Menace of corruption in bureaucrats

Most corruption cases against bureaucrats are usually forgotten with time. During enquiries, bureaucrats band together to support one another against any accusations levelled at them, reminiscent of the ways of Mafias. They defy any attempts at bringing them to justice, and their behaviour reminds one of the British lords of old, whose legacy still lives on in our bureaucracy.

Even today, new civil service recruits are taught to rule over people, and not to serve for their interests. They are taught to undermine the common citizen, and this view is reaffirmed by their extravagant lifestyles. Many belong to already influential families, and others accumulate a lot of wealth while in the system. Properties are signed over to different family members, businesses are started under various names, and dummy corporations are set up in order to use their positions of power for monetary gain. Corruption and bribes are rife, with many departments refusing to do any work till they are able to ‘wet their beaks’ a little first.

The land-grab mafia has the most to gain from this corrupt system of governance. Many of these mafias are being supported by high level bureaucrats, who use their power to defy even the courts if needed. Many people have lost their rightful properties to these nefarious groups, and yet nobody has been brought to justice.

The land-grab mafia has the most to gain from this corrupt system of governance. Many of these mafias are being supported by high level bureaucrats, who use their power to defy even the courts if needed. Many people have lost their rightful properties, to these nefarious groups, and yet nobody has been brought to justice

Today, even approaching a bureaucrat is hard work, as many will have ‘gate-keepers’ that will demand bribes or ‘gifts’ in order to meet the official in question. The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has long been accused of keeping people waiting for days and even months before completing the simplest of tasks, while bribes can obviously always speed things up. The same is true about the price control department, which will only check the prices of a certain store or mount raids on others that made the supreme mistake of not paying off an official in power. Many more examples can be found if you talk to the general populace, who has to deal with this kind of unethical behaviour on a daily basis.

The police are perhaps the most untrustworthy department of all, with a deplorable reputation amongst the masses. Poor or disenfranchised communities can only dream of getting justice as officials almost always side with the party that agrees to pay them handsomely. Many times victims of crimes, find themselves being questioned or coerced into dropping their case, or changing their stories.

The health department has not been a great success either. Large funds are directed towards this department, yet there is not much to show for it, and, in most cases, the doctors are powerless to say anything because their own jobs and future progress is in the hands of the same officials that are accused of misappropriating funds.

While Imran Khan has vowed to bring about a ‘Naya Pakistan’, the situation is quite a lot worse than he ever imagined and the country needs a new system of checks and balances before this issue can be resolved.

The writer is a practising lawyer and freelance contributor

Published in Daily Times, September 12th 2018.

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