THIS is with reference to the letter ‘Rampant corruption’ (Nov 15). Corruption is deep-rooted and no institution in Pakistan can claim to be immune from it. Though corruption has been around for a very long time, it has spread like wild fire over the last few decades.

It flourishes because of dishonest and characterless leaders. Kickbacks and commissions are considered to be an entitlement, rather a matter of right by those in power.

Nothing moves in government offices without greasing the palm of the officials.

Widespread corruption inflicts enormous economic damage on the nation. It discourages investment, stifles economic growth, causes loss of tax revenue, leads to unemployment and poverty, and adds further layers to the already crushing debt burden.

It alters the basic composition of government spending, with lower quality of infrastructure and public services. Corruption has become so common that businessmen and ordinary people interpret it as a species of tax, though of a particularly pernicious nature. Pakistan’s current poor economic situation can be traced to the enormity of corruption prevailing in society. Unless the menace is tackled quickly, the country will remain backward, with its economy on ventilator and dependent on the generosity of foreign powers.

Ending corruption is essential, but this requires a visionary leader as the corrupt mafia is too powerful and omnipresent in the land. Right now, corruption is no longer considered a grave financial crime. It is so prevalent that it may be better to legitimise it by passing a law in parliament. At least, the enormous funds we currently spend on accountability and anti-corruption bodies would be saved.

Shaista Anwar Kirmani
Karachi

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2023

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