Zardari Seeks to Streamline Corruption, Help People of Pakistan

Posted on December 8, 2009

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President Zardari is all smiles after he is informed of the current balance in his bank account.

EP: Islamabad –  In an effort to expedite the release of donor funds from the Kerry-Lugar bill allocated for social and economic development in Pakistan, President Zardari has proposed a new process for delivering aid to the government. “It is no secret that much of the foreign aid delivered to Pakistan is lost in a maze of corruption and deceit” said Zardari in a meeting with reporters at his office in Islamabad. “Today I am proposing a new system that will reduce corruption and ensure a greater share of funds for the people of Pakistan.”

The President explained that most of the wasted funds are caught up in a complex series of transactions required to allocate a portion of the funds from the government bank accounts to his own personal Swiss account. Zardari’s proposal establishes a plan to eliminate these wasted funds by structuring all aid disbursements so that 25% of payments are directly deposited into his personal Swiss account while the remaining 75% is sent to local government agencies and organizations working on the ground for the people.

“Lets face it, we all know I am going to steal money one way or another. That’s really what I do. This way the process of stealing becomes more efficient and streamlined. What happens now is that I have to pretend that all the money will go to the people. This creates a situation where I then must bribe various lower level officials to ensure that the necessary funds reach my personal account. By cutting out the middle men, I believe I will save the Pakistani people millions of dollars in lost bribes.”

Zardari produced a Power Point presentation that compares the existing corruption process with his new streamlined approach. Zardari argued that in a typical $100 million power plant deal, normally the people would only get around $50 million towards the actual power plant. Under the Zardari plan, the people could expect up to 75% of the funds, or almost $75 million while the President pockets the balance. “That is a great deal for the people of Pakistan and I am going to dedicate my administration to make sure that it happens.”

In this screen capture of his Power Point presentation to reporters, Zardari explains how his streamlined corruption program will save money for the people of Pakistan (click for larger image)

Zardari has not yet received a response from USAID officials regarding his proposal, but is confident it will be positive. “We are aware of the proposal and it is currently under consideration” responded Robert Van Bueller, Deputy Director for South Asian Affairs at the State Department, “as usual we need to vet any policy changes against the United States’ strategic objectives  in the region. Having said that, we are always open to creative ideas that will help the people of Pakistan.”

Reactions from other parts of the region are starting to come in. Shortly after making the plan public, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan responded to the proposal by issuing a statement applauding President Zardari for his creativity and leadership. “This plan, if accepted, will help usher in a new age of prosperity for Pakistan, and we in Afghanistan will look very closely at how we can adopt a similar approach.”

While Zardari is hopeful for a positive result, others from within his administration are expressing concerns about the new program. “I made a deal with that bastard, and now he is backing out” responded Husain Haqqani, Pakistani ambassador to the US. Haqqani, who is known to regularly adjust his political affiliation, said he was not consulted on the policy change and questioned whether it was in the best interests of Pakistan. Sources inside his office indicated that the ambassador has already made several calls to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

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