President Musharraf has floated tough job of anti-corruption agenda to fight against corruption in all sectors



Dec 06 - 12, 2004





Speakers at the three-day International Conference on combating corruption in South Asia were almost of poor unanimous opinion that governance and resultant corruption in the public and private sectors have been the main retarding factor in achieving the social objectives of improving the quality of life, economic prosperity and ensuring human dignity for people living in South Asia specially in Pakistan.

The conference was organized by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). It was inaugurated by Punjab Governor Lt. Gen (Retd) Khalid Maqbool and was addressed by a number of speakers of national and international repute besides Federal Law Minister. Mr. Wasi Zafar.

Governor Punjab Lt. Gen (Retd) Khalid Maqbool in his inaugural speech said that corruption creates inequality, injustice in society and hinders the development process. Corruption is not the issue of Pakistan, Asia and South Asia but has become a global issue that is corroding the foundations of both public as well as private institutions, he added.

He said that President Musharraf has floated tough job of anti-corruption agenda to fight against corruption in all sectors and segments of society by feeling its severity. He said that the President had set up monitoring system in every department to keep the eyes on corruption and work. He maintained that the country had got reasonable space in world owing to the prudent and foresightedness policies of the President. He said PTCL had become corruption-free institution during this regime.

He said NAB was an autonomous body and was doing well for hurting and lowering corruption by arresting big criminals and unscrupulous elements in the country. The governor said that history proves that those nations who eradicate this menace from its roots had got good status in the world. The higher rate of corruption could crumble the foundations of a nation as well as a country. Political will, social ethics and good governance can stop this bad practice because it critically hit the good governance, moral values and social elements in the society. He said that the government cannot provide good services to the masses in the presence of dishonesty.

Chairman NAB Lt Gen. Munir Hafeez said that the main purpose of this conference was to develop regional consideration on this alarming issue. He said that the nations of South Asia were facing the problems of management loopholes, poor governance, vanishing of development funds, weak judiciary system, backwardness, illiteracy and the mother of evils poverty owing to high rate of corruption which ultimately barrier the economic growth and prosperity in the region, he added. He said that corruption had become way of life from the last 20-25 years in the world in general and in South Asia in particular. The rate of this evil in our country was very high and no public or private sector was free from its clutches, he added.

He said that the government had given the tough task of eliminating corruption and recovery of kickbacks from the bad elements and NAB was doing well and recovered a huge amount of looted money from the culprits. He said the main theme of this conference was to develop regional linkages to combat this social evil because it had no boundaries.

Lt. Gen Munir Hafeez said, National Accountability Bureau, during the last five years, had played its humble part in fighting corruption in Pakistan. Relentless prosecution of the corrupt elements without regard to their status, has made corruption a costly affair for the unscrupulous politicians, civil servants and businessmen, he said. "With the full support of the present government NAB has become premier Anti-Corruption Agency in the country," he claimed.



Federal Minister for Law Mr. Wasi Zafar has said corruption is the biggest hurdle in achieving the goal of good governance in the country. He said that the present government's seriousness to curb the corrupt practices is evident from the number of measure taken, from initiatives in judicial sector, Anti-money laundering law, access to justice programme & Benami Accounts Law etc.

Emphassing the role of media in combating corruption, the Minister said that in Pakistan media presently is freer than some of the established democracies of the world thus it can effectively play its role of highlighting the corrupt practices albeit in government or private sector. He said that the civil society in Pakistan must play its due role in combating corruption.

He said that SAARC Council, Committee against corruption could play a very effective role in curbing the menace of corruption. Cooperation between Anti-corruption agencies in terms of exchange of information and experience, training of personnel; simplify mutual legal assistance in the cases of corruption, interaction of the civil society organization could be highly beneficial for the countries of South Asian Region. He also expressed his support for the anti-corruption efforts taken by NAB and promised to work actively for NACS recommendation in his ministry.

Mr. Jeremy Pope Co-Director, Tiri (the governance access learning network) while addressing the session said that a free media ranks alongside an independent judiciary, as one of the two powers that should never be accountable to politicians. Both serve as potent counter forces to corruption in public life and both must receive special protection. Mr. Jeremy Pope while emphasizing the role of civil society in countering corruption with special reference to the media said that unlike judges, public prosecutors and Attorney Generals, the privately owned media is not appointed or confirmed in office by politicians. Without a free media, civil society is crippled, both by a lack of information and an inability to engender public debate. He said that the role of civil society in demanding accountability from government "involves the most basic questions about power, transparency, participation and democracy". The top-down and closed structure of state controlled and autocratic governments in many countries has, in the past, stunted the growth of civil society and permitted public officials to operate in an atmosphere devoid of public accountability or transparency.

The global watchdog organization, Transparency International has released a global corruption index and has placed Pakistan as 15th most corrupt state and ranked Pakistan along with Kenya and Iraq. The findings of Transparency International cannot be denied. So omnipresent is corruption in our society that it mighty be called our culture. The greed and the passion for luxurious living within the ruling group and the civil servants working under then fueled it.