Private business of public office holders

AFTER passage of almost three years, the KPK government of PTI has finally delivered on one of its many unfulfilled promises. It has passed Prevention of Conflict of Interest Bill barring provincial governor, chief minister, ministers and other public office holders from getting involved in any private business. While quoting the model of European countries, we have heard countless time Chairman PTI Imran Khan on TV interviews and public gatherings vowing to introduce this legislation. Due to opposition within the party, this piece of legislation hit several snags in the past and still there are questions on the implementation of the law as reportedly there are no many takers of it within the PTI.
Given the essence and significance of this legislation, we however appreciate the KPK government for taking lead on the matter which in fact is a step in the right direction to ensure transparency, good governance and better public service delivery. We hope that the centre and other provinces will also act to stop public office holders from misusing their authority. If we look at some western countries, there are strict code of conducts and such laws that prevent the public office holders from exploiting official positions for furthering their businesses or private interests or those of their family members or friends but in our country the case is quite contrary where public office bearers actually use their authority to further expand their business interests. This only has encouraged corrupt practices and resulted in accumulation of wealth in few hands and widening disparity between the rich and the poor. In our view, even if there is no relevant law, one as a matter of principle should disassociate from business activities after joining the public service and he/she should rather focus more on interests and welfare of the public for which he/she has been entrusted the office. We expect that centre and other provinces will also follow this trend.

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