Afghanistan PakistanFriends of both countries are hesitant to point out these failures for reasons best understood by them alone. Corruption exists in large parts of the world and its existence in Pakistan and Afghanistan is not a unique phenomenon. It is only that the Global War on Terror has produced increasing complexity and urgency in the matter. Undoubtedly, corruption is a major problem in the Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Decades of rampant corruption have badly damaged the social fabric of the Pakistani nation. The current NRO debate is a reflection of public concern about the issue. The general public holds the country’s politicians in very low esteem. Given the history, there is a lot to be said about poor national leadership shown during the decades. Unfortunately, Pakistan has gone from bad to worse. Corruption is a norm not an exception in Pakistani and Afghani society. Corruption evades all sections of society and government bureaucracies. Massive corruption has been continuously reported in the national media. However, things have not improved on this score. It is a given that corruption cannot be eliminated from Pakistani and Afghani state agencies. There has been talk of eradicating the cancer of corruption from the public life of Pakistan. Several attempts were made in the past. The most notable of which was the National Accountability Commission established early on by the Musharraf regime. It failed miserably as the agency was politicized and compromised within a few years of its existence. Now there is talk of establishing another agency to tackle corruption in the country. In Afghanistan, endemic corruption, weak or no government at the local level, and overall bad governance is pushing the populace towards the Taliban entity. Disillusioned people have no worthwhile recourse to the state, and therefore turn to terrorism. Ideology is not the only factor breeding terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Religion is mostly used as a cloak for the protest of the poor and disgruntled elements. It is the most convenient language of protest. Although fundamentalism is prevalent in the middle income and even the richer classes, it is mostly a phenomenon of the alienated and poor segments of society. The failure of the states is fuelling resentment against the ruling governments. Democracy has not delivered the results expected from it. Granted the transformation from authoritarianism to democracy is no easy task, but still some results are badly needed to push the project forward. Here there is massive failure as the foreign public assistance, or even state expenditures on social services have been largely squandered.

Donors are obviously shy of bringing up the problem. They do not want to be seen as interfering in domestic matters of these two countries. They assume that corruption is a way of life and too deeply entrenched to be eradicated easily. These assumptions are not very incorrect. That is the tragedy of Afghanistan and Pakistan today. The people are too preoccupied with matters of survival to voice serious protest on the issue. Most importantly, the genera public has given up mostly. The fate of Pakistan and Pakistan is in the hands of a rapacious ruling elite which shows no sign of letting go off their looting behavior. Obviously, the ruling politicians are hands in glove with the bureaucracies of both countries. The situation is appalling, to say the least. The crisis caused by massive corruption is producing a serious political malaise in these two countries. Corruption is a major problem in the developing countries

Accountability, transparency and monitoring mechanisms must be strengthened

Too much money meant for otherwise good projects simply disappears

We must do more to make decision makers and administrators accountable

Corruption is demoralizing in its overall effects

Honest and committed workers are disillusioned

Much more work must be done in this area for sure

The general public has resigned itself to its fate and has given up knowing nothing can be done about the matter. Things will have to grow worse to improve later. The two states are on the verge of failure. Afghanistan is in far worse shape than Pakistan.

What next for Pakistan and Afghanistan?

Friends of Pakistan have to now enter the domestic scene in a big way. Timely action may yet give hope to the hapless masses that better days can be had. Otherwise, a serious political crisis will erupt. Eventually, the failure of the state apparatuses to provide social services to the teeming millions will galvanize the Taliban entity. There is a race against time. State failure will lead to anarchy, disruption, and more terrorism. The ruling governments in both countries are inefficient, and thoroughly corrupt. The people are suffering endlessly because of state failures. Friends of both Afghanistan and Pakistan must intervene to straighten out things now. The Pakistani and Afghan governments will not reform by themselves. At the most some fig leaf measure will be taken to placate the public anger. Emotions expressed in the Pakistani public on the NRO issue are a case in point. With immediate outside help accountability, transparency and monitoring mechanisms can and must be built and then strengthened. Enough is enough. Corruption is corroding both societies. Too much money meant for otherwise good projects simply disappears in both countries. The world must do more to make decision makers and administrators accountable in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Massive corruption has taken its toll. Too much corruption can destroy the body fabric of both nations. Most importantly, corruption is demoralizing in its overall effects. The people are disillusioned and demoralized, as never before in history. Notwithstanding the claims of both states, the situation is terrible and things are really bad. The sooner the friends of Pakistan intervene to resolve the matter, the better for both Pakistan and Afghanistan. These two states are too important strategically for the Global War on Terror to be allowed to fail. The failure of a nuclear power – Pakistan- is unimaginable.

Honest and committed workers are disillusioned

Much more work must be done in this area for sure