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Feisal Khan

Pakistan, with almost 200 million people, is depressingly corrupt. The author notes that the trauma that accompanied Partition in 1947 essentially has continued to the present, with administrative collapse and weak state institutions. After detailing the severity of the country’s corruption, the author charts its impacts on government revenues, such as taxes and the minuscule share of the budget dedicated to social and welfare programs. Remittances from Pakistanis working abroad have also contributed to the crisis. Corruption has flourished despite – or perhaps because of – tens of billions of dollars of US aid. Indeed, remittances and foreign aid act as a version of the famed “resource curse.” Efforts to control corruption are ineffective – military dictatorships turn a blind eye to the problem – including those of Pakistan’s Anti-Corruption Agency. The result is a deeply dysfunctional state plagued by social unrest, creating fertile ground for terrorist networks.