Pak­istan's gu­rus of cor­rup­tion: the US and In­dia

The Pak Banker - - 4editorial - Dr Manzur Ejaz

The prob­lem of cor­rup­tion by the elite or ter­ror­ism is not uniquely a Pak­istani phe­nom­e­non. The US is run by a plu­toc­racy where the rich are en­larg­ing their share of the pie at the ex­pense of the poor. How­ever, the dif­fer­ence is that the Amer­i­can or In­dian rul­ing elite are so­phis­ti­cated, sub­tle and much more prac­ticed and skil­ful in ma­nip­u­lat­ing the sys­tem

Of­ten­times, when I am writ­ing my weekly col­umn about topics in Pak­istan, I feel as if I am writ­ing an obituary or a poem about a lost bat­tle. Af­ter one has de­scribed the de­gen­er­ated pat­terns of Pak­istan's rul­ing class as the root cause of the coun­try's in­tractable prob­lems and dis­as­trous sit­u­a­tion, one looks for cures. Nat­u­rally, one looks at the re­gion around Pak­istan or the coun­tries that are in­flu­enc­ing the di­rec­tion the coun­try is tak­ing, i.e. the US and other in­dus­tri­alised na­tions.

First, let us take the US, which is as­sumed to be the mas­ter of Pak­istani po­lit­i­cal dis­course. In fol­low­ing the mas­ter's voice, the Pak­istani elite are em­body­ing the prin­ci­ples em­bod­ied by the US's rich and pow­er­ful aris­to­cratic class. Ir­re­spec­tive of the meth­ods used - Pak­ista­nis may be crude in their plun­der­ing - the rul­ing class of the su­per­power has in­creased its share of the na­tional wealth from nine per­cent in the early 70s to 23 per­cent in 2010. The in­come gap be­tween the rich and poor is un­prece­dented and has dwarfed the third world coun­tries, which had no­to­ri­ety in this field. There­fore, for the US, the Pak­istani rul­ing elite is its faith­ful fol­lower. If the pur­pose of the Repub­li­can vic­tory in the mid-term elec­tion was to give tax cuts to the rich, why would they ask Pak­istan's top wealth hold­ers to pay taxes?

Now let us take Pak­istan's next door neigh­bour, In­dia, which claims to be an emerg­ing world power. A world or­gan­i­sa­tion re­cently re­ported that the In­dian rich and pow­er­ful have si­phoned off $ 1.5 tril­lion abroad, which is the high­est amount in the world and dou­ble the amount of the to­tal na­tional for­eign debt. This wealth, pro­duced by the In­dian peo­ple, was ap­pro­pri­ated by the rul­ing elite and il­le­gally trans­ferred to banks out­side the coun­try. The Pak­istani rul­ing class could not make it to even sec­ond po­si­tion be­cause the coun­try is so small that it can­not com­pete with the In­dian and Chi­nese rul­ing classes' to­tal plun­der­ing.

Just like the Pak­istani rul­ing elite, the In­di­ans have not missed any op­por­tu­nity to use na­tional crises - from Si­achen to nat­u­ral ones - for mak­ing money. State power has been used to trans­fer na­tional wealth, just like in Pak­istan, ex­cept that In­dia has a much larger ren­tier class than Pak­istan. Just look at the re­cent G2 scam or the Supreme Court's dec­la­ra­tion about the Al­la­habad High Court in which it said, "Some­thing is rot­ten about the Al­la­habad High Court." The In­dian rul­ing class, un­like its coun­ter­parts in the en­tire world, are act­ing like Mughal em­per­ors by con­struct­ing bil­lion dol­lar houses: Mukesh Am­bani has pi­o­neered this trend. The emerg­ing In­dian su­per-rich have not even the tra­di­tional de­cency to re­main dis­crete. On the con­trary, they are keen to rub their wealth on the wounds of the world's largest group of poor peo­ple, with greater num­bers of poor in In­dia than all of sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa.

The US or In­dia have not pre­sented any good ex­am­ple of re­li­gious tol­er­ance, peace and har­mony. Racial and re­li­gious dis­crim­i­na­tion is a wide­spread phe­nom­e­non in the US and other Euro­pean coun­tries. In­dia may not have pub­li­cised sec­tar­ian and re­li­gious vi­o­lence like Pak­istan, but more peo­ple may have died in In­dian ran­dom vi­o­lence break­outs.

If one adds up the peo­ple killed on a few oc­ca­sions - the Khal­is­tan Move­ment, 10,000-17,000 Sikhs killed in Delhi, the Gu­jarat car­nage, the killing of Chris­tians, in­clud­ing 22 nuns, and the Mum­bai ri­ots - the to­tal num­ber may be much greater on a per capita ba­sis.

In­dia is also fac­ing a much larger in­sur­gency by Maoists than Pak­istan's Tal­iban. The im­me­di­ate causes of both in­sur­gen­cies may be very dif­fer­ent but, ul­ti­mately, it is the cor­rup­tion of the rul­ing classes that has given birth to such forces. While the Tal­iban are limited to the ar­eas around the Pak-Afghan border, the Maoists are con­trol­ling ar­eas in more than half a dozen states. The only sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence is that the Maoists do not com­mit vi­o­lent sui­cide attacks on their own or other coun­tries' cit­i­zens un­like the ji­hadi Tal­iban. But be­fore the Soviet-Afghan war, the mil­i­tants of Is­lamic coun­tries from Pales­tine to Al­ge­ria used to fight for their na­tional causes within their own bor­ders. It was the US that cre­ated the con­cept of in­ter­na­tional ji­had for the Afghan war the­atre. Nonethe­less, it has be­come Pak­istan's child - rather spoilt brat - for which the coun­try is de­monised by the world.

The fact of the mat­ter is that the prob­lem of cor­rup­tion by the elite or ter­ror­ism is not uniquely a Pak­istani phe­nom­e­non. The US is run by a plu­toc­racy where the rich are en­larg­ing their share of the pie at the ex­pense of the poor.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.