ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid Monday ruled out any chance of corruption in Prime Minister’s Youth Business Loans Scheme and said various checks were in place in the defined process including finalization of applicants by the board on merit and then transparent draw through electronic ballot.
“The 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. All the banks who facilitated the loans recovered their money”, he said while talking to mediapersons after addressing a seminar on International Anti-Corruption Day organised by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) here. The seminar titled “Zero Corruption – 100 percent Development” was organised in collaboration with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC).
To a question, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, who also holds the portfolio of Law and Justice, said corruption cases against Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif were registered during the first term of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
He was of the opinion that Nawaz Sharif was politically victimised during General (R) Pervez Musharraf’s tenure but now these cases were with courts and their decisions would be accepted.
Regarding visit of US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel‚ the minister said issues pertaining to security of the region‚ presence of Nato troops in Afghanistan and their withdrawal in next year would be discussed during his meetings with Pakistani leadership.
To another question, he said Iran was not only our neighbour‚ but brotherly country and every issue with Iran can be resolved through dialogue.The minister said the government condemns sectarianism and elements involved in sectarian crimes would be brought to justice.
He said the government had introduced three ordinances to improve security situation and check heinous crimes. To a question regarding action against General Pervez Musharraf under the article 6 of the Constitution‚ the minister said progress in this regard was evident on day-to-day basis. “The court for the proceedings has been established and the premises have been allocated.”
To another query, Rashid said now elections in the country were held on party basis‚ so there was no chance of purchasing votes. “The preparations for holding local bodies’ elections in Islamabad are in full swing,” he added.
Earlier, addressing the seminar the minister said the corruption directly impacts development and to curb this menace‚ coordinated effort comprising public advocacy‚ prevention and enforcement was needed.
He said office of the Auditor General of Pakistan was responsible for holding audits in all public institutions and departments. He said its reports were discussed in Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of National Assembly.
He said to ensure complete transparency and accountability of the government‚ consensus had been developed on the name of Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah as Chairman PAC.
He 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‚ the minister urged media to supplement it and keep an eye on wrongdoings in public sector.
Speaking on the occasion, Acting Chairman NAB, Saeed Ahmad Sargana said NAB under the awareness and prevention regime during period from June 2012 to November 2013 had intervened and scrutinised 552 projects worth Rs1692 billion and saved Rs300 billion (approximately) precious money of the national exchequer.
He said the NAB had also recovered another Rs50 billion through the enforcement during this period. He 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 4,000 character building societies across the country in different universities, colleges and schools,” he added.He said to improve good governance, there was 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.
Adil Gilani, Adviser, Transparency International Pakistan (TIP), said that an improvement had been noticed towards the efforts for eradication of corruption as Pakistan’s CPI index had been improved during this year. “But still many reforms are required to get rid of the menace of corruption,” he added.
He said that Transparency International in collaboration with the international organisations 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.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 was an issue that continued to have deleterious impact on everyone, especially the poor and most vulnerable. He said 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.
Former Chairperson Competition Commission of Pakistan Rahat Kaunain Hassan said corruption had 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, she said.
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 (R) Musaddiq Abbasi emphasised the need for autonomy of bureaucracy through constitutional and tenure protection, fiscal decentralization and transparency in procurements.
On the occasion following officers were awarded certificates of merit for their best performance during year 2013: Abdul Fatah, Investigation Officer (IO), NAB Sindh, Imdad Ail Palijo, IO, NAB Sindh, Muhammad Arif Khan, Prosecutor, NAB Sindh, Hikmatullah, IO NAB KPK, Ali Jan, Prosecutor, NAB KPK, Asad Jan, IO, NAB Balochistan, Riaz Mansoor Shah, Prosecutor, NAB Balochistan, Robina Farooq, IO, NAB Rawalpindi, Muhammad Saleem Ahmad Khan, IO NAB Rawalpindi, Khurram Ejaz, Prosecutor NAB Rawalpindi, Zaheer Ahmed, IO, NAB Punjab, Nisar Ahmed, IO NAB Punjab, Syed Abid Rizvi, Prosecutor, NAB Punjab, Muhammad Tahir, Additional Director NAB HQs, Rana Muhammad Ail, Dy Director, NAB HQs, Imran Younis, Dy Director, NAB HQs, Ch Muhamamd Asghar, Dy Director, NAB HQs, Shumayl Aziz, Prosecutor, NAB HQs, Muhammad Younis Khan, Assistant Director NAB HQs, Muhammad Riaz Yousaf, Protocol Officer, NAB HQs and best Media Officer award was given to Zafar Iqbal Khan, Additional Director NAB HQs.