Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, a known politician, businessman and currently serving as the 18th Prime Minister of Pakistan, he was also elected as Prime Minister in 1990 to 1993 and 1997 to 1999. Sharif is the president of Pakistan’s largest political party known as Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) which has formed government in 2013 (Crilly, 2013). The case which I will discuss in this paper is related to the corruption in government sector. In this case Prime Minister Sharif is the key person who has misused his positions, authority and power throughout his political career. Sharif moved into politics in early 1980’s and in 1985 he was appointed as Chief Minister of Punjab the most populous province (Hindustantimes, 2013), his political career was just started and he realized the concept of getting rich through stealing money from national asset. History evidently says that he used different strategies to add up in his personal wealth which include kickbacks, bribe and stealing from public funds, money laundering, tax evasion and misuse of official resources and using them for personal use. All these acts has led Sharif Pakistan’s 4th richest person (Khan, 2013).
Sharif was already involved in his family business – Ittefaq Industries before entering to politics, but during his political control in Punjab in 1980 and early 1990’s Ittefaq Industries raised up from its original single manufactory into 30 businesses producing paper, sugar, steel and textiles with total $400 million of income, became one of the largest private multinational company in Pakistan (Baker, 2005, pp. 82-83). To enrich his personal wealth first thing he did upon becoming prime minister in 1990 was build a long super highway from Lahore to Islamabad city, the estimated cost of the project was 8.5 billion rupees, the project gone through 2 biddings. Daewoo a Korean company fortify its proposal in secret meetings, the job was done well but the cost of project went over 20 billion rupees. In actual the money over 8.5 billion was in the pockets of both the minister and the construction company. The same kind of scandal was done in wheat deal, Sharif purchased wheat from a private US and Canada company which were close partner of him and paid $58 million from national asset which were way more than market value. By purchasing wheat from his associate benefits Mr. Sharif and half of the money were kept by him and his partner (Baker, 2005, p. 84).
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Another major scandal in which Sharif involved was of bribery. He and his fellows were involved in taking bribery. Lt. General Naseerullah Babar, the interior minister had revealed and prove evidence that the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) distributed money to acquire the loyalty of various politicians including Nawaz Sharif to control the elections of 1990 and bring about the defeat of Pakistan Peoples’ Party (another political party). This case is still pending in Supreme Court of Pakistan for the last 24 years (Jhootay Log, 2011).
Tax evasion and unpaid bank loans were also the favorite ways for Sharif to get rich. On his loss of power the upraising political party came up with the list of 322 largest loan defaulters representing $3 Billion out of $4 Billion owned to banks. Sharif and his brother was labelled for $ 60 Million, Mr. Sharif was expanding his business and properties internationally by using public funds, 3 in British Virgin Islands by the names of Nescoll, Nielson, and Shamrock and other in Islands known as Chandron Jersey Pvt. Ltd.
How things Revealed
In 1994 Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency started looking into financial affairs of Sharif and his family, the inquiry was supervised by Rahman Malik, Director General of the agency, the inquiry took 5 years and they came up with the shocking revelations in 1998. The records, includes signed affidavits from Pakistani officials, property records and bank files and other government document stated that Mr. Sharif and his family benefited from national wealth and all above scandals were revealed at that time.
The report in the end state that “The extent and magnitude of this corruption is so staggering that it has put the very integrity of the country at stake.” (Baker, 2005, p. 84). Rahman Malik in an interview said that “No other leader of Pakistan has taken that much money from the banks. There is no rule of law in Pakistan. It doesn’t exist.” (Wwiner & LeVine, 1999)
After things were revealed General Pervaiz Musharraf (former chief of army) and other political leaders and legislators convicted Sharif and penalized to life prison, but in 2000 deported him to Saudi Arabia. His wrong actions motivated other politicians to continue on the same track of corruption with the nation as later in 2008 another corrupt politician Asif Ali Zardari (former Prime Minister) appeared and looted the nation the same way Sharif did.
The trust of people on politicians flew away as their money was misused by those with power and authorities, patriotism decreased and now people are more interested in personal growth rather than cumulative growth as nation. In addition to this mess in 2013, Sharif again become the Prime Minister of Pakistan and all the charges were cleared by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to let him take part in election , this has showed the nation that money and power speaks more than anything else. (Nasir, 2013)
The key ethical issues which were violated in the case were betraying to the citizens of the country, misusing and stealing of national assets, theft, taking and giving bribe to accomplish personal interest and unethical use of power and authorities. The Prime Minister in a democratic country is elected by its citizens as they trust them and give the responsibility to use national assets for the growth of country and value the basic understandable principle and ideology of the nation but in Sharif’s case he did many unethical act for which he was supposed to be guilty but somehow he managed to escape and pushed the values and feeling of citizens into stake. His duty and principles ruined the phenomena of ethical politics his decisions in political career were neither systematic, self-conscious, or reflective nor well-reasoned. As it is said “Ice melt from the top” his acts also let other government officials to escape through the hands of law and continue to work unethically. Laws are not made to break and in the eye of legislation everyone is equal. But in this case equality has disappeared like smoke in air.
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What’s greater than a loss of trust from citizens of a country towards it’s appointed leaders, current political condition had made a great impact on a nation’s social ethical dimensions, things that were supposed to be ethically wrong has now become a part of system, adding to this mess lack of literacy has contributed to choose a wrong political leader.
Baker, R. W. (2005). Dirty Money at Work. In Capitalism’s Achilles Heel (pp. 82-83). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Crilly, R. (2013, May 11). Pakistan elections: Nawaz Sharif eyes return to power. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/10046017/Pakistan-elections-Nawaz-Sharif-eyes-return-to-power.html
Hindustantimes. (2013, May 12). Once exiled, Nawaz Sharif makes triumphant return to Pak politics. Retrieved from http://www.hindustantimes.com/: http://www.hindustantimes.com/news-feed/pakistanpolls2013/once-exiled-nawaz-sharif-makes-triumphant-return-to-pak-politics/article1-1059015.aspx
Jhootay Log. (2011, Dec). Retrieved from http://jhootaylog.wordpress.com/: http://jhootaylog.wordpress.com/nawaz-sharifs-corruption/
Khan, E. (2013). Top 10 Pakistani Richest People. Retrieved from http://www.wonderslist.com/: http://www.wonderslist.com/top-10-pakistans-richest-people/
Nasir, J. (2013, Apr 9). NAB, FBR clear Sharif brothers on charges of tax evasion. Retrieved from http://www.aaj.tv: http://www.aaj.tv/2013/04/nab-fbr-clear-sharif-brothers-on-charges-of-tax-evasion/
Wwiner, T., & LeVine, S. (1999, October 21). Former Leader of Pakistan May Face Corruption Trial. New York Times.
[Dirty Money of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif] – June 20141
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