Stories about corruption

Prevention is better than cure

Not for the first time, a court order has gotten the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in a tough fix. After the Islamabad High Court ordered the formation of a three-member panel of retired judges to investigate allegations of corruption in the CDA, more than a few serving and former CDA officials would have broken out in cold sweats. The CDA is not by any means a model organisation. Civic problems go unaddressed for weeks, lower staff goes unpaid for months, projects are delayed by years, and corruption has been rampant since its inception. The new chairman hasn’t been in office ...

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Pakistan has all it takes to be a great nation!

It has been four years since I moved to Austria to pursue a PhD degree. At the time of leaving Pakistan, I was overjoyed, filled with excitement and enthusiasm. The picture of Europe, though largely exaggerated, depicted by my friends who were already studying there, was so appealing that I could hardly wait to get there. The excitement was so overwhelming that I did not even bother to see the tears in my mother’s eyes when she came to see me off at Jinnah Airport. I rushed to the check-in counter, fearing that I may miss the flight and ...

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Pakistan’s next top Politician

It is no secret that in Pakistan, politicians and political parties are increasing abundantly, but true leaders are hard to find. With the passage of time, we’ve actually managed to change the definition of being a “leader” in this country. With my sincerest apologies to revered leaders of Pakistan, we must admit that we have been a leaderless nation since Jinnah passed. Thus, I have made a classified advertisement to spot a leader on sight. So, read below to find out what makes a true Pakistani leader! Job description and responsibilities: A leader is required to lead a crowd of poor and ...

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Wake up Pakistan! This is your war

Pakistan is out of step with the rest of the world – a recent poll showed it was the only country to prefer Romney over Obama and is now proved to be on “the wrong side of history”.  Obama’s win on November 6 for a second term has been recognised by every country but Pakistan as a historic decision that is good for the peace and security of the Middle East.  The international community has welcomed the election result with much relief as, unlike his Republican opponent, ex- Governor Romney, President Obama will not engage in unilateral military action and will ...

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Dear Mr Chief Justice, why are you allowing extrajudicial killings?

Dear Mr Chief Justice, The entire nation knows how you refused to bow down before a military dictator, and helped establish the rule of law in this country. We know how your courageous actions led to the revival of democracy in our country and the independence of the judiciary. Ever since your position was restored, you have taken suo-motu notice of many actions, and have done a commendable job at scrutinising the executive under the Supreme Court’s inherent powers of judicial review, such as the Balochistan law and order case. I thus take this opportunity, to bring to your notice, ...

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The leader in all of us

June 4, 1947, Lahore The air was filled with joy. As he walked through the crowded streets of the walled city, Ahmed could see the excitement on people’s faces. His heart raced with joy at what had been achieved. The viceroy had just finished his speech on the radio. India was to be divided; Pakistan would no longer be a dream! The moment of triumph was bitter-sweet. Mixed with the joy of Pakistan’s creation was the sad memory of those who had laid their lives to make this moment possible, freedom had not been cheap. Lost in his thoughts, Ahmed was startled by gunshots ...

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The day a beggar outshone me

Recently, I witnessed an event, the consequence of which was the dawn of a significant realisation upon me. In itself, the event was not that remarkable or anything extraordinary, but it had far reaching implications.  One afternoon I found myself standing next to the Daman-e-Koh entrance, waiting for a friend. Being in Islamabad, in the month of July, and under 43 degrees Celsius of heat, naturally I was hot and agitated. Nearby, there was a broken pipe that had been gushing water like a fountain for over 45 minutes but nobody cared – this was before two visibly poor children arrived at the spot. One ...

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Corruption is middle-class morality

While millions of Pakistanis expressed their astonishment and dissatisfaction with the election of Raja Pervez Ashraf as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan on June 22, the news didn’t come to me as a shock at all. Raja Pervez Ashraf has been widely criticised; the new prime minister has been labelled in the media as “Raja Rental” because of the kickbacks he is alleged to have taken being the water and power minister. An investigation to which, by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), is still in progress against him. History is riddled with examples of corrupt politicians being rehabilitated. Ayub Khan disqualified politicians who were later placed in ministerial offices. ...

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Dreams of the elders of Pakistan

It was late in the afternoon when I arrived at his house. Islamabad was going through one of its worst spells of heat but as I was shown in, the antechamber was cool and the drawing room cooler still. I was informed by his caretaker that he was sleeping and would be joining shortly after Asar. I nodded and took a seat, waiting. The room was decorated with black and white pictures that I could make out were well before my time, some on the wall and others on cabinets and tables. Except for him, a considerably younger him, ...

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Karachi encroached: Mi casa es su casa?

It has happened many times in Karachi. Somewhere, somehow a public amenity plot is commercialised. Encroachment on open spaces and parks is often carried out by powerful private groups. But what can be done when the government itself starts leasing out amenity space to make money? Karachi’s Safari Park was inaugurated in 1970. Spread over 300 acres of land in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, it was supposed to be an open environment where animals roam freely. That never happened and small cages were built for the poorly looked after souls – the previously envisaged park is just a zoo now. Over the years, the ...

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