Corrupto-cracy | Pakistan Today


  • One example of how the bureaucracy  is blocking Imran Khan

It is assumed that waking up, raising questions and a voice for rights is the first step towards solving the problems of the public. Leaders in different societies lead various movements, raise loud slogans to wake up the people. To do so, long marches are arranged, sit-ins are organized, imprisonment is faced, manifestos are framed, alternative plans are formed and preparations are made to overcome the challenges. After all this, the system is purified. Imran Khan’s 22-year struggle against corruption and the status quo is indeed exceptional, but he seems to lack the apparatus to face the challenges and planning to introduce the alternative setup. The ups and downs in the batting order during the initial over of the government’s innings show his weariness and the claim of having honest leadership to solve the problems also seems hollow in the current situation. This is because, in a system where corruption lurks in the roots, the firm honesty of the leader does not make any difference. Such a system needs an authentic surgeon who could take risks and bold steps to change the worn-out skin.

Bureaucracy is the biggest hurdle in the way of Mr. Khan’s dreams. To my crude understanding, it would be suitable to use Corrupto-Cracy for this bureaucracy whose trademark is corruption. I will try to show you the trailer of the very long stories of the corruption marked by this corrupto-cracy which is flourishing under the democratic setup. This is the story of Parks and Horticulture Authority. If Mr Khan is unable to do anything despite knowing all, it is evident that either he does not possess any alternative or lacks the courage to stand against this system. He should learn lessons from the steps taken by the great leaders of the world to eradicate these malicious elements from the system. When Mao Zedong assumed the charge of China, someone asked him about his strategy to change the face of China. He replied:

‘We would have slept for centuries. We snatched the right to vote and question from the ignorant. We woke them and taught them to dream and laid the foundation of our alternative system– uniform accountability’

Amidst the accountability of the former premiers and political foes, Mr. Khan should look at the departmental corruption under his leadership. The news of bureaucracy troubling the affairs of the government are in abundance now. It is indeed a great problem which needs to be understood properly. Just for the sake of this understanding, I am reporting about one department.

Let him have his desire of changing the system but he should at least understand the fact that merely changing faces will not have any effect, the system and the laws should be changed

Under the administration of the provincial ministry of Housing, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering, PHA has been serving the nation since 1998. PHA’s job is to look after the parks and the city and collect the charges for signboards and hoardings. To their good fortune, the corrupto-crats of PHA are working under Mian Mehmood ur Rasheed who is very benign. No matter who is heading them, the corrupto-crats master the art of fooling their ministers. Although there are countless stories of corruption, one is narrated here just as a trailer. What is the total number of shops in Lahore where the advertisement boards are displayed? Indeed it is very difficult to count them. It is equally difficult to make an estimate of the amount received from these shops in lieu of the taxes and fines for these hoardings.

What is the formula to estimate the standard size of the board and the advertisement of the brand? And is this collected amount deposited in PHA’s account or a commercial account?

Almost Rs 110 million have been collected from only 565 shops in entire Lahore during the past 6 months. This amount is not even 10 percent of the tax collected from the myriad shops all over the city. What happened to the other thousands of shops and brands? Where is this enormous amount siphoned off? Were the other shops let off the hook or given amnesty from tax? Absolutely not. This is, in fact, the actual mode of criminal activity. The inspectors and directors are both involved in looting. Where one has to receive the legal amount of Rs 100,000, an illegal amount of Rs 25,000 is obtained for settlement and the matter is left unrecorded because there is no accountability. Moreover, to avoid getting caught, even the audit is tampered to adjust the amount. This is the result of serving collectively vested interests. The untiring efforts of the team are such that no honest director lasts for long in his position. For many years, only a few names get transferred to and fro in this department. What makes matters worse is the clause pertaining to the provision or non-provision of amnesty for tax-payers, which is an even greater fraud. The legal clause is given below:

Shop Sign Fee : The fee of Shop signs with and brand will be levied and collected by the authority as prescribed from time to time to individual shopkeepers who have non branded one shop sign of “reasonable size” found at their shops will be exempted from the payment of advertisement fee.

Now to describe how corruption is actually occurring. The reasonable size of the advertising board or shop sign is the actual concern which cannot be settled. This is the main issue based on which numerous shops are given relief and settlements are made after getting a certain fee. Gardeners set off as inspectors to acquire illegal cash in the form of taxes and then deliver it to their ‘lord’. This is the system Mr. Khan has set out to rectify. Let him have his desire of changing the system but he should at least understand the fact that merely changing faces will not have any effect, the system and the laws should be changed. Just imagine how a minister whose duration is of five years would compete with such a system? This was just a trailer of corrupto-cracy; the next column will hold evidential documents so that the government formed on the foundation stone of change would realize what actually needs to be changed.