Stories about corruption

The importance of economic transparency in Pakistan

The boisterous wrangling over the post-Brexit agreement between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU), and the adoption of an assertive economic nationalism by the United States (US) in the ongoing trade disputes with other major economies have quickened the pace of realignment and reconfiguration in the global economy. The ensuing volatility and uncertainty have been compounded by the staggering challenge of coming up with a sustainable solution to climate change, managing the inexorable spread of coronavirus, and rationalising the network of relations in the global supply chain. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has responded to these developments ...

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In conversation with Pervez Hoodbhoy – Part 1: Pakistan’s education system

This conversation with Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy is presented as a three part series. Part 1 covers Pakistan’s education system. Part 2 discusses Pakistan’s language conundrum . Part 3 includes a conversation regarding South Asian politics and culture. ~ My correspondence with Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy began a few years ago, and I have presented our email exchanges here so that they can be of service to a wider audience. Professor Hoodbhoy’s sincerity and commitment towards improving Pakistan’s institutions is unquestionable and, whatever one may think of his views on certain topics, there is always a lot to learn from him. Therefore, I hope this correspondence not only enlightens readers about the ...

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Corruption in Pakistan is not limited to politicians

In our society, corruption is commonly understood to be the giving or taking of money to commit an illegal act which furthers the interests of the payer and lines the pockets of the payee. It is also usually implicit that such interests are furthered at the expense of someone else’s or the state’s benefit. The bribe can be conveyed in the form of cash or an object of significant monetary value. Another generally accepted feature of financial corruption is that the recipients of bribes are persons in authority such as government functionaries or office bearers in non-government organisations or ...

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Should we pretend to be surprised at Zardari’s release?

Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) supremo, Asif Ali Zardari has been granted bail by the Islamabad High Court (IHC). A two member bench of the IHC, which comprised of Justice Athar Minhullah and Justice Amir Farooq, granted bail to Zardari on medical grounds. Zardari, who was taken into custody by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) earlier in July, had already been admitted to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences previously where he was under treatment for diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Zardari’s bail did not come as a surprise, especially after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was given bail on ...

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Why can’t Pakistan adopt practices from developed countries to reform its tax system?

Why is it so difficult to evade taxes in developed countries? Couldn’t we just adopt the same systems and improve our tax collections? If they have figured it out, why can’t we just copy them? What’s all the fuss about? These questions regularly come up in conversations when someone finds out that I work in public finance. Since taxation has become a hot topic over the last year, Pakistanis are curious to know more about whether or not we can simply transpose tax policies from other nations into Pakistan. But the realities are a little more complicated than that. ...

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The system of government in Pakistan: democracy or hypocrisy?

From theocracy to monarchy, from monarchy to imperialism, from imperialism to nation states, the methods of governance have been transformed several times. They have passed multiple stages in an attempt to find the way of governance best suited for the interests of people. However, due to selfishness and the ever-present lust of power, none of these methods proved to be successful. In fact, these systems went from religious to hardliner, monarchy to oligarchy and imperialism to colonialism. After the failure of numerous government systems, nation states emerged. They arose with the slogan of democracy as a global system of government; ...

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Sindh PAC: PPP’s mute watchdog?

In the Sherlock Holmes short story, The Adventure of Silver Blaze, a race horse named Silver Blaze disappears and its trainer is killed. Holmes figures out that it had to be an inside job since the dog didn’t bark, which it is supposed to if there was a stranger involved. The same seems to be true for the watchdog in Sindh called the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Over the last nine years, the auditor-general of Pakistan has unearthed irregularities of Rs957 billion in the Sindh government’s accounts. Meanwhile, the provincial PAC has not barked once in a decade. Not a single ...

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50 shades of politics: In the end, PTI will be a graveyard of resigned politicians

Politics is a particularly nasty creature. Even for social science, it’s an art form very few can master. The rest just try to rock the boat. To make it easier to understand, one can say that everyone is trying to do the right thing, but what the right thing is and how to do it is where all the division happens. At the core of it all, unfortunately, nothing much changes, because the people who put every crook, criminal and elite into power essentially do not change. No matter how moral or ethical we want to see our politicians, we ourselves ...

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The ECL fright: ‘Freedom of movement’ or a history of politicians ‘getting sick’ abroad?

They say an artist uses lies to tell the truth. Pakistani politicians, or may be politicians in general, use the truth to tell a lie. Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan recently tweeted, questioning politicians on why they find being on the Exit Control List (ECL) so upsetting. He was responding to the critique over placing Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) politicians’ names on the ECL. Why are some of our lawmakers so scared of the ECL? Why are they so keen to go abroad? There is so much work to be done by politicians in & for Pak – the land ...

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Corruption or negligence: The (not so) curious case of Murad Ali Shah’s resignation

Globally, it is common for politicians and public officials to step down from office if an allegation is made against them and an investigation is ongoing. After all, being in the public eye entails that one allegation is enough to cause lasting damage to one’s reputation and career. Thus, once a concern is raised, it is in the official’s best interest to step down instead of remaining at a post paid for through the public exchequer.  For instance, some leaders across the globe voluntarily stepped down after their names were included in the Panama Papers scandal. Unfortunately in Pakistan, those who ...

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