We discuss with Farooq Suleria a Scholar teaching at SOAS his research on corruption. The discussion focusses on how to define and study corruption. Should we really be worried about mere bribe-taking or should the use of money to win government favors and shape government policy also be included? Is the business of ranking and measuring corruption biased to making poor countries appear more corrupt than they are? Is it mere lack of institutions and poor governance that is being measured as corruption? Legalized corruption si seldom discussed. Is that why the west appears less corrupt since rentsseking has been legislated? Various types of corruption are discussed. This is a topic that affects Pakistan deeply. We urge researchers to listen to this discussion and develop further research in this area.
3 decades ago, Ghari Baqir returned with a PhD from
Harvard. Keen to use his newfound skills to contribute to policy and thought he
started teaching at university as it allowed him time to research, write books
and perhaps at some stage advise the government. He had ideas and was willing to
work hard. Soon he realized that professors were at the bottom of
the barrel. In a society where power and wealth is everything, he had neither.
His counterparts in the bureaucracy had nuisance value, generous perks and
plots whereas all he had was a measly salary, no power, no perks. His tiny
filthy office did not even have a phone in that era before cellphones. Luckily, donors offered paid consulting opportunities. Eventually
he made enough money to buy his own house. In the process sadly dreams of
independent research, those bright ideas, those books he wanted to write got
buried. Donor consulting was working on others’ agenda. He wrote long, lengthy
and often meaningless reports on poorly though…
In fact, do we even need a cabinet? Or, an assembly? Note that I am not saying, if we need a government. Coming back to these “political folk”! All they seem to be investing their nights and days in, is their own survival. Not in the survival of Pakistan. That be damned! Interesting how pressing matters and decisions go on a back burner. One day we need to have decisions yesterday and the next day we can wait for days. Politicians, well almost all of them, seem to be engaged in ‘Sisyphusian’ battle of daily toil—or even worst, actually believing that their toils are genuine and that this is the last roll up the hill! I think Anatol Lieven needs to supersede “Pakistan: a hard country” with “Pakistan: a baffling country”. It runs on its own. A country that is running on prayers of a few, and sacrifices of the dead. It is, definitely, not running due to this bunch of thugs—sorry, politicians! “Sadiq” and “Amin”! Come on who coined this? We, if we are an Islamic thought, are supposed to b…