Senate’s Oversight Committee: Bureaucrats unwilling to share details

Senators appeared disinterested in discussing issues like graft

Riazul Haq April 27, 2016

More than a dozen key government departments failed on Tuesday to share details of in-house anti-corruption actions and the status of implementation on proposals suggested by the Senate.

Interestingly, this was the second consecutive meeting of the Senate’s Special Oversight Committee in which senators appeared disinterested in discussing issues such as corruption. The first meeting was adjourned because of a lack of quorum, while only a couple of members, Senator Saeed Ghani and Ayesha Farooq, turned up for the session held on Tuesday. Last year, a 51-point document on eradicating corruption was circulated in government departments and ministries, and they were also asked to submit a compliance report in this regard. On October 6 last year, the Senate thoroughly discussed corruption in government and formed a special oversight committee to look into the matter. Every government body has its own rules and provisions for curbing corrupt practices. Members of the committee and the panel’s chairperson, Muhammad Javed Abbasi, were shocked to learn that none of the departments shared substantive measures against malpractices and embezzlements. A finance official from Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), Misbah Yaqub, was stopped from providing details of implementation status by Senator Ghani, who insisted upon knowing actions taken by the authority against corrupt officials. However, the authority’s official could not provide a satisfactory reply in this regard, prompting Senator Ghani to ask if any of the departments in question could share details in this regard. Not a single representative from any of the departments concerned could come up with a response. Establishment Division’s Secretary Nadeem Asif came to the rescue of the officials and stated that they were complying with the Senate’s recommendations and the process was under way. The chairperson of the committee then told officials of all departments to submit a report on actions taken by individual departments in the next meeting. Chairperson of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) claimed that there had been no case of corruption in the authority in the past 20 years. Interestingly, a 300-plus-page dossier from all organisations concerned contained nothing anything in connection with the committee’s suggestion, instead it repeatedly mentioned that the document had been “well received, (and proposals) will be implemented in letter and spirit.” Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th,  2016.  

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