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      August 21, 2013


Epidemic of Corruption

Corruption is a form of an incurable disease, it causes much social and developmental uncertainty and it damages the moral and ethical fibres of the society. There is no doubt that corruption breeds many insecurities in the society & once corruption starts to take place, slowly and gradually, the whole region passes through its net and eventually, over time, it becomes like a terminal disease.

From a development point of view, there seems to be a clear correlation between corruption and impact it has on the advancement of a region. There are some examples of projects where the government has allocated billions of rupees to built bridges, roads, schools etc. so the quality of life improves through better access to these fundamental needs. Unfortunately, some of the contractors make use of cheap materials to absorb more profits and inadvertently, some politicians are also benefiting from this process. This causes unfortunate consequences and damage in some cases, years later, these newly constructed roads and/or buildings collapse leading to loss of infrastructure and the potential for loss of life. Since there is no accountability, no one has ever been prosecuted for wrong doings nor have there been any investigations to determine the reasons for the structural collapse. Perpetrators therefore know that there wonít be any consequences and they can get away with this corruption.

In some cases, NGOís present in the area, are losing their focus due corrupt practices. Mismanagement of funds jeopardizes not only the extent of programming available but also creates inequality. An example of this was evident in the article shared by Mr. Islamuddin where corruption was existent within the framework of NGOís, at the executive board level, which is very discouraging. Despite the petitions that people submitted, nothing happened contrary to the efforts of by many. This issue has also been raised a number of times by Mr. Islamuddin requesting government officials and NGOís in the region to bring about fairness and justice. I would like to praise and congratulate Mr. Islamuddin for his continuous and ongoing efforts and hope that more would take on an advertorial role towards eliminating corruption. There is no question that corruption is destroying the whole region morally, ethically and economically. Because itís being practiced regularly some are starting to perceive it as common practice and are more inclined to accept it without speaking up. Whistle blower incentives may need to be introduced to help control the problem.

Donít get me wrong, the presence of NGOís are key for the development in the region. Generally, the rate of the growth and development in any given region is reflective of the quality of institutions including government, NGOís, private sector and of the people themselves. If the institutions work well, progress is possible however, if institutions are incapable of proper management, corruption may lead to economic instability and stalls development.

The Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) is an outstanding example of the widespread effect organizations can have with good management. We canít deny the extraordinary contributions of AKRSP as they have done an excellent job in providing common citizens with tools and resources towards self reliance in a very fair and just manner. I hope that AKRSP will take a leading role in the coordination of NGOís to ensure the effectiveness and transparency of services being offered in the region.

The current PTI government in the region will also need to take measures to clean up the situation and come up with clear policies and strategies on the tendering process and in turn, hold people accountable of their wrong doings despite their affiliation. Many hardliners who benefit from corrupt practices may not be in favour of enforcing strict regulation but without a deterrent, the development of the region simply wonít happen and money will continue to be monopolized by a select few.

In brief, strong institutions (free of bribery, nepotism and favoritism) who encompass the values of equality and impartiality along with a solid judicial system are key factors for positive growth in Chitral.

Mir Hassamuddin
Milton Ontario Canada



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