SC focus on transparency

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THE Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC), on Tuesday, raised
questions about performance of two important national
institutions – National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) – in respect of their handling of the situation arising out of Covid-19 and locust attack as well as alleged fake and dubious licenses of Pakistani pilots. The court observed that it was seriously concerned about transparency as allegations of corruption are tarnishing image of the country in the comity of nations.
The slogan of transparency has been hallmark of PTI Government and Prime Minister Imran Khan, indeed, launched some of the effective programmes including PM’s web portal for lodging of complaints against wrong-doings of ministries, divisions and institutions as part of his vision to ensure fullest possible transparency in governance. It was also for the sake of transparency that some of the bitter scandals were not only probed fairly but reports also made public and this has widely been acclaimed. However, it is also a fact that there have also been some lapses and as a result questions about transparency agitate minds of the people and opinion-makers. These include, among others, performance and role of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and follow-up action on reports of Sugar and Wheat Commissions as well as lack of progress on action against those involved in artificial shortage of petroleum products and subsequent unjustified hike in their prices. Similarly, there were serious allegations against the then Minister for Health in relations to unexplained hike in the prices of medicines and recent decision to allow another increase despite the fact that prices were already unilaterally revised upward by companies. The SC has rightly pointed out that the country has received billions of rupees in funding for Covid-19 and there should be judicious utilization of the amount. There have been complaints about import of substandard diagnostic kits, masks and even ventilators, which need to be probed. NDMA might not necessarily be involved in import of all material relating to Coronavirus but presence of substandard kits and masks is a reality, which is affecting diagnostic process and health of the people and it is right of the citizens to know whether foreign exchange of the country is being utilized in a just manner. As for the issue of fake licenses, it is still haunting the country and damaging its reputation and interests all over the world and, therefore, someone has to bear the responsibility for this sorry state of affairs. If there, indeed, are fake or dubious licenses, the question arises who issued them and renewed them six-monthly without proper verification?

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