The Culture of Corruption in a Society


At the very outset, it is necessary to define the broad contours of corruption-culture. It is the result of some cumulative factors which are at work at a time. It may be defined as the culture of rottenness, which can destroy the purity of things in human life. It is lethal in character which destroys the morals of human beings, and reduces them to the level of animalism, as they fail to distinguish between right and wrong. When the sense of discrimination between good and bad ceases to exist, evil proclivities overpower a person. Men suffering from different forms of corruption, begin to place themselves before service to others, as they stand to serve themselves first. The greed, selfishness overtake such persons who are on the rampage of morality and ethics. A society abounding in persons bereft of morality begins to thrive on evil forces like corruption, bribery, graft, hoarding, profiteering, etc. in such a society, corruption grew in dep roots which becomes difficult to uproot them later on.

Corruption has many forms. When a government official takes advantage of the helplessness of a person, demands something as illegal gratification to help him, he commits an act of corruption. When a bureaucrat in the higher echelon tries to oblige an industrialist to help him obtain NOC out of the way to set up industry at a particular place, he expects his palm to be grease by the industrialist. When politicians ignoring merit, get their favorites appointed in a particular government, semi-government department, they commit an illegal act. When rulers, while affecting purchases of military, navy, air forces equipment from foreign developed countries, get a heavy amount of kickbacks. The illegal money gained through rickety deals goes into the personal coffers of the corrupt element. At the time of awarding contracts to finance mega/small projects in the public sector, a sizeable amount filters down from the highest to the lowest government officials. It is a sort of dacoity on public money, which is appropriated by the corrupt element in a poor country like Pakistan. The public funds are not utilized properly as they are grossly misused. If all funds were used productively, it would go a long way in ensuring the quality and durability of public projects. When ruling politicians do not run government machinery according to the rule of law they indulge in encouraging corruption in one way or the other. In different government departments, public funds are mostly usurped by the high/low officials through different underhand deals. That is a great national loss. When medicines in hospitals are not provided to poor patients, it is a palpable form of tyranny and injustice. When justice is to be purchased, it is an open case of corruption.

Where rulers/bureaucrats enjoy certain discretionary powers, which they use to oblige the privileged in the allocation of plots, relaxation of rules in merit, etc., acts of corruption are initiated. The use of discretionary powers is the veiled form of corruption in a country like Pakistan. Where rulers spend scarce of foreign exchange recklessly by staying in most expensive hotels when they go abroad, they commit a crime against the tax-payer in Pakistan.

When industrialists underpay labor they commit great exploitation. When labor deliberately resorts to go-slow tactics, when teachers deliberately do not teach well in classes to draw on students to engage them as private tutors, they commit an act of immorality. The underlying idea behind all such acts is self-aggrandizement. When self-interest tends to eclipse national interests, it gives birth to corruption. In short, different acts of corruption are the results of moral rottenness.

Once a society falls into the trap of corruption, it becomes difficult to come out of it. Corruption culture has cumulative in Pakistan’s society, and it stands on the brink of a disaster. Corruption has emerged as an octopus, spreading its large tentacles all around in the society. It is the most serious situation Pakistan is face to face.

The Holy Quran describes the fate of the ancient nations, which indulged in various forms of corruption. Noah’s (A.S) nation refused to follow what was preached to it. It was visited upon by a great calamity of the flood which swept over it. The ‘Aad’ and ‘Smood’ created disorderliness, lawlessness on the surface of the earth. The Midianites civilization of Prophet Shoaib (A.S) indulged in tinkering away with the fair system of weighing. All these nations were effaced out of their existence by Allah, which committed different acts of corruption. Allah does not love the corrupt. He only loves the fair. We thus are ripe for a disaster as we have fallen prey to corruption in different forms. The lives of the poor have been made miserable. The poor are exploited at the hands of the elite, the powerful, and the strong in Pakistan. The landlords, the industrialists, the bureaucrats – military as we as civil, have taken hold over the national resources through the exploitative economic system, which confers privileges on the influential, resourceful, and deprives the underprivileged. Corruption is going on unchecked in Pakistan, which has shackled human life in different immoral chains.

After discussing the ruinous role of corruption in the life of the community, it is now in the fitness of things to throw some light on factors that help to promote this obnoxious force i.e., corruption.

The roots of corruption lie in excessive economic greed. Pakistan is a developing country, which from a number of economic constraints. There is widespread poverty in the country. More than thirty-three percent of the population lives below the poverty line. The poor wish to come out of the poverty group, while the have the desire to increase more of wealth and affluence. The industrialist wants to set up more industries to increase the extent of his industrial empire. He is willing to bribe the politicians, bureaucrats to obtain a license, and acquire uncalled for privileges. In order to increase his profits, he may have to resort to exploitative techniques by prolonging the working hours of the labor or cutting down their wage level unnecessarily. He may evade taxation by bribing the income tax officials. He may adopt a hundred and one devices to augment his income unlawfully. In short, when the objective is to increase one’s resources illegally to achieve certain personal ends, corruption is generated in the society both at the individual and collective levels.

 The government officials, in conformity with the general trend, wish to increase their income level through illegitimate ways by accepting bribes. The idea is to gain and access to economic resources for satisfying their various materials’ desires. That becomes the fashion of the day. Only a few individuals having the fear of God in their hearts are prevented from indulging in various corrupt practices. The present times are the times of rising material aspirations, itching people in different ways to increase their resources to satisfy them. Even the clerics (exception are there) who are in the mainstream of national politics exert their pressure in one way or the other to meet some of their unreasonable demands. They preach moral sermons to the people but themselves practice immoral means to gain personal mileage. In short, society becomes the bedrock of immorality, exposed to different corrupt ways of living.

Once corruption catches people, big or low, it then becomes a part of their psyche. A corrupt infested society in the one with degenerated morals of the people. Corruptions spread far and wide and take people with weak morals in its fold. It becomes in the long run cumulative and this commences the downward march of a community. It is like a pack of human beings standing on a sharp sloppy hill, each moment slipping downward, but every individual holding the others responsible for the downward action!

The west has succeeded in dealing with phenomena through its developed institution of accountability prevalence of law in its pristine form, holding everyone equal – big or one can escape the law of the land under any condition. Corruption stands cornered in the West through the superiority of law as no one is above law. However, conditions are reversed in Pakistan, where the law is only for the weak and not for the strong. The influence can wash off its financial and other sins through the invocation of NRO. The strong can commit crimes against the nation in Pakistan because of the weak judiciary, which lately has asserted its independence, and it is a healthy sign to grapple with the corruption of different nature.

Before suggesting remedies, it is necessary to point out that corruption is a worldwide phenomenon. It prevails the world over, since it appears, to be ingrained in the nature of man. The developed countries with sophisticated technology, aim at enslaving the poor nations’ economically. They wish to utilize the resources of the weak nations to their advantage. They devise a number of mechanisms to thrust serfdom on the poor countries that try to defy their domination in one way or the other. To deprive the poor countries of their resources, the developed countries hit upon a number of crafty devices. This is an act of corruption, which they commit; because to promote their interests at the cost of the poor countries can in no way be justified. However, this game has ever been played since time immemorial.

The point worthy of consideration is that corruption is not only confined to the Third World countries including Pakistan, but also to the whole of the world, though its forms differ from country to country

In the light of the backdrop, now we are in a position to suggest some remedies to reduce the magnitude of corruption, much less to exterminate it. The following suggestions are given in this behalf, which can help improve the present situation marked by corruption.

The need of the time is to enforce the law strictly in the country. He, who commits a moral crime in the form of getting a graft or undue favor, should be tried in a court of law. These measures would demand a complete measure of the independence of the judiciary. If the judiciary enjoys independence, then it can fairly deal with cases involving fraud, corruption and can bring the influential element before the bar of law. A strong judiciary can play a very healthy role in minimizing the incidence of corruption and other social evils. The constitution should be respected in its letter and spirit. The law must be upheld and whosoever breaks the law must be punishe

The institution of accountability – an integral part of democracy should be strengthened as far as possible. The past civil and military governments had been using accountability as an instrument of suppression to suppress their political adversaries. If accountability is invoked in the right way, it can prove effective in curbing corruption and other social evils. Accountability should be across the board. If accountability has its hold in the country, then it would discourage the corrupt element to refrain from accepting bribery or other forms of gra

The country desperately needs a committed leadership, which should be above personal interests. An honest leadership can act as a strong deterrent to corruption and other social evi

The parliament should be quite independent to debate issues like kickbacks and take appropriate action against the corrupt. The day parliament attains real independence, many social evils would disappear. The elected representatives belonging to different political parties have objectives of their own to promote. There is no common consensus among them on national issues. There should be a unanimity of view on national problems. The recent example is that the Supreme Court has thrown the ball in the court of parliamentarians to legislate or unlegislated NRO. Owing to the fishy interests of political parties that have largely benefited from NRO is not inclined to discuss it in the parliament. When parliament becomes supreme to take independent action, rising above political exigencies, corruption and its allied forces would greatly meet their demise. However, the importance of the independence of the judiciary cannot be underscored. Independent parliament and judiciary are needed to deal with the unlawful forces in the countr

The regime of law, if established, can go a long way to rid the country of many a social evil like corruption. If the law were strong it would fall on both big and low. No one could escape from the law. The problem is to net a big fish that can prowl about in society freely.

The last but not the least is to ensure the satisfaction of basic human needs of people. The government should adopt such fiscal policies to narrow down the gulf between the rich and the poor and promote employment activity to increase the income of the people. This would involve an effective program of poverty alleviation. The poor need to be pulled out of poverty. The salaries of government officials need to be raised to a level to combat soaring inflation. It envisages a multi-pronged program to fight against the hydra-headed monster of corruption. Needless to say that once corruption becomes a way of living, it becomes difficult to overcome it. Corruption is practiced by politicians, bureaucrats, hoarders, black-marketers in different forms. Every section of the society shown infection with corruption. The way suggested to come out of the impasse is to have sincere leadership at the top, which should set a healthy precedent at its level and ask the people to follow it. Pakistan will be out of the blind alley as and when it is blessed with dedicated leadership having deep roots in the home soil. People would readily respond to the call of leadership which demonstrates austerity faithfully and that would also force other parliamentarians to follow su

People profess Islam, but do not practice righteous mode of living. They do not earn   “رزق حلال” (honest living) to bring up their offshoot with hard-earned wealth. The society becomes a sea of immoral forces. There may be tiny islands of honesty amidst the sea of corruption. All the same, the need for an honest living can hardly be underemphasized. The need is to revive morality both at the individual and the collective levels. A morally strong society can withstand the onslaughts of corruption and other social evil forces. The culture of corruption needs to be replaced with the culture of human goodness if society wishes its survival. Corruption culture can eat into the vitals and fresh blood cells of societies.

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