A Year of Turbulence in Pakistan
Daily Times, December 27, 2009
Pakistan needs institutional balance where different state institutions respect each other’s autonomy and avoid unnecessary encroachment in each other’s domain while recognising their inter-dependence
Pakistan’s troubled march on the road to democracy has survived another year. It is difficult to suggest at this stage if it will manage better in 2010. Too many things have happened too quickly in 2009. Some people have developed an aura of self-righteousness and a strong desire to apply puritanical justice on high visibility political personalities. Such a selective approach is always popular with the common people but it does not necessarily end corruption in a society where corruption manifests itself in so many forms and is deep-rooted.
In the past we experienced several efforts to cope with corrupt political leaders and other civilians. In 1949, the PRODA was enacted to take firm action against corrupt political leaders. Ayub Khan’s military government disqualified several hundred political leaders from public life for six years (1960-66) under a new law, the EBDO. Several hundred civil servants were removed from their jobs for corruption and other charges by the military governments of Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan and the civilian government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
These actions were very popular with the common people at that time because the ordinary people entertained the mistaken notion of punishing a few high profile people to deter others. These strategies did not produce the desired results and corruption and misuse of state resources continued to manifest themselves in different ways.
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