SUKKUR: The head of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) made a strong pitch for ‘zero tolerance’ against corruption on Monday, saying Pakistan’s transformation into a developed state depended almost entirely on such a campaign.
“If Pakistan wants to become a developed nation, it can only be possible if we show zero tolerance against corruption,” NAB chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry told participants at a ceremony marking the inauguration of NAB’s Sukkur bureau office. Chaudhry told the attendees that their participation signalled their “resolve against corruption”.
The NAB chief was of the view that only those nations have developed and remained successful who have rooted out the menace of corruption and injustice from their societies.
The malaise of corruption, according to Chaudhry, has been growing in Pakistan for the last 67 years. “Despite numerous legislations starting from The Prevention of Corruption Act 1947, over 50-plus laws have been enacted, yet corruption has continued to increase,” he said. “Graft has now seeped down to the grass root levels.”
“Corruption undermines development and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, erodes quality of life, distorts markets and ultimately affects the economic development of the society and nation,” said Chaudhry.
According to him, corruption can take many forms, from minor use of influence to institutionalised bribery.
He admitted that the National Accountability Bureau – which was established through promulgation of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 – has a lot more to do. “To what extent NAB has been successful in its mandate is a matter of debate; there are positive and negative views on this,” he added.
Based on his experience, Chaudhry said that it requires a “coordinated effort with a three-pronged strategy of awareness, prevention and enforcement”. In an environment where corruption is endemic, anti corruption agencies in isolation cannot effectively counter the threat. It requires active and complete support of the entire society”.
The NAB chairman commended the role of the media in the fight against corruption. “Civil society, judiciary, media are the whistle blowers,” he said.
He cautioned against using NAB as a tool for political victimisation, or as an institute for facilitating bigwigs to go free and punishing the small fry.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2015.