The revelation by a former Minister for Finance, Shaukat Tarin, a few months ago that annual corruption in the FBR is between Rs500 billion to Rs 700 billion had shown the rot that has set in deep and wide in our system. It made one understand why we are facing such a dire economic crisis. The most notable of all was the fact that Shaukat Tarin made this statement while still in office. The pricey assets of senior officers of the FBR, Finance Division and those from the security services are a proof of their involvement in the scandal of weapons distributed through the ISAF containers. And it was all obviously done with the connivance of senior customs officials. Nothing has been done about the 11,000 containers which were cleared on fake documents as 'ISAF shipments but actually disappeared in transit in the route between the KPT and Afghanistan. These private trucks had licenses from the National Logistics Cell, which was must have been involved in this heinous crime. The weapons and liquor that was smuggled in this way caused not just enormous revenue losses to the exchequer but the weapons must have also death of innocents somewhere. Weapon dealers and bootleggers ended up making a killing while may be thousands got killed somewhere. The Custom hierarchy has as yet not taken action appropriate to the extent of crime committed. But, then, there cannot possibly be just two custom officers involved in this? And, then, what about the top bosses of security, police and local/district administration? It couldnt possibly have happened with out their involvement up to the highest level? The greed of a clutch of corrupt bureaucrats at the top has contributed more than any other factor in our economic collapse. These merchants of death enjoy political patronage, which helps them evade accountability. -RAHAT SIDDIQI, Karachi, September 21.