Pakistan’s three times Prime Minister and a businessman turned politician Nawaz Sharif has been declared disqualified by the apex court in Pakistan in corruption case. The petition was initiated by cricketer turned politician Imran Khan and others. In a country like Pakistan where political culture is of lower quality and the constitutionalism is still to take roots and most of the institutions weakened making the country a fragile state, the decision is a welcome development.
The Supreme Court in its verdict stated that PM Nawaz was disqualified from the membership of the Parliament and thereafter he cannot continue as the PM of the country. He was disqualified on the charge that he had not disclosed about his employment in a company-Capital FZE Jebel Ali, Dubai in 2013 nomination papers. Thus he had not maintained honesty to parliament and court and disqualified in terms of Representation of People’ Act and Constitution of 1973.
Supreme Court has given a verdict which may kindle of hopes for the suppressed people in the country that now a phase may start for their lives but overpowering negative impact of corruption on masses is highly established. As rightly summed up by José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International that “ in too many countries, people are deprived of their most basic needs and go to bed hungry every night because of corruption, while the powerful and corrupt enjoy lavish lifestyles with impunity.” The removal of Nawaz may give a hope that some changes may occur in the political life of the country; but it may turn a day dream as a new oppressive and corrupt institution army is likely to play more decisive role in the political affairs of the country. The verdict shows that in Pakistan the corrupt politics had existed for a long time with disobeying the constitutional norms and public opinion and removal of PM is a just a symptom of a grave disease-the corruption.
The departure of PM was censured by a just institution which has brought into focus the level of the corruption prevailing in the Pakistan like societies that the head of the government is found involved in malpractices and common folks never in a position to speak against the power holders due to their overpowering political power and clout. Thus morality is decided by the corrupt politicians and that moral structure is never questioned; if anyone speaks against to it then the adverse lethal impact is to be thrust upon such whistle blowers. In such a morally deficient society the verdict is a sign of the positive hope which needs to be strengthened at wider scale with more vigorous efforts.
The departure also needs to be interpreted in terms of the state of corruption in South Asia as Pakistan is a core member of the region. According to Transparency International’s ‘the Corruption Perception Index 2016’ South Asia’s stands low – Bhutan stands at 27 (the best in South Asia), India at 79, Sri Lanka and Maldives both at 95, Pakistan at 116 (along with Mali and Tanzania at same rank),Nepal at 131,Bangladesh at 145, Afghanistan at 169( the worst in the region),whereas the least corrupt country is Denmark standing at rank 1st. the UN report has also declared Denmark as the happiest country in the world; suggesting that corruption index has a determining factor in the creation of happiness. It means people of Pakistan and rest are quite less happy, a fact which none can deny.
Pakistan now stands at a cross road as it is to take a crucial decision as what should be the political approach towards the corruption. It is likely that Nawaz may promote someone from his family as PM as Lalu Yadav did in Bihar when he brought his wife as CM of Bihar. These developments are disguised corruption. As these not only lead to the dynasty politics but also secure the corruption to continue.
In this respect the analysis of Transparency international on the role of political leaders need to be taken into account. It says that ‘people are fed up by too many politicians’ empty assurances to tackle corruption and many are turning towards populist politicians who promise to change the system and break the cycle of corruption and privilege. Yet this is likely to only exacerbate the issue. In countries with populist or autocratic leaders, we often see democracies in decline and a disturbing pattern of attempts to crack down on civil society, limit press freedom, and weaken the independence of the judiciary. Instead of tackling crony capitalism, those leaders usually install even worse forms of corrupt systems, Only where there is freedom of expression, transparency in all political processes and strong democratic institutions, can civil society and the media hold those in power to account and corruption be fought successfully.’
Pakistan has emerged its classical example where politicians have attempted to drag democratic norms in the negative direction. The untruth of Nawaz Sharif by not disclosing the realities show that politicians in developing countries believe that rule of law and judicial supremacy can be dealt with the tricks and nexus with evil elements but now leaders need to understand that non transparent and corrupt regimes cannot stay long as People have become aware about their clever activities.
In spite of this bold assertion several points weaken the fight against corruption as dynasty politics may take control and Nawaz guiding from behind; military taking control or increasing its control; suppression of civil society and truth speakers etc. any of these developments will allow the continuation of corruption, hence fight against corruption is a long drawn battle in Pakistan. As long as the value system by better education does not improve in country as a whole till then all hopes of corruption free Pakistan is a distant dream.
Dr. Vivek Kumar Srivastava is Vice Chairman, CSSP, Kanpur; e email@example.com