By Muhammad Saqlain Arshad
January 29, 2019
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a
strategically-located country with a valuable natural resource. Its natural
resources include an extensive natural gas supply, some oil, hydro-power
potential, coal, iron ore, copper, salt, and limestone. Despite having such a
phenomenal amount of natural resources, Pakistan with a population of over 207
million (the world’s 5th-largest), has a nominal GDP per capita of $1,641 in
2018, which ranks 147thin the world.
Corruption can be classified in two major
areas of social life. One is in the public domain, that is making money by
siphoning off public funds or taking bribe for performing an illegitimate
public function The second sort of corruption is in private affairs, where a
person while dealing with individuals doesn’t do justice in his private
affairs. The article shall, however, only focus on corruption in public affairs
which affects the society at large.
State collects taxes for meeting its
obligations towards people to ensure that people are provided with fundamental
rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973.Providing protection to
people, provision of free education, better health facilities and provision of
food are amongst the rights of people, which a state should endeavor to make available.
Corruption in public affairs is a theft of the treasury, state or of money
collectively owned by people (who are the beneficiary of state welfare programs
in the field of education, health, employment etc).
Corruption distorts economic
decision-making, deters investment, undermines competitiveness and, ultimately,
weakens economic growth of a country. Additionally, when a corrupt public
functionary plunders the public funds, amounts so stolen shall result in
lessening state’s power to provide basic amenities and protection to its citizens.
With regards to the Islamic perspective on
corruption, the Muslims account for about one-fifth of the world’s population,
and form a majority of the population in over 50 countries. All Muslims are
bound by a common faith – Islam and are largely influenced by their faith in
their deeds. Stronger the faith one has in Islamic teaching, lesser the
possibility of his being deluded.
The Sunnah of Prophet (PBUH) also censures
both the givers and the receivers of bribery. To illustrate, Sunan Abi Dawud:
Book 24, Number 3573: Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-As:
“The Apostle of
Allah (peace be upon him) cursed the one who offers bribe as well as one who
The second caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab (may
Allah be pleased with him) used to record the possessions of his officials at
the time of their appointment and confiscated partly or wholly whatsoever they
added while in office on suspicion of benefiting from public appointment. Umar
ibn al-Khattab instructed one of his commanders to adjust the value of gifts
offered to him – that he had dispatched to the central treasury – against the
tax liability of the people, because taking anything more than the stipulated
jizya (poll tax) was unjust.
As far as human nature is concerned, Islam
does not admit the doctrine of Original Sin. According to it, all human beings
are created in the best mould (Qur’an 30:30; 75:2; 95:4) i.e., inclined to
truth, modesty, and compassion, and fearful of ultimate accountability on the
Day of Judgment (22:35; 42:18; 70:27). Over time, however, a person is led away
from this cast owing to conditioning by parents and society, i.e., from social
interaction. This results in divisions in faith, racism, egoism, jealousy,
miserliness, and deceit. In brief, a state of mind fixated with realizing self
– or group – interest interpreted within the limited context of the here and
now, and at the neglect of or without being cognizant of the full repercussions
of one’s actions that unfold over a much broader horizon of time and space.
This is the sense in which man, who is by nature inclined to truth when brought
up and immersed in a situational or social context, becomes weak in rising
above these constraints and discerning absolute truth and justice. It is
mentioned in the Quran that
to lighten your burden, for the human being was created weak” Al-Quran (4:28)
To conclude, corruption is a problem that
needs to be dealt with an iron hand by the state. Better education for masses,
strict laws and efficient administration can make a difference. In Pakistan,
NAB Ordinance, 1999 provides for a maximum 14 years of imprisonment and penalty
to the amount of bribe received by the corrupt. Surprisingly in Singapore, a
country which is among top of least corrupt states, the accountability law, has
only 7 years imprisonment for a corrupt convict.
NAB being at the forefront of
accountability of public functionaries, has a crucial role to play in keeping
the country clean, and to prevent and control corruption. Strict laws,
enforcement without fear or favor, tough punishment from the Courts and
effective government administration are pivotal to achieve this goal. The
anti-corruption measures must be applied consistently across the board,
regardless of whether it is petty corruption or high-level corruption.
Recently, the government has passed Whistle blowers’ Act to identify the
culprits which will again be an exercise in futility, if the corrupt are not
finally taken to task. Whatever the state of affairs may be, we all have a
common duty to join hands with the government to fight the disease of