Investigations are being conducted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) into organised corruption by the political elite and bureaucracy who have transferred billions abroad and bought expensive properties in Dubai, which cannot be justified either by their tax declarations or known sources of legitimate earnings. Such investigations have been conducted by every military and elected civil government only to settle political scores, but never yielded any results to benefit the national exchequer. What can be a bigger incentive for corruption than a country that allows public office holders, immediately after retirement from service, having amassed billions in bribery, kickbacks and commissions, abandon Pakistan lock, stock and barrel to settle in countries like Canada, Australia, UK, Spain, Dubai, etc, whose nationality or immigration status they have acquired. There are numerous examples of public office holders who during their tenures amassed billions openly and defiantly through unfair means and yet continue to enjoy protocol, no questions asked.
Through coercion and abuse of powers, gross irregularities have been regularised in this country. State lands have been allotted to individuals who have done nothing but performed services they have been paid for. Loopholes have been intentionally crafted into policies by corrupt bureaucrats and the elected elite to defiantly facilitate the transfer of billions out of Pakistan. What else can we expect when the state continues to appoint individuals holding important posts in key financial and regularity agencies who have pledged an oath of loyalty to another country? Almost 75 percent of all appointments made to important state institutions would not stand up to judicial scrutiny. If Pakistan is serious about clamping down on corruption, laws need to be changed where onus of proof should shift to individuals to justify how they acquired their assets. Pakistan’s national and security interests require the strict implementation of existing laws to punish tax evasion irrespective of affiliations with political parties, sensitive institutions or religious groups. A M MALIK, Dubai