Balochistan Communications Minister Ali Madad Jattak has said that there must be some sort of corruption in Balochistan since it is a backward province. Talking to the press in Quetta, he also said that corruption in Balochistan was less than in other provinces. Unfortunately for Mr Jattak, his facts seem as skewed as his view, the Punjab has been found in an international survey to be the least corrupt of the provinces. Mr Jattak’s claim partially explains what plagues Balochistan with troubles that the Supreme Court itself has been obliged to take notice. The court directed the IGP Balochistan to ensure the production of three missing persons and that the IG FC also, else the Corps Commander Quetta would be directed to do what was necessary.

Mr Jattak should note that, if corruption is shown the least tolerance, the standard of judging an official will not be performance, but his ability to generate illegal gains. It is to be assumed that Mr Jattak’s statement is to be taken neither as an accusation against colleagues nor a confessional statement, because an accusation that Ministers were involved in kidnappings for ransom came to nothing. Neither any Minister has been charged or even sacked, nor an apology from the maker of the charge. Be that as it may, Mr Jattak’s statement would be reprehensible for a private citizen, least of all a Minister. It indicates a moral vision that points to all that is wrong with politics; all politics, not just that of the province, or even of democracy. This is the attitude that views an official decision as an asset to be sold, not a sacred trust accorded by either the voters or the selection body. It views the purpose of those in government, whether elected or permanent officials, as exploiting the citizen. The country as a whole has experienced the ill-effects of corruption. It is also difficult to credit the backwardness argument. It seems that this would justify corruption at the federal level, for Pakistan is itself a poor and underdeveloped country, whose corrupt elements would be only too ready to adopt the backwardness argument.

The Supreme Court has already taken up the cudgels against corruption, as well as against the missing persons of Balochistan, but it seems that it might have to turn a close gaze upon corruption in the province, for the statement by a Minister who is also the government’s designated spokesman, indicates that much of what is happening in the province is because the government is allowing too much to happen. The admission that cabinet members were involved in kidnappings for ransom should have been investigated.