Punishing corruption


Regarding the Supreme Court’s directives

I am a follower of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and Quaid e Azam in my political life. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) left a lot of political tradition that we conveniently ignore and focus more on only the symbolic tradition of his. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) achieved the transformation of a community through a long peaceful struggle. Quaid e Azam also showed us the way of a constitutional struggle. When Gandhi invited him to join his non-cooperation movement he declined. He believed non-cooperation will turn violent which is exactly what happened eventually.
Six months ago when Panama Leaks first appeared I had proposed that Supreme Court should form a Judicial Commission on its own and write its terms of reference. There were three main reasons to offer that route. First, there is deep distrust among opposition and government parties. Second, parliament is incapable and weak to act on its own because of dictatorship in parties. PML-N members want to protect their boss and PTI members meekly run away from a parliament session not to make their cult leader unhappy. And third, politicians and their oligarch supporters of all stripes and colour are involved in such practices and they have vested interest not to do anything about it.  When it is proposed that every state institution is invalid including courts than the state cease to exist and anarchy reigns supreme.
It is a sigh of relief that the Supreme Court has proposed that a judicial commission will be formed to investigate Panama leaks. This is an opportunity for us to improve reforms into the system. I would hope and pray that following are included in the terms of reference of the Judicial Commission:

  • Judiciary is not a legislative body but it can highlight shortcomings and loopholes in laws that allow tax evasion and parking of ill-gotten money inside and outside the country. For example, huge difference in book value and transaction value of properties in DHA and Bahria Town type developments. The JC proposals would be binding on parliament to draft laws to plug loopholes.
  • Inaction and incapacity of federal prosecuting and investigating organs to act on their own when a white collar crime is committed has to be addressed. I prefer disbanding of NAB and empowerment of FIA. Recent court rulings about NAB’s promotion of corrupt practices are evidence of that.
  • Improvement in the regulation of political parties to perform proper due diligence of their candidates before the award of tickets. And if their elected representative are found to be engaged in corrupt practices then penalty imposed on parties too. It does not require a rock science to know if a person enjoy good reputation in his constituency. Neighbours can tell whether a person is honest or a thug. Voters are intelligent but when ballot paper has same kind of people then they pick better of the worst which is still not better but worse.

These are some of the areas that can be looked at along with an investigation of PM and his family. But the fair justice would be when everyone with an undeclared offshore account whether politician, bureaucrat, judge, general or an oligarch is investigated and punished.
InshaAllah Pakistan will reform but the best route for it is offered by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and Quaid e Azam. We should follow that rather than have faith in cults and dictatorships.