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Anti-Corruption Strategy: A Civil Society Perspective

Mar 20

9:30AM to 4:30PM

Marriot Hotel, Islamabad

Introduction

"A Country exists to provide its citizens
with freedom from poverty, freedom from servitude and quality of life where
they are able to live without fear of injustice and tyranny. Nothing harms
these objectives more than corruption in the organs of the state".

The above mentioned understanding by the
Government of Pakistan exhibits how necessary it is to uproot corruption to
protect the basic rights of citizens. However, despite this understanding,
statistics released by internationally credible institutions highlight the fact
that successive regimes in Pakistan have done little to lessen, let alone
control, unbridled corruption in the country.

According to the Transparency
International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2012, Pakistan stands 139th
out of 176 sampled nations – slipping 5 points down within a year. Those among
the most corrupt departments include police, judiciary, WAPDA/KESC, tax, health
and education. The casualty of corruption has not just been the poorest of the
poor but the wider population as a whole. The alliances and collusions between
various actors within the state has resulted in distorted decision-making on
development issues with choices influenced by rent-seeking interests.
 

The alliance among civil and military
bureaucracy, politicians and elite business and landed gentry has caused a blow
to the legitimacy of state institutions before the people. This situation has
led to a decline in the credibility and legitimacy of those very institutions
charged with the responsibility of controlling corruption. The existing picture
reveals an alarming crisis of governance rendering Pakistan’s fragile
democratic process vulnerable to further repeated threats. Rampant corruption
in the past has been used as the justification for the dismissal of four
successive elected governments, creating political instability in the country.

Economists and financial experts also
attribute corruption as the main reason behind Pakistan’s poor economic
performance. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness
Report (2007-08), corruption is the 3rd greatest problem for companies doing
business in Pakistan after government bureaucracy and poor infrastructure.
Thus, it is a direct impediment in the way of foreign direct investment in the
country.

Corruption has a direct and deep impact on
the lives of average Pakistanis.  Amid
hampering economic activities, it has lessened returns on their resources and
has added manifolds to their costs of living. Being a primary reason of
societal chaos and poor law and order situation, it is perceived to be a
massive breach of state trust.

With elections around the corner, feeling
the responsibility of giving a reminder to political stakeholders to place
anti-corruption high on their agendas, and to renew the importance of their
struggle for attaining a clean and non-corrupt bureaucratic and political
setup, the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) has decided to hold
a series of discussion symposia. The broader goal of these symposia will be to brainstorm
new, practical ideas for strengthening accountability and encourage efforts to
combat corruption. Especially, important is the role of civil society in
bringing about the pressure necessary for reducing corrupt practices.
 

Comprising of civil society organizations,
think tanks, academia, youth, citizen groups and other stakeholders, these
discussion seminars will serve to be a common platform for all to learn from
each other and to consider what works in strengthening demand side
accountability based on experience in other countries. The first of this series
of symposium is planned to take place on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.

This day-long symposium is proposed to have
three sessions with a focus on social, economic, political and development cost
of corruption and the emerging policy options to overcome it. The detail of
these sessions is given below:
 

Session 1: National level Accountability
Framework: Key issues with respect to Corruption

As the name suggests, the first session of
the symposium will dwell on to the national level accountability framework of
Pakistan and will take into account the role of anti-corruption institutions
including National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Investigation Agency
(FIA), Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Judiciary, Ombudsman and others in
curbing this menace. While discussing prevalence of corruption and a countering
strategy to overcome it, its effect on economy, politics, and society at large
will be discussed. The discussants in the session will take stock of what has
been done in Pakistan to control corruption at all levels, what are the best
practices abroad and what are the lessons to be learned going forward. Also, it
will take into account the role of a vibrant society, independent judiciary and
free media in curbing corruption at national level.

Session 2: Post 18th Amendment
Accountability Reforms: Anti-Corruption Strategy at Provincial Level  

The second session will essentially take
into account the impact that the 18th amendment has had on anti-corruption
mechanisms at provincial level. It will take stock of current provincial level
anti-corruption efforts (if any) also examine how improved anti-corruption
strategies and policies can contribute to further development at sub-national
level and how these might vary from the national context.
 

Session 3: Anti-Corruption Strategy and
Micro-level Governance

The third and last session of the day will
consider social and development costs of corruption at local level with special
emphasis on public service delivery and dispute resolution. During this
session, the experts will share lessons learnt in terms of micro governance,
social accountability and quality public service provision.

Participants: The potential participants of
the seminar will comprise of civil society, academia, civil bureaucracy,
citizen groups, youth, and development professionals.

Special Invites:
Considering scope of the seminar, special invites for nominations will be sent
to: Chief Secretaries, Home Secretaries, IGs Police, Heads FIA, Chief Justices
High Courts, Federal and Provincial Ombudsmen, NGOs, INGOs, development
partners, Pakistan Social Accountability Network (PSAN) members and journalists
from federal capital and all four provinces.
 
Dowload Presentation:
  1. Anti-Corruptio Strategy And Micro
    Level Governance By Brig(R) M. Musadaq Abbasi
  2. Civil Society, Corruption and
    Inclusive Development By Prof. Robert Klitgaard
  3. National Level Accountability
    Framework Key Issues With Respect To Corruption By Syed Kamal Shah

  4. Unpacking Corruption By Ali Salman
 
Contact Person:

Safwan A. Khan

Researcher-Economic Growth Unit

Sustainable Development Policy Institute
(SDPI), Islamabad

Tel: +92-51-2278134 Ext. 179    

[1] National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS), 2002,
Government of Pakistan
  • Mr Shams-ul-Mulk, Former Governor and Chief
    Minister, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
  • Brigadier (retd) Musaddiq Abbasi ,DG,
    Awareness and Prevention, NAB
  • Dr Kaiser Bengali, Renowned Economist
  • Syed Kamal Shah, Former Federal Secretary
    Interior, Islamabad
  • Prof. Robert Klitgaard, Claremont
    Graduate University, California, USA
  • Mr Sakib Sherani, Former Economic Advisor,
    Ministry of Finance
  • Mr Karamat Ali, Executive Director, PILER
  • Mr Nadeem Iqbal, Executive Coordinator, The
    Network for Consumer Protection
  • Professor Abdul Razzaq Sabir, Director,
    University of Balochistan
  • Dr Ehtasham Anwar, Director, BISP
  • Mr Umar Cheema, Special Investigative
    Correspondent,
    Islamabad
  • Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive
    Director, SDPI
  • Dr Vaqar Ahmed, Deputy Executive Director, SDPI