The arrest of Balochistan’s Secretary Finance Mushtaq Raisani on massive corruption charges has focused the attention of national media and the nation over scale of corruption in Balochistan’s bureaucracy.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) recovered more than 730 million rupees from his possession. He is suspected for embezzling funds of 1.5 billion rupees in local government and Public Sector Development Program over the last two years. NAB authorities believe that what they have recovered from Mr. Raisani is just the tip of iceberg.
Corruption has been a major problem in Balochistan. Of course politicians have also been part and parcel in plundering resources. But bureaucracy has broken all record of corruption in the province. There has been no check and balance on these officials.
According to some estimate, over the course of last seven years, almost 360 Billion rupees have been embezzled. In every project bureaucracy allegedly charges nearly 60 percent commission which is divided between minister and the rest of the department. However, there are very honest officers in the top echelons of the bureaucracy of Balochistan, yet no politicians can make money if he is not hand in glove with bureaucrats. Procurements, award of contracts, and transfer postings have been serving as graft opportunities in Balochistan.
Internal accountability mechanisms of Pakistan Army should serve as model for civilian accountability institutions
Interestingly, apart from the civil bureaucracy, the Para-military bureaucracy was also found to be involved in corruption. Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif was quick to sack a sitting General and other 6 officers on charges of corruption who were working in FC Balochistan. The example set by COAS showed that Pakistan Army is very much serious in checking corruption at all institutions and auxiliary agencies including Para-military forces. Internal accountability mechanisms of Pakistan Army should serve as model for civilian accountability institutions.
The NAB and other provincial accountability institutions need to ensure that accountability has to be across the board. Reportedly, NAB has inquires pending on around 150 complaints of corruption and NAB should act upon them quickly.
There have also been complaints of corruption within the NAB as well so it has to bring its house in order.
As Nietzsche once said, “While destroying the monster, the destroyer became the monster itself “. Hence we need to be mindful of the integrity of the watchdog, the NAB.
The provincial government of Sanaullah Zehri has asked its ministers that they will not be backed if found in corruption and the NAB and other authorities will be facilitated to curb the menace of corruption. Anti corruption measures of governemnt has attracted the attention of recent PILDAT survey. According to PILDAT, Balochistan government’s anti-corruption measures were on the scale of 75 points highest score compared to other provinces including KP. Definitely, credit goes to Chief Minister Balochistan Nawab Sanaullah Zehri.
One measure the provincial government introduced is a system of committees in some departments where the NAB officers are also members. For example, Minister of Health Rehmat Baloch is the first minister to form such committee for procurement and the NAB senior officers are also member of these committees. Now the need is to roll over this mechanism to all departments of Balochistan.
Corruption is like termites weakening the pillars of state and society particularly in the province of Balochistan. The NAB and other institutions with the help of Balochistan government need to cleanse all departments of corruption so precious resources are available to the poor people of the province.
Writer is a women rights activist and tweets with @Javariatareen
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