In a recent address, Prime Minister Imran Khan asserted that no country in the world can progress where a large number of people tolerate and accept a corrupt system. He has hit the nail on the head. However, the situation in Pakistan is not that simple. The problem with corruption is that it can take many forms and can be perpetuated through different state apparatuses. It is like a virus that tends to deform existing systems and institutions. As a result, there is an emergence of a corrupt culture — when corrupt ideals seep into the very mindset of the people. Corruption will continue to propagate unless honest leaders are appointed and flawless systems are set in place.
A perfect example of this was when police officials launched a large-scale operation a few days ago, targeting a nest of criminals and dons operating in Lahore. The crackdown ended with the arrest of over 60 out of the 73 ‘underworld dons’ involved in gambling, extortion, murders and illegal occupation of properties. These hardened criminals had created and enforced their own justice system, whereby they would settle cases of murder, robbery, kidnapping and land-grabbing by using terror as a means of coercion. Such notorious criminals create an anti-system through which they are able to carry out corrupt practices. However, these criminals and systems were formed primarily because the existing justice system is corrupt. Here the vicious cycle of corruption breeding corruption becomes evident.
Not only do such crackdowns maintain the balance of power, but they also help in creating a sense of security and optimism among hopeless citizens. Only when law and order are constantly rethought, restructured and upheld, will the people be able to see a day the country is rid of corruption. The current government, which remains inflexible on prosecuting corrupt politicians, should realise that it needs to sweep the floors before attempting to paint the walls.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2021.
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