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World Anti-Corruption Day today (9 Dec.)
By Sana Jamal
ISLAMABAD: It is a general perception that corruption in Pakistan is increasing with rapid pace and it not only destroying the society but also the economy of country. This belief has been confirmed recently by the latest Transparency International Index which has ranked Pakistan as the 34th corrupt nation out of 178 countries of the world. Last year Pakistan was on 42nd position.
Sharing his views on World Anti-Corruption Day, Shiraz Hassan, a writer commented “Like World Press Freedom Day, there will be seminars, talks and activities to mark it, but after all is said and done about the evils of corruption, the vicious circle of corruption will continue.” He summed up his motto in one sentence: “Today one does not have to be a revolutionary to create a storm. Just being honest is enough.”
The report titled the National Corruption Perception Survey 2010 showed an enormous rise in corruption from Rs.195 billion (2009) to Rs.223 billion (2010). Police and bureaucracy were the two most corrupt sectors while land administration was placed third in corrupt practices. Corruption in judiciary, education and local government sectors has also increased as compared to 2009, report said.
‘Say No to Corruption’ is the slogan of Liberal Forum Pakistan (LPF) an NGO which stands for liberal values and democratic norms in the society striving to ensure basic rights of the people.
LPF categorically states “Corruption is a universal challenge and no country is free from it. But there is no country where people consider it right for public officials to abuse their positions for private gain.”
It is the people themselves who support the bribery in the society and encourage the crooked through their indifferent behaviour, said Salma Khalid, a student of Mass Communication. “In Pakistan, corruption is something we all learn to live with. But if there is corruption in society, each one of us is responsible. It is wrong to blame the system. Why do we separate ourselves from the system? It is us who vote the corrupt to power and then we eternally suffer from all deprivations and refuse to raise our voices. ”
Ali A. Qureshi, a hopeful consultant believes “It is never too late to make a change,” so the state must take measures to curb corruption and to meet the needs of the people.
Suggesting measures to eradicate the culture of corruption from the society, LPF stated “We all can do this by lobbying our governments, by informing the media and bringing together people concerned about corruption in Pakistan.”
Here are some ways advocated by the society through with which we can make a difference:
- transparency and accountability in all departments,
- an effective ombudsman office,
- free media,
- independent judiciary
- an elected legislature with power to hold public officials accountable.
Transparency International (TI) is a global organization that monitors transparency or corruption around the world seeks to empower civil society to participate in efforts to fight corruption. However according to published reports the TI chairman, Syed Adil Gilani has been receiving death threats which might force the organization to stop working in Pakistan.
“Corruption is the biggest security threat to any country,” said Director General of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Brig Musaddiq Abbasi. He called for awareness among the masses about their rights and duties and also underscored the need for prevention and enforcement as other measures for rooting out corruption.