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  • Dec 10th, 2006
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The following are the main causes of corruption in Pakistan, especially in the people of higher strata holding public office. (White -collar crime).

I. Lack of political will.

II. Controlled Judiciary.

III. Indifferent attitude of civil society.

IV. Military interventions.

V. Flagrant abuse of power by the public office holder.

VI. Lack of serious programme of combating corruption in the country.

VII. Elected government's perpetual failure to develop proper ethical and business standards for the public and private sector.

VIII. Political leaders' incompetence and betrayal of public trust with penchant for self-enrichment.

IX. Lack of transparency in the government's decision-making process.

X. Lengthy and cumbersome procedures in the executive system.

XI. Poorly paid salary structure in the public sector.

XII. Illiterate, apathetic or ignorant populace, with inadequate public discernment of political choice.

XIII. Absence of adequate internal/external controls to prevent bribery.

XIV. Lack of proper selection process for public office holders in order to eliminate genetically greedy subjects.

XV. Concentration of discretionary powers in the public office.

XVI. Unfettered powers of award and reward in public office holder, inconsistent with his remuneration's.

XVII. Lack of simplified procedures for Private persons.

XVIII. Cumbersome and time-consuming legal system.

XIX. Inadequate check and enforcement system.

XX. Lack of education and awareness among the subject people.

TYPES OF CORRUPTION Corruption has numerous facets and types, some of which are:

I. EXTORTION: This is one of the ugliest forms of corruption, in which innocent people are forced to pay for none of their faults.

II. ABUSE OF PUBLIC OFFICE: Such as using the advantages of a audit or legal sanctions to extract personal favours, or to use the public office for the advantage of his favourites and associates at the cost of others or public exchequer.

III. BRIBERY: It takes two to breed corruption: giving and taking bribe. Bribe was considered a consensual crime, but it has now changed into extortion where the subject has no choice but to pay for his bonafide. However sometimes it is used to speed up the process of legitimate expectancy as hitherto fore.

IV. GRAFT: Graft is the act of public office holder personally benefiting from public office funds in a way other than prescribed by law.

V. CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND SOFT MONEY: In the political arena, it is difficult to prove corruption, but impossible to prove its absence. Politicians are placed in apparently compromising positions because of their need to solicit.

VI. FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS FOR THEIR CAMPAIGNS: Often, they appear to be acting in the interests of those parties that fund them, giving rise to talk of political corruption.

EFFECTS OF CORRUPTION The effects of corruption and corrupt practices, on any society are long term and multi-directional. Some of these effects on our society are as under:

i. Effects on politics, administration, and institutions: Corruption poses serious development challenges. In the political realm, it undermines democracy and good governance by flouting or even subverting formal process. Corruption in election and in legislative bodies reduces accountability and distorts representation in policy making;

ii. Corruption in the judiciary compromises the rule of law and corruption in public administration results in the unfair provision of service. More generally, corruption erodes institutional capacity of the government as procedures are disregarded and resources are siphoned has numerous facets and types. Its effects on the society are also multi-directional.

Effects of corruption at lower strata say policeman, extorting money from cab drivers for traffic violations, breach of environmental laws or motor vehicle fitness rules has a different facet than accepting illegal gratification by the examiner/invigilator for facilitating a student in passing examination. Nonetheless, whether it is a sanction of bank loan on soft terms out of the way on accepting a fixed commission by a senior banker or by a tax auditor to allow an inadmissible rebate, the act is contributory in the degeneration of the nation and defaming the country.

Effects on politics, administration and institutions: Corruption of higher strata poses serious development challenge. In the political realm, it undermines democracy and good governance by flouting or even subverting formal process.

II. ECONOMIC EFFECT: Corruption also undermines economic development by generating considerable distortions and inefficiency. In private sector, corruption increases the cost of business through the price of illegal payments, the management cost of negotiating with officials, and the risk of breached agreements.

RECOMMENDATIONS: The Following are the recommendations for eradication of corruption in the two segments of the society.

A. LOWER STRATA CORRUPTION

i. Compatibility of pay structure of public sector employees from private sector.

ii. Sense of security to all by providing house, social security, health insurance and old age grant for all.

iii. Job guarantees for all or alternative allowance, according to the capability and competence.

iv. Free and uniform system of education for all.

v. Check and balance on day-to-day prices of essential commodities.

B. HIGHER STRATA CORRUPTION

SHORT TERM MEASURES

I. Selection through a computerised test-detecting weak and stronger character traits.

II. Handsome and competitive salary package.

III. Withdrawal of benefits and privileges.

IV. Check and balance of pay and authority.

V. Postings in the area of permanent residence to obviate sense of alienation.

VI. Lowering the cost of living.

LONG TERM MEASURES

i. For politicians minimum qualification should be Masters in Social Sciences.

ii. Like other areas of public life strict code of conduct for political institution and politicians.

iii. Awareness in Civil Society against corruption.

iv. Strict enforcement procedures against financial crime

CONCLUSION There were 62 states throughout British India. Pakistan was contiguous with only fourteen, which included the state of Jammu and Kashmir. States, which were contiguous to the then West Pakistan, were ten in number. Three states were in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. British rule was also extended to Sri Lanka and in a way; the British imperialism had its effects on neighbouring states like Nepal and Maldives.

So the effects of colonialism emerging from illegal domination of the subcontinent led to known corrupt practices, perpetuated by all usurpers, became hallmark of the Raj and continuing to retain power rein. Without resorting to the accountability from the time of British Raj leading to political outfits and all responsible military rulers in Pakistan, as well as in other SAARC countries according to their own process, the region cannot prosper and corruption cannot be eliminated, maybe it changes its forms.

(The author is Deputy Prosecutor General Accountability, National Accountability Bureau, Government of Pakistan.)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2006


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