By Khurshid Ahmad, Weekly Pulse Magazine, January 20, 2014
Deep rooted and institutionalized corruption is further paralyzing the rotten system of Pakistan. The saga of corruption is not new but its new aspects come into light every day. The inefficient official machinery of the state is totally responsible for the ills of the country, social, political and economical. Demand of stern action ever grows.
Recently I got a list of commodities prices issued by the Commissioner Karachi and Controller General Prices Karachi. The list contained the prices of fruits. The prices of the commodities listed were fantasize and unbelievable. For example, according to the list banana are to be sold for Rs 48 per dozen, Apple Rs 61 per kilogram and apple golden Rs 95 per kilogram, Kinnow Rs 91 per dozen, orange Rs 65 per dozen. The prices mentioned above are of high quality fruits but ironically the actual prices were much higher in fact.
The list contained 41 items out of which 9 were listed as unavailable. In first place the lists issued by such government departments seem simple but when people actually go to markets to buy fruits or any other commodity the reality befalls. No one sells the commodities on the prescribed official price lists. In fact the list could rightly be described as the ghost list, a product of bureaucratic inefficiency. The question arises that why such actions are taken without consulting stakeholders and taking practical aspects into consideration? If such steps have been taken who is responsible to implement such decision? In fact it seems that nothing is done before issuing such lists and is show of ignorance about the market mechanism.
The above example is of a small, micro unit of government’s machinery and the bottom of pyramid of government hierarchy. The country faces such problems because of lack of effective micro management system. The bureaucracy is not ready to change despite demand of the time. The outcome of such inefficient and dull bureaucratic behavior is the widespread confusion and lack of trust in the government and its agencies. The best check and balance, reward and punishment system could alleviate the sufferings of commoners.
The government, if serious, should recognize the pestilence, moral and financial, that has infected the pyramid of society from top to bottom. The pestilence is the corruption that deprives, according to NAB, the country of Rs 6 to 8 billion every day. The amount which otherwise would have been utilized for the economic growth of the country. In the light of NAB revelation it could be estimated that up to Rs 240 billion are lost every month due to burgeoning corruption. The amount if calculated for the year goes up to Rs 2880 billion. The amount is nearly equal to the total outlay of the current budget.
If the money which goes into the hands of few individuals or groups could be saved through good governance it could help many economically unfortunate citizens of the country.
The corruption has taken central position among the issues that affect the country. The people of inferior character have been given free hand by assigning them important positions. At one hand the people in the power corridor or those who are close the ruling elite make huge sums through unfair means on the other hand poor masses suffer from number of problems that arise due lack of resources.
The country needs leadership that is devoid of corruption. “Is it possible in the current political setup?” is the question which needs to be answered by the incumbent government of Mian Nawaz Sharif.
Once again it is pertinent to note that the corruption is like termites and only proper cleansing could salvage the structure. The one and effective way of dealing with growing corruption is to equate it with the treason, both are destructive to the state and its organs.