highly commendable in this regard.