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Ziaur Rahman


Addressing Parliament for the 6th time, President Zardari spoke of everything under the sun but the two major problems that have brought Pakistan economically, politically and morally to its knees, nepotism and corruption. We are certainly not a failed state but Zardari and party put us well on our way to becoming a criminal one. Aesop (620 BC – 520 BC), a Greek slave of possibly Ethiopian origin to whom many fables through the centuries are credited, observed 2500 years ago in 550 BC, “we hang petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office”. Persecuted and/or sidelined, precedents were set for public officials to not only wholeheartedly condone but expedite siphoning of public money. Money is not the only motivation for derailing evidence and prosecution thereof, fear of retribution can be. Chicago’s Al Capone was guilty many times over for publicly committing murder, witnesses would never testify against him out of fear for their lives, he would laugh at them in court.


The Corruption Syndrome

From time to time, various exhortations are made from diverse pulpits against the disease of corruption. One of the inherent premises of democracy is that this evil is subject to public scrutiny and therefore effective check. There is no denying the fact that Martial Laws, ostensibly meant to eradicate corruption, end up (because of their longevity) having a Catch-22 effect due to the muzzling of the Press, which in turn makes for a corrupt society, malfeasance having ample opportunity to flourish under an imposed cloak of silence. Now that democracy has been found to be alive and well and living in Pakistan, it is time to turn to accountability in the real sense, not as an end for purposes of political revenge, but to ensure that exposure and punishments work as an effective means of deterrent for the potentially corrupt. The media has to play a responsible and effective role in this process.