Out of above 70 registered political parties only 8
parties signed a pledge to root out corruption at a seminar organised by
the Pakistan chapter of transparency international in Islamabad last
week. From amongst the main parties PPP was conspicuous by its absence
President Gen. Musharraf who participated as the Chief Guest witnessed
the pledge signed.
Transparency international had invited all the
registered political parties to participate in the seminar on combating
corruption in Pakistan and to pledge that they would implement the anti
corruption package after the election.
The pledge was signed by PML-Q President Mian
Muhammad Azhar, Millat Party President Sardar Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari,
PML (N) leader and former Fiance Minister Sartaj Aziz, MQM leader,
Farooq Sattar, Sindh Democratic Alliance President Imtiaz Sheikh,
Jamat-e-Islami Deputy Secretary General Ashraf Malik, PPP (Sherpao)
Iqbal Khattak and National Awami Party Pakistan (NAPP) President Ajmal
The pledge they signed says:
"We, the political leaders of Pakistan, being
participants at the convention of political leaders recognising the
damage that is being done by corruption at all levels of our society,
and particularly to the most poor among us;"
"Acknowledging that for years, corruption has
been impacting and is continuing to impact, negatively on economic
growth, retarding economic and social development at all levels of our
"Acutely aware of the deepening poverty of many
of our people and of the utmost urgency of the task of countering
corruption both effectively and sustainable;"
And recognising that continuing international support
for our country is largely dependent on the prompt and effective
national anti-corruption strategy do hereby solemnly pledge to the
people of Pakistan:
"As political leaders, we are deeply conscious
of our duty to the people of Pakistan to combat the scourge of
corruption that is a serious problem in many countries, and regretfully
a very serious problem in our own beloved country".
"Those of us who emerge as the elected leaders
of our beloved country will as a matter of the highest urgency come
together to adopt and implement an effective anti-corruption reform
programme which will strengthen accountability and transparency based on
ensured access to information throughout all levels of federal,
provincial and local government."
"Those of us who are elected and form the
opposition will likewise play a full part in holding the government to
account and to cooperate in non-partisan ways with the adoption and
implementation of effective anti-corruption strategies."
"After the elections, and when the new
government is sworn in, we will work together in a united front to
evolve an effective system of accountability (including an independent
and effective judicial system) to eliminate an evil that is undermining
the future of our country and which is one that transcends the divides
of political parties and persuasions."
"On a personal level, each of us gives our
individual pledge that we are dedicated to serving the people of our
country with the highest levels of personal integrity."
"Aware that the corruption crisis must be
tackled openly by all, we invite every follow citizen to unite with us
in a determination to rid our country of the corruption that has so
retarded our country's economic and social progress at home and marred
our international image abroad. The politicians on the occasion
appreciated Transparency International for providing them a platform to
discuss an issue of the national importance in an effort to weed out
corruption form the society."
Speaking on the occasion Gen. Pervez Musharraf
appealed to the people of Pakistan to elect honest and dedicated
candidates in the coming election so that a country could have a clean
leadership. He lamented the fact that the people in power stole over
Rs.1.3 trillion between 1988 and 1999 making the country and its people
poorer in every respect. He made an interesting observation in this
context saying that 10 per cent people in this country are compulsively
corrupt as against 10 per cent who will never be tempted while 80 per
cent will move according to how easy or difficult it is to become
corrupt. Through effective checks and speedy and derterrent punishment
we can contain this majority of 80 per cent. To root out corruption
completely from our society is almost impossible, he observed.
The pledge made by political parties to implement an
effective anti corruption package after the election will be widely
welcomed. If the undertaking is carried out with sincerity by all,
corruption by elected representatives could hopefully be reduced
considerably in days to come. This would improve the public image of
politicians, which started getting tarnished after 1958 when Ayub Khan
raised a nursery of politicians through the BD system, put development
funds at their disposal and looked the other way as his political
supporters used these for personal benefits. By the end of the time the
Zia era ended, corruption had not only become a part of the political
culture but had permeated into practically every section of society. It
would be a falsification of history to assume that the phenomenon of
corruption erupted in the country for the first time in 1988. It would
also be a travesty of facts to assume that it is only confined to
There is an unfortunate tendency in every section of
society to blame the other for gross dishonesty while pretending it is
itself immune from the malaise. In the past whichever political party
came to power instituted cases of corruption against its opponents while
providing protection to the black sheep in its ranks.