Pakistan Observer

Public advocacy needed to curb corruption

Staff Reporter

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - Islamabad—Intervention by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in 552 projects worth Rs. 1692 billion saved the national exchequer Rs. 300 billion besides recovery of another Rs. 50 billion through the enforcement from June 2012 to November 2013.

This was disclosed by Acting Chairman NAB, Saeed Ahmad Sargana while speaking at a seminar organized in collaboration with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) on “Zero Corruption – 100 percent Development” on the occasion of Anti-Corruption Day in Islamabad on Monday.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting and LAW and Justice Mr. Pervez Rasheed graced the occasion as chief guest. A bunch of renowned speakers delivered their speeches including Acting Chairman NAB, Rear Admiral (Retd) Saeed Ahmad Sargana, Mr. Cesar Guedes, Country Representative UNODC, Niell Weight, Country Representative UNHCR, Mr. Adil Gilani, Advisor Transparency International Pakistan (TIP), Farrukh Khan Pitafi, Senior Journalist, Rahat Kaunain Hassan, former Chairperson Competition Commission of Pakistan, Col (Retd) Subah Sadiq, DG NAB Rawalpindi and Brig (Retd) Muhammad Musaddiq Abbasi, DG NAB Awareness and Prevention. Acting Chairman said, for maximizing the returns of the accountability efforts, focus should be given to the Awareness and Prevention of corruption with more focus to the education for intolerance towards the corruption to ensure development of the country and transformation in to a vibrant society. As NAB is focusing on Awareness and Prevention, it has established 4000 character building societies across the country in different Universities, Colleges and Schools. He said to improve good governance, there is need for government to assign right person for the right job. He urged the government to include a new cadre of “Procurement” in official cadres so that corruption which happens during award of contracts can be stopped.

Addressing the seminar, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Parvaiz Rashid said corruption directly impacts development and to curb this menace, coordinated effort comprising public advocacy, prevention and enforcement is needed.

He said office of the Auditor General of Pakistan is responsible for holding audits in all public institutions and departments. He said its reports are discussed in Public Accounts Committee of National Assembly.

The Minister said to ensure complete transparency and accountability of the government, consensus has been developed on the name of Leader of Opposition Syed Khurshid Shah as Chairman PAC. Senator Pervaiz Rashid said despite improved ranks of Pakistan in Transparency International report on corruption, a lot more needs to be done to control corruption. He urged all segments of society to play their active role to eliminate this menace.

Lauding the role of NAB, he urged media to supplement it and keep an eye on wrongdoings in public sector. Later talking to media, he ruled out any chance of corruption in Prime Minister’s Youth Business Loans and said various checks are in place in the defined process including finalization of applicants by the board on merit and then transparent draw through electronic ballot.

He said PML-N’s Yellow Cab Scheme was also transparent, which not only provided a standard transport facility to public, but the recovery rate of the scheme remained over 98 percent. He said all the banks who facilitated the loans recovered their money. Parvaiz Rashid said now elections in the country are held on party basis, so there is no chance of purchasing votes. He said preparations for holding local bodies’ elections in Islamabad are in full swing.

He said corruption cases against Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif were registered during the first term of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. He said Nawaz Sharif was politically victimized during General Pervez Musharraf’s tenure. He said these cases are now with courts and their decisions will be accepted. Regarding visit of US Secretary Chuck Hagel, the minister said issues pertaining to security of the region, presence of NATO troops in Afghanistan and their drawdown in next year will be discussed during his meetings with Pakistani leadership.

He said Iran is not only our neighbor, but brotherly country and every issue with Iran can be resolved through dialogue. Parvaiz Rashid said the government condemns sectarianism and elements involved in sectarian crimes will be brought to justice. He said the government has introduced three ordinances to improve security situation and check heinous crimes. Replying to a question regarding action against General Pervez Musharraf under the article 6 of the constitution, the minister said progress in this regard is evident on day-to-day basis. He said court for the proceedings has been established and the premises have been allocated.

Speaking at the seminar, Adil Gilani, Advisor, Transparency International Pakistan (TIP), said that an improvement has been noticed towards the efforts for eradication of corruption as Pakistan’s CPI index has been improved during this year. But still many reforms are required to get rid of the menace of corruption. He said that Transparency International in collaboration with the international organizations pinpoints the deficiencies and suggests measures for improvement of system and ensures rule of law and implementing the lay down regulations. He said that we have to cover a long distance before reaching a level of satisfaction for eradication of corruption. While talking to the gathering, UNODC Country Representative Cesar Guedes said although we celebrate Pakistan’s participation in community of nations committed to combat corruption, we know that much more needs to be done. He said, corruption is an issue that continues to have deleterious impact on everyone, especially the poor and most vulnerable. He added, it diverts funds intended for essential public services, erodes public confidence in its government and discourages private sector investment. He urged the gathering to renew commitments to say enough is enough and no more corruption.

Addressing the participants of the Seminar, Ms. Rahat Kaunain Hassan said, corruption has corrupted the agenda of economic development. The focus on this aspect has to change from ‘people’ to ‘systems and processes’. Corruption is to be identified as inefficiency, which results because of poor process design or due to lapses in procedures entailing systemic risk. Speaking to the Seminar, Mr. Farruk Pitafi said, to eradicate menace of corruption, teach people the importance of fighting corruption, sensitize them, give them ownership and capacity to monitor and eventually this evil will go away. Brig (Retd) Musaddiq Abbasi while talking to the occasion emphasized the need for autonomy of bureaucracy through constitutional and tenure protection, fiscal decentralization and transparency in procurements.

At the occasion following officers were awarded certificates of merit for their best performance during year 2013: Mr. Abdul Fatah, Investigation Officer (IO), NAB Sindh, Mr. Imdad Ail Palijo, IO, NAB Sindh, Muhammad Arif Khan, Prosecutor, NAB Sindh, Mr. Hikmatullah, IO NAB KPK, Mr. Ali Jan, Prosecutor, NAB KPK, Mr. Asad Jan, IO, NAB Balochistan, Mr. Riaz Mansoor Shah, Prosecutor, NAB Balochistan, Mrs. Robina Farooq, IO, NAB Rawalpindi, Mr. Muhammad Saleem Ahmad Khan, IO NAB Rawalpindi, Mr. Khurram Ejaz, Prosecutor NAB Rawalpindi, Mr. Zaheer Ahmed, IO, NAB Punjab, Mr. Nisar Ahmed, IO NAB Punjab, Syed Abid Rizvi, Prosecutor, NAB Punjab, Mr. Muhammad Tahir, Additional Director NAB HQs, Rana Muhammad Ail, Dy Director, NAB HQs, Mr. Imran Younis, Dy Director, NAB HQs, Ch. Muhamamd Asghar, Dy Director, NAB HQs, Mr. Shumayl Aziz, Prosecutor, NAB HQs, Mr. Muhammad Younis Khan, Assistant Director NAB HQs, Mr. Muhammad Riaz Yousaf, Protocol Officer, NAB HQs and best Media Officer award was given to Mr. Zafar Iqbal Khan, Additional Director NAB HQs.

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