ISLAMABAD: While Pakistan has greatly compromised its independence for the sake of a few billion dollars of foreign aid and corruption is rising at an alarming rate, the Transparency International has revealed that during the last three years of PPP rule, the menace has cost the nation more than Rs3,000 billion only in selected areas.
Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) Advisory Committee chairman Adil Gilani told The News on Tuesday that these corruption figures do not include the loot and plunder of the national wealth in the mega scandals like Pakistan Steel Mills scam, NICL plunder, Haj swindle, rental power plants fraud and many more.
The trends of surveys and studies conducted by the Transparency International Pakistan show gradual increase in corruption in Pakistan during the last three years, Gilani said and added this fact could be confirmed from the country’s ranking in TI Corruption Perception Index. “Conservative figure for last three years are more than a trillion rupees per annum with 15-20 percent annual increase,” Gilani said.
He said that the height of corruption in Pakistan during the last three years could be judged from its position sliding down from 47th in 2008 to 42nd in 2009 and 34th in 2010.
The TIP executive explained that in 2009, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) corruption was at least Rs500 billion as per the statement of the then finance minister Shaukat Tareen whereas the state enterprises like PIA, Wapda, Pakistan Steel Mills and Railways eat up Rs300 billion of taxpayers. In 2009, he explained that the TIP reported the increase in corruption in the last three years by 400 percent and quoted the figure of Rs195 billion in 2009, which increased to Rs225 billion in 2010 as the money that went in petty corruption.
The total corruption in the above three categories alone, according to Gilani, makes the figure of corrupted money over Rs3,000 billion during the last three years.
Gilani clarified that these huge corruption figures do not include the massive corruption in the land department and government procurements in entities like National Highway Authority, Oil and Gas Development Corporation Limited, Sui Southern Gas Pipelines Limited, Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited, Karachi Port Trust, Port Qasim Authority, Civil Aviation Authority, National Insurance Corporation Limited, Pepco, Erra, SVBP, NBP, CDA, Ministry of Defence, Defence Housing Authority, National Logistics Cell, PSO, PNSC, Cantonment Boards, etc.
Like most political parties, independent media, civil society and other stakeholders, the Transparency International’s local chief too is unsatisfied with the government efforts to curb corruption. There is a general perception that the government, instead of checking corruption and taking measures to curb this menace, is protecting the corrupt while the anti-corruption apparatus like the FIA and National Accountability Bureau have been disfigured by the government to the advantage of the corrupt and plunderers of national wealth.
Leading economists and financial experts are of the firm view that if corruption is effectively checked in Pakistan, the country would not require any foreign aid, including from the US. Only recently Washington, which is fully aware of Islamabad’s financial mismanagement, has stopped $800 million in defence aid as it expects from Pakistan to do more.
It is believed that Pakistan could not get itself free from foreign pressures and dictate unless it generates enough resources to meet its expenses for which corruption-free society is considered a must. However, the PPP government did not show any interest during the last three years to root out corruption and take measures, which are essential to stabilise the country’s economy.
In the present scenario, media and superior judiciary in general and the Supreme Court in particular are fighting against corruption but the government, instead of supporting them, violates the apex court’s order, uses every trick to avoid fair investigations and prosecution in corruption cases and puts all possible pressures on sections of independent media that are not siding with the rulers’ corruption and misrule.