Stories about corruption

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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With a no tolerance policy on criticism, how is the PTI government different from an authoritarian regime?

The announcement that Dr Farrukh Saleem is in fact not the spokesperson on economic and energy issues is the latest event in the chain of comedies produced by the incumbent government of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Saleem was appointed as spokesperson for the government on economic and energy issues in October. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted about Saleem’s appointment, and since then Saleem appeared on TV many times as the spokesperson for the government. Ministry of Information is pleased to announce that Dr Farrukh Saleem will be the Government’s spokesperson on Economy and energy issues, notification shall follow accordingly @SaleemFarrukh — Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) ...

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Why is Sheikh Rashid in charge of Pakistan Railways?

Ever since Sheikh Rashid has been given charge of the Ministry of Railways, he has been busy making a hue and cry about the railways department being ruined by the corruption during the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s tenure. In every single press conference, Rashid levels allegations of mass corruption on members of the PML-N, particularly former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique. However, on Wednesday, December 27th an audit report by AF Ferguson was presented in the Supreme Court (SC) by Rafique’s lawyers, which stated that no corruption or irregularities were found in the railways department during the five-year tenure of ...

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