As we all know, corruption holds sway in our country and affects lives at all levels in various ways. The degree to which this happens is reflected in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index released by the Berlin-based honesty watchdog monitor, Transparency International (TI), which places Pakistan at a lowly 34th place on a list of 180 countries ranked on the basis of corruption levels within them. For our country, of course, this has been the persisting pattern for years. The detailed survey by TI, based on interviews with some 1,000 persons, also assesses perceptions regarding the honesty of different departments, groups and institutions within our nation. As in previous years, the police department has been rated the most corrupt of all by an overwhelming 86 per cent of respondents, followed by public officials and political parties. The land service, too, is rated as very corrupt by most, with many stating that they had paid out bribes to it or other public-sector departments. Almost all those surveyed, men and women alike, believed personal contact was essential to getting work done as far as government-run services were concerned.
In recent years and months, we have concentrated greatly on scams involving those holding top positions. Of course, such misuse of public money affects us all and is unacceptable. But it is also petty corruption, lower down the ladder of power, which also has a highly negative impact on the lives of people and the conduct of their daily affairs. This, too, is something that requires more attention. The PML-N government has sworn it will fiercely battle corruption. It must now devise a strategy to do so at every tier, keeping in mind the current, warped nature of people’s dealings with vital services such as the police. If it can make any headway in this, a significant difference would be made in the quality of life led by people, who are quite evidently, desperate to escape the mesh of dishonesty in which they have been entrapped for too long.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2013.
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