Stories about corruption and bribery

My love for Pakistan, dangerous but unconditional

Being away from Pakistan has drastically transformed my memories of it – an interesting phenomenon indeed. It is not an erratic chaos in my head anymore. Lately, when I try to describe home, I use words such as bright lights and bustling ambition, conveniently ignoring recollections of clenched teeth, sweltering heat and endless agitation. When I contemplate my current abode in a progressive Massachusetts college, my yearning for home is surprising. I am more comfortable here, by any standard. I have spent weeks without cussing traffic. I have not experienced any electric load shedding for even an instant. Nobody stares at me if I step ...

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Spare a thought for the policeman

I am an honest policeman disgruntled by the stigma attached to my profession. So, in order to let everyone see what my life is like, I have decided to pen down what a month in my shoes looks like. Despite performing my duties without taking any bribes, I fear I am still labelled a “chillar”, “thief”, “dishonest” and “corrupt”. There is no doubt that there are many people in my profession who may deserve those labels, but stereotyping everyone as the same isn’t an honest act either. I grew up like any other ordinary child with few facilities and festivities – ...

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Why we Khan’t

A few days back, a family friend of mine narrated an incident about how he escaped paying taxes, or at least didn’t have to pay the full amount that was due. To cut a long story short, he bribed his way around the system by giving a very expensive mobile phone to the daughter of a tax official. This is a story that, I am sure, we have all experienced and witnessed in different forms and shapes in our everyday life. Now, I would like to point out a few things, which, I feel, are essential to the argument that ...

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An open letter to Salman Butt

Dear Salman Butt, I started following you from your days in the Under 17s. I still remember how I started loving Slazenger bats with yellow coloured grips, just because I saw you playing with one in an U-17 Asia Cup match back then. I still remember, randomly enough, that Habib Oil Mills sponsored that tournament. I still remember your test debut against Bangladesh at Multan, where you made a quick fire 37 in the second innings. Salman, I still remember your ODI debut against West Indies, where you were out for a duck, caught in the slips. It was a decent delivery by ...

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Why protesting against this government will fail

Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve. George Bernard Shaw Last month, Pakistan celebrated the 64th year of its broken democracy (30 if you discount the field marshal and generals). Whether you prefer 64 or 30, the fact remains, our democracy is broken. While many accuse politicians of breaking it, this is just proof of our national past time, blame it on the other guy. As much as I want to agree with the sentiment of people on the street, that Parliament is full of thieves and liars, I am reminded of one fact ...

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Anjum Aqeel: Who let the MNA out?

As a voting citizen of Islamabad, I am ashamed. My MNA, the elected representative of the city, a member of a party that is ostensibly part of the judicial movement, made a mafia-style dash from the police before deciding to turn himself in. How nice of him. There are those who would point to his party’s hierarchy to show this was to be expected. Now how can a party which stood up for the judiciary and the removal of a dictator be seen in such a light? Read history. The party and its democracy-loving leader rose to prominence in the 80s through the ...

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The curious case of Moonis Elahi

So, the interior ministry has pulled yet another stunt with Additional Director of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Zafar Qureshi. We can now officially say that the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) has started reaping the benefits of joining the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led government coalition. Moonis Elahi must feel relieved. His party is now aligned with the professionals and he can be sure of the fact that the corruption charges levelled against him will probably not translate into a conviction. As usual, cleansing Elahi’s image has required sacrifice from those who believe in principles. Qureshi, the lead investigator of the case ...

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The ‘fixed’ price of World Cup 2011

Modern cricket has been tainted with controversy of match/spot fixing and corruption scandals. But despite the drama, the sheer volume of viewers tuning in and fan interest has only increased. When this month’s issue of Sports Illustrated (SI) India hits stands, it will trigger much debate, deliberation and a wave of “I told you so” comments among followers of cricket all over the world. The cover story “Dirt in Cricket” deciphers 400 minutes of conversations between SI journalists, bookies and politicians in India. The story was shared with Yahoo Sports, a few days before it is to appear in SI, and promises ...

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A cricket fan, no more

While my countrymen are arranging special prayers for the Pakistan cricket team to take on India on March 30 in the World Cup semi-finals, I cannot help but think how emotional our nation is. The height of ecstasy regarding cricket in Pakistan has made the public demand a holiday on the day of the upcoming match. Similarly, in India, many are willing to pay Indian Rs10,000 for a ticket worth INR1,000, through the black market. I, on the other hand, have boycotted the mania, as I have lost hope in my team. This is what happens when an emotional fan – ...

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My first bribe: Pakistan brings out the worst in me

I’ve lived in the UK most of my life and visited Pakistan last summer after five years. I was simply overwhelmed when I arrived at the airport and was smiling at everyone and everything I saw. Unfortunately, my feelings of  joy came to an end soon enough. Fist stop: baggage claim I waited at the baggage claim for the last piece of my luggage -a lawnmower that that my grandfather had requested – for half an hour. Finally, I saw the big orange box. It was sitting on a luggage trolley along with another suitcase. Standing next to it was a tall, grey-haired ...

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