Government corruption has long been a major government, economic and military problem in South Asia (mainly India and Pakistan). Until the last decade details were rarely available, mainly because corrupt officials were quick to punish (often fatally and secretly) anyone who revealed details. It’s still dangerous to expose precise data on corruption but in the last decade the public anger has become so manifest that more and more journalists are getting detailed data and putting it out. Sometimes this is done anonymously via the Internet, but now major news outlets are running with this explosive stuff.
For example, a Pakistani reporter recently got hold of financial records for a counter-terrorism account in the Pakistani Interior Ministry. All the money was coming from U.S. foreign aid, earmarked for counter-terrorism activities. The U.S. has already been criticizing the inefficient way the Pakistani government was spending this money and had withheld hundreds of millions in promised aid until the Pakistanis could convince the U.S. that the money would be spent on what it was meant for and not stolen. The Pakistani reporter’s findings showed how millions were stolen for gifts and entertainment for officials. The records, which were never supposed to go public, detailed who got what and what for. Thus money spent to buy wedding presents of some officials’ nephew or niece were listed as such. This was apparently to assure all the thieving officials that everyone was taking their fair share and not “stealing” the stolen money. Honor among thieves, in this case, proved to be alive and well.