In Corruption we Trust
Corruption has almost become a way of life in Pakistan. It encompasses the ideological, moral and ethical values of society and is a part of the culture.
If the people were asked to name five major problems facing Pakistan, the answer in nine out of ten cases would include corruption. Any surprises? No. Switch on the television set, browse the Internet or go through the newspapers and you will find the stories of corruption in high places, abuse of power, graft and nepotism hitting the headlines. Allegations of horse-trading were so rife in the run-up to the recent senate elections that the ruling party even considered having the constitution amended to do away with the requirement of a secret ballot.
It is customary for international good governance watchdogs to rank Pakistan high on the corruption index. The Transparency International has ranked Pakistan 126th among 175 countries on the 2014 Corruption
By Hussain H Zaidi Perceptions Index, which incidentally is the nation's best ranking over the last two decades. The Rule of Law Index 2014 puts the country at 91 out of 97 states in terms of corruption.
Is rampant corruption in society merely a perception without much correspondence to reality? Has the issue of corruption been blown out of proportion? Are the stories of massive corruption no more than an old wives’ tale? Are the accounts of loot and plunder, of misuse and abuse of power, largely a convenient stick to beat the government with?
The answer is in the negative. While one may dispute the actual level of corruption prevalent in the country, as well as concede that at times the tales of corruption are politically motivated, it is hard to deny the enormity of the problem that afflicts the nation from the top to the bottom.
Corruption is a complex issue having socio-cultural, economic, political and institutional dimensions. Let’s try to get to the bottom of the problem.
The playwright George Bernard Shaw once remarked in a lighter vein that before teaching our children that honesty is the best policy, we must see whether honest behavior actually pays. Probably what he meant was that if the social structure was supportive of corruption, the problem would be difficult to weed out. Unfortunately, our social structure supports corruption, which seems to be ingrained in the national psyche.
While the textbooks and folklore may enthrone spiritualism, look down upon the appetite for things worldly and desires carnal and teach contempt