There is a lot of talk these days about zero tolerance for corruption especially by the PM and no wonder. The Zardari ship sank under water on the corruption issue – corruption not only not punished but actually nurtured and allowed to flourish under state protection. Maybe it occupies second place after the daily misery of loadshedding but the two may be found to be actually closely linked.
The ever present corruption However, that is not my subject today. I wish to talk about the ocean of corruption in which the entire populace is floundering and thrashing about to get out of but not succeeding. Almost every one of us is touched by it as we go about over daily lives. Go to almost any government department with a straightforward, legitimate request: maybe for a license or a certificate you need or a car you wish to transfer to another, a domicile certificated is needed, or an alteration is to be made to your residence and you will run against a wall of delaying or denying tactics: something wrong with the data submitted by you or some new rule making your request untenable or some other perplexing reason designed to hoodwink you. If you are sufficiently baffled by these unexpected roadblocks, there follows an offer to help you out against a “consideration” and presto all obstacles vanish into thin air and with some cash changing hands your problem is solved. Well, there is an easy way of getting things done and there is a difficult way. You have experienced yourself what I am driving at, I am sure.
Disarming reasonableness Yet some other requests for a “consideration” come with disarming frankness: look I paid “x” lacs to get this job. How else can I get some of that back? I have a family too! Along the same lines comes the Thanedar’s plea: we get only “x” liters of petrol per day for our vehicles. Not enough by half. How else can we fight crime without our mobiles on the road? So we must “touch” you for the means to serve you better! Unbeatable!
Caught without or expired driving license Rest assured. The last thing the traffic policeman wants is to Challan you unless he is ordered by his department to produce a certain number of Challans as the day’s quota. How come? Well the time that would be wasted in filling out a Challan would be better utilised in “co-operating” with you by letting you off with a “verbal” admonition to quickly acquire the missing documents but only after a few notes have changed hands. I can vouch for this from personal experience when driving along NIPA I was caught with an expired driving license. When I refused the “co-operation” offered and asked to be Challaned the traffic officer disgustedly threw the License back into the car and “waved” me on.
Long queues at Railway stations You are desperate to reach home before Eed but Railway seats are fully booked. No problem. You have to look around worriedly (that needs no acting) and in a few minutes help turns up with a sympathetic query: you look worried sir! Is there a problem? Yes you say and tell the “angel” about your worry. Soon the elusive tickets are in your hands and you don’t mind the extra money that takes. And so it is around various government offices across the country, which are supposed to help people and to serve them but think and work only to gratify their own greed.
They suffer as well The irony of the situation is that those who swindle others by raking in unearned income by otherwise denying others what should be their right are themselves fleeced by others when they go out to other departments with their own legitimate needs and concerns. A fleeces B, B fleeces C and C fleeces A thus completing the unholy triangle!
Does PM Nawaz have what it takes? The sad answer is no. To tackle a problem of the kind that the sea of corruption has become we need a single minded and determined leader and crusader and not a compromise candidate which Nawaz essentially is. He has his own business interests to look after. These have apparently prevented him from making political inroads into areas of the country other than Punjab, the home province. He has made no attempt to build his party leadership and members at the grass roots level to understand Pakistan’s ideological basis and be ready to work for it rising above personal and selfish interests.
Limitations of the change Mind you, we are not saying that the change from Zardari to Nawaz was not welcome. In fact we have called it a major, positive change from the disaster that the Zardari era was. But a firm transition which would set Pakistan on the path of progress both in material terms and in terms of its ideological moorings is what we don’t see happening. Several major decisions by PM Nawaz confirm the weak, flip/flop, compromising approach in his political moves. We would be happy to be proved wrong.
(firstname.lastname@example.org)Wajid Naeemuddin, "Do Nawaz and his team have what it takes? The ocean of corruption versus the peaks of corruption!," Business recorder. 2013-07-30.
Keywords: Political science , Political issues , Political parties , Political leaders , Political change , Political problems , Corruption-Pakistan , Corruption cases , Railway stations-Pakistan , Pakistan