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Published Date: Mar 20, 2013

SDPI Press Release (March 20, 2013)

is all about accountability and strengthening of anti-corruption structures
would lead to strengthening of democracy in Pakistan.

This was the crux of a policy symposium on “Anti Corruption Strategy: A Civil Society
Perspective” organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here
on Wednesday. The policy symposium was held to discuss socio-economic,
political and developmental cost of corruption and the emerging policy options
to overcome it.

(retd ) Shafqat KakaKhel, member board of governors, SDPI started
the proceedings by presenting welcome remarks and said,” The country is
going to polls in next few months so there is a need for bringing
accountability discourse high in the agendas of political parties”.  He
also announced the formal launch of a comprehensive anti-corruption programme
by SDPI to rid Pakistan of this menace which has robbed the people and
deprived them of benefits of freedom, justice and prosperity for so many

at the occasion, Shams-ul-Mulk, Former Chief Minister, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said
that governments in Pakistan, were never ‘true representatives’ of the people
and were not interested in introducing accountability mechanisms or delivering
to the people’s demands. He continued by saying that governance structure needs
immediate reforms where introduction of local governance system is a must to
provide service delivery at micro level.

Robert Klitgaard of Claremount University, California was of the view that
Pakistan as a country is full of potentials where weak governance and lack of
accountability is hampering the development.  He cited ‘Global
Competitiveness Report 2013 which identifies corruption as the most problematic
factor for doing business in Pakistan, followed by inefficient government
bureaucracy and policy instability. He also referred to various successful and
innovative anti-corruption measures taken throughout the world and sought
similar inspring examples from Pakistan.

Kamal Shah, Former Federal Secretary Interior talked of addressing gaps in
anti-corruption framework by breaking the nexus between state departments and
influential’s who collude for their private gains at the expense of public

said, weak enforcement of laws is primarily because of interference in the work
of state institutions and demanded constitutional protection and more autonomy
for institutions to deliver on accountability. He suggested a top down
accountability framework and asked leaders at the top level to exhibit
exemplary roles.

Kaiser Bengali, renowned economist and former advisor to CM Sindh pointed
out the gross inequalities in the society which is a major factor in corruption
in Pakistan.

said the society where few feudal and industrialist are controlling the lives
of millions of people, is unable to deliver justice and also people tend to
give away their right of asking questions. He said today political parties are
not competing for ideas for providing welfare but are battling for distribution
of spoils and state resources.

He said the arbitrariness in taking decision and not to get accountable is the
main problem in Pakistan. “Ruling elite comes into power through corrupt
practices so why they would place accountability mechanism that can challenge
them,” he questioned. He said institutionalisation of corruption and its use as
a policy tool was first seen in zia regime in the form of allocating
development funds for politicians, patronisations, and tacit and explicit
distribution of bank loans which were later exempted.

Sakib Sherani, Former Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance proposed systemic
disclosure of government information, which he said,  is extremely
important for governments to show their commitment to transparency, rule of law
and accountability. He also called for monetizing corruption and determining
economic cost of corruption at every level in Pakistan. “One of the reasons of
Indian progress is their relatively solid and efficient institutions whereas
dysfunctional institutions in Pakistan are hampering growth and promoting
corruption, “ he added.

Brigadier (R ) Musaddiq Abbasi said that corruption in Pakistan is system
centric and there is need to build public ownership of public money.Briefing on
micro-level accountability, he suggested introducing prevention regime focused
on public education, information and the ability to understand, monitor and
engage public sector activities to ensure greater accountability and service
delivery. He also suggested greater autonomy and constitutional protection for
accountability institutions.

Karamat Ali, Executive Director, PILER discussed anti-labour and anti-people
practises of businesses and gross violation of state laws. He referred to
Baldia factory fire incident in which 250 workers were burnt alive, which he
said, was operating despite brazen violation of all state rules. “This was a
classic example of crony capitalism and its collusion with state institutions,”
he added. He also suggested people to organise themselves for addressing
systematic corruption.

reporter, Umar Cheema emphasised upon external mechanism for curbing corruption
that include watch-dog institutions, judiciary and media. He particularly
stressed on importance of investigating reporting which he said, is vital in
ensuring accountability.  

Salman, Director Prime suggested that accountability debate must focus on
preventing concentration of powers and the discretionary use of authority.

the end, Dr Vaqar Ahmed, Deputy Executive Director, SDPI presented summary of
recommendations and vote of thanks. Other important speaker at the event
included Nadeem Iqbal, Executive Coordinator, The Network for Consumer
Protection, Professor Abdul Razzaq Sabir, Director, University of Balochistan.