[dropcap]T[/dropcap]wo neighbouring countries of the South Asia have fought three wars since they gained independence in 1947 and remain deeply skeptical of each other. India and Pakistan shares hate, disregard and doubt each other’s credibility. While these two countries face various problems on border, their internal peace is also at stake. Corruption on various levels is the biggest problem faced by both the countries. To fight corruption in India, the Indian anti-corruption movement, commenced in 2011, a series of demonstrations and protests were held across India intended to establish strong legislation and enforcement against perceived endemic political corruption. Anna Hazare, a crusader against exploitation in India led the movement here; in the same manner, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Siraj ul Haq announced ‘Naya Pakistan’ movement there. Haq also is dreaming to end corruption in which his former President Asif Ali Zardari and incumbent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are accused. You can imagine how corrupt nation Pakistan is where its top ranked politicians are involved.
Pakistan’s existence was threatened due to corrupt leaders; JI was in demand of an independent investigation commission to be formed to hold a probe into the Panama Leaks issue. Haq warned Pakistani government of consequences by calling people for protests like Anna Hazare. The Jamaat is famous for demanding protection and security for women and minorities in Pakistan. The organisation stood by minority’s rights and assured that justice should be done to them. Haq wanted to awake Pakistani citizens against corruption and corrupt people. Corruption in Pakistan is widespread, particularly in the government and lower levels of police forces. In 2014, Pakistan scored 126 out of 174 on the Corruption Perceptions Index published by the Transparency International, improving slightly from its previous score of 127 out of 175 in 2013. Pakistan saw a significant improvement in its statistics in 2013 when its ranking improved by 12 indices compared to its previous rankings.
Corruption has beleaguered Pakistan from the very moment it came into existence. It was the unremorseful display of plutocracy amongst its powerful bureaucracy and the West Pakistani Punjabi Muslim landowners that partly led to the secession of East Pakistan into the nation-state of Bangladesh. Later, nationalization policies prepared under the government of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto paved the way for the corrupt elites to politicise the nation’s economic planning resulting in a public outcry against corruption. This led the military dictator Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq to draft policies regarding denationalisation of institutions which only ended up benefiting a few rich business magnates such as the future prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, who was also a protégé of the military dictator. In recent times, Pakistan government is criticised as the most corrupt in the nation’s history. Since then, there is a growing need to reform accountability and anti-corruption policies at higher levels within the state government.
Siraj-ul-Haq’s Naya Pakistan movement began in this situation and their sole purpose was to fight corruption on various levels. Haq gained immense popularity when Imran Khan and Muhammad Tahirul Qadri announced the Long March against PM Nawaz Sharif. He acted as a neutral figure. He convinced the Government and Imran Khan for negotiations and due to his efforts the government became stable. He said that the Jamaat-e-Islami will not let democracy derail. Keeping all the political differences aside, he fought for the sustenance of Democracy. For his utmost efforts, he later received an award, “Baba-e-Jamhooriyat”, from the Government of Pakistan.
The only difference between Haq and Hazare is that, Haq is a politician and fighting the system within it whereas Anna Hazare is a social activist and a non-political figure, who attacks the system from outside. Both India and Pakistan are internally suffering with this epidemic called bribery.
To support these whistle-blowers, youth on social media played a pivotal role and make their voices reach the global platform. Citizen journalism is emerging as a growing phenomenon and social media is being touted in India and Pakistan as an important tool that can be used to strengthen democracy. Adding to the mix, several prominent politicians have moved to the likes of Twitter to gather support and get prospective voters on board and analysts think that this can lead to a better and direct accountability of political leaders. Social media has also proved effective in identifying corruption in mainstream media, particularly in the case of the media gate scandals in Pakistan and India.
India and Pakistan might have severe differences on various levels, but internally both are suffering from same issues. Both the countries are sailing through all odds, but there are watchdogs to clutch the ruling government when they cross the limits.
Unfortunately, these whistle blowers came to limelight by giving hopes to people but soon landed in controversy. Haq recently shared a stage with Lashkar-e-Taiba Chief Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Sayeed Salahuddeen which is not appreciated by many. Same has happened in the case of Anna Hazare, he landed in controversy for being with politicians carrying their political agenda. People, who regarded him as a non-political person, felt betrayed and with the time his popularity also faded.
Let it be any country, we need leaders to deter respective governments and keep people alert against corruption and their rights. However these leaders need to know their responsibilities are bigger than their choices.
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