Friday, February 25, 2011

Why can't judiciary convict corrupt politicians?

Not a day passes when the media doesn’t unearth a big financial scam involving politicians, bureaucrats or army generals. The scam help the media feed itself for couple of days. Hawkish statements get prominent positions in newspaper and headlines. After that a silent prevails on the issue and the media finds something else.
It’s very rare to see a politician being convicted over corruption charges in India and Pakistan. Let’s narrow down the discussion to Pakistan. The country has a very big anti-corruption department, supported by the national accountability bureau, and assisted by numerous investigating agencies, but both the large orgaisations are not result-oriented.
Corrupt people are too cunning to be caught. Cunningness alone can’t save a politician, government official or general from the accountability. They have contacts with the people in the power and with the ‘holy’ people in the judiciary.
The first-ever statement given by a person embroiled in a corruption scandal is that he trusts the courts and judges. Moonis Elahi did the same soon after returning Pakistan from abroad. Hosting a reception in his honour, he said he trusts the courts. Shahzain Bugti did the same. Nawaz Sharif says the same although with a bit of flattery in its tone.
Politics in Pakistan and India is life long occupation. One term in opposition and the other in power is a routine. Judges and investigating officers have a fixed tenure in their office which ultimately depends on the whim of the politicians. A non-graduate politician who sits in the assembly is too powerful to ruin the career of a bright bureaucrat, an investigating officer and a judge as well. There are too many strings attached with any government sector job to make the post a mere puppet. All the strong, honest, hardworking officers are being manipulated with the strings, majority of which are controlled by the politicians.
This fact alone is sufficient to scare the investigation agencies from collecting concrete evidence against the corrupt people. An operative from the Federal Investigation Agency, which is headed by Interior Minister Rehman Malik, can’t dare to do anything against Ghulam Qadir Gillani, whose father (PM Gillani) is the boss of Rehman Malik.
Nothing happened to Shahzain Bugti for “possessing a huge cache of illegal arms”, all the people convicted by NAB are still in power, Moonis is likely to go scotfree and all the PML-N’s vows to bring the former Punjab government to accountability vanished in air.

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