Are we doomed? Ayn Rand, a Russian-American philosopher, has prescribed four easy to use and apply tests:
Test 1: Do you see rupees flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favours?
Test 2: Do you see Pakistanis getting richer by graft rather than hard work?
Test 3: Do you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice?
Test 4: Do you see Pakistani laws protecting the looters not the looted?
Are rupees flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favours? Consider Rental Power Projects (RPPs), for instance. The Ministry of Water and Power, Government of Pakistan, mysteriously jacks up the down-payment amount from 7 percent to 14 percent for a total of 9 RPPs. The Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan, doles out Rs8.7 billion to Bhikki RPP. The Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan, doles out Rs13.9 billion to Sharaqpur RPP. Imagine; Pakistan Power Resources is paid $14.58 million but the plant has not produced a single watt of electricity. Public money, private greed.
Are Pakistanis getting richer by graft rather than hard work? Imagine; an enemy of our minister of commerce deposited a wholesome Rs40 million into the minister’s bank account without the minister’s knowledge – with enemies like these who needs friends. Embezzlement at OGRA has reportedly caused an extra load of Rs36.50 billion on consumers. The Supreme Court has directed the FIA to recover the looted amount of Rs420 million in the National Insurance Company corruption case. Pakistan Steel, on average, has been losing Rs25 billion a year. Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, during a suo motto hearing, gave the following breakdown: Rs9.99 billion due to corrupt practices, Rs4.68 billion as business loss and Rs11.48 billion due to mismanagement.
Is corruption being rewarded? On March 31, 2008, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was made the Federal Minister for Water and Power. On March 31, 2012, the Supreme Court of Pakistan declared all RPPs illegal. In April 2012, NAB wrote a letter to the Ministry of Interior to place Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s name on the Exit Control List. On June 22, 2012, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was made the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Are Pakistani laws protecting the looters not the looted? Imagine; the single largest pool of capital in the Budget is the Rs873 billion Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP).
Now imagine that a PML-Q MPA was promised Rs. 650 million out of the PSDP to vote for a PPP candidate for the Senate of the Islamic Republic. More recently, a group of PPP MNAs requested the President of Pakistan to give them each Rs100 million for the upcoming election.
For the record, the rent-a-crowd contractors are now charging Rs1,500 a head, Rs15 million for a crowd of 10,000. Ayn Rand called them “looter-by-law”.
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: email@example.com