We made society corrupt

Published: March 28, 2011
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We fuel corruption daily by defying the law.

Picture this:  it’s 2:00 am at a traffic signal somewhere, anywhere in Islamabad.

A car makes its way to the red-light and slows down. From this point on, everything seems to be out of a fantasy world.

That’s because it is unlikely for a car to stop on an empty street and on an uncrowded intersection at any time of day. Even though a mere traffic violation can hardly be compared to serious offences, the reactions of some people to being ticketed are often hilarious when put into the context of their general behaviour.

“Sir, it’s my first offence”,

“Sir, I’m late late for work”

“How much will it cost to settle this right here?” and

“Oye, don’t you know whose car this is?”

The typical Pakistani loves to provide their two cents on corruption in the government, but will quickly ignore the fact that he (or she) is at least partly guilty of contributing to the institutionalised corruption that plagues our society.

Take the example of any high flyer when stopped at a chowk. He will lie, then plead ignorance, then try to negotiate using a blue or green bill, and then be on his way to complain about the corrupt system.

Then, there is the case of the prodigal son offered a job — not out of merit of achievement. Look under a rock and you’ll find a qualified individual overlooked because of the lack of strong ties within an industry.

Institutionalised corruption has become a foundation stone of our society and we fuel it daily by defying the law. Why else would we feel offended when penalised for an obvious infraction of the law?

We’re not hypocrites, are we? Scratch that, we are.

If all this doesn’t make any sense, just recall the last time you had work at a government office with a long queue waiting ahead of you. What did you pay to be bumped forward? Or, whose name did you take to receive preferential treatment? Thought so.


 

Vaqas Asghar

Vaqas Asghar

The author is a senior sub-editor on the Islamabad Desk and also reports on diplomatic events. He tweets as @vasghar (twitter.com/vasghar)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.