By Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomate), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.
PAKISTAN - Prime Minister Imran Khan, after winning election held on 25 July 2018, in his maiden speech, pointed out that he is impressed by China’s experience in eradicating Poverty and overcoming the Corruption. He stressed to learn from Chinese experiences to implements in Pakistan to eradicate Poverty and root-out Corruption.
Pakistan is facing an external debt of upto 95 billion US dollars. Last two consecutive governments took major part of this loan and got personal benefits. Their personal assets increased exponentially but the country suffered a lot. The corruption and nepotism was at peak. In fact, they appointed their loyal to almost all important posts, who served as their front men and facilitated them in looting national wealth.
PTI Government is facing huge challenges due to corruption and nepotism of previous governments. PTI promised the nation to eliminate corruption and nepotism from the country, before general election held on 25 July 2018. After winning the election, PTI is focused to full-fill its promise with the nation. It is rather up-hill task, but Prime Minister Imran Khan is a strong man and determined to root out the menace of corruption once for all. Unlike past, where influential were given exemption, and only small corrupts were held accountable, this time, it was witnessed that the accountability has not spared any one, irrespective to their position or status. Even previous head of the states like President, Prime Minister, and Ministers etc., are accountable. This is “Naya” New Pakistan, where each one is treated equally.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the prime institution to curb corruption, its Chairman Justice (retired) Javed Iqbal on Sunday, 6 January 2019, said that the anti-graft watchdog has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China to oversee China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects being completed in Pakistan. Currently, all the commercial activities are revolving around CPEC, as most of mega projects are under CPEC and major investment is also under CPEC. CPEC is pivotal role in Pakistan’s whole economy.
He said that considering corruption as cancer, NAB has chalked out a comprehensive National Anti-Corruption Strategy for logical conclusion of mega corruption white collar crimes cases by adopting the policy of ‘Accountability for All’ as the figures of complaints, inquiries and investigations are almost double as compared to the figures of the period between 2017 to 2018. The comparative figures for the last one year from October 2017 to December 2018 are indicative of hard work being put in by all ranks of NAB officers in an atmosphere of renewed energy and dynamism, where the fight against corruption is being taken as a national duty, he added.
He said that NAB is committed to rooting out corruption in all its forms and manifestations across the board with iron hands. He said that NAB has established a state-of-the-art forensic science lab in Islamabad which has facilities of digital forensics, questioned documents and fingerprint analysis which will be utilized for further improvements in the quality of inquiries and investigations. The NAB chief said that due to the prescribed timeline of 10 months for efficient, effective and expeditious disposal of cases from complaint verification-to-inquiry-to-investigation and finally to a reference in the accountability court, NAB has filed 440 corruption references from October 2017 to September 2018 which is a record achievement.
He said that NAB has introduced a new concept of Combine Investigation Team (CIT) in order to benefit from the experience and collective wisdom of senior supervisory officers, hence a system of CIT comprising of a director, additional director, investigation officer and a senior legal counsel has been put in place. This is not only lending quality to the work but also ensuring that no single individual can influence the official proceedings of NAB. He also said that NAB has signed MOU with China to oversee CPEC projects being completed in Pakistan.
Transparency International (TI), PILDAT, Mishal, Gillani and Gallop survey and World Economic Forum have appreciated NAB’s efforts in the eradication of corruption. NAB, in a very short span of time, has established over 50,000 character-building societies in universities/colleges to create awareness against corruption which has proved very successful and now the young generation is aware of the ill effects of corruption and has joined hands with NAB to eradicate corruption from the country. We are optimistic that Pakistan may over-come corruption in very near future.
In a matter of fact, corruption is the major cause of poverty in Pakistan and as well as in developing countries. While, the beneficiary of corruption are the developed world. The influential people from Developing countries, stolen and looted wealth transfer to the developed countries. In other words, the developed countries provided them safe custody of their illegal wealth. It contributes to their economy, so they provide them protection. Although, there is an awareness among the public of developing nations and some of the countries have already taken some measures to control corruption. But unless the international community cooperate and sincerely try to control it, little success is expected. UN and International community may formulate legislation, where the developed countries may not be able to provide them protection. Without cooperation from Developed World, eliminating corruption may turn a dream only.
China has gained success in controlling corruption to a huge extent that is why Pakistan wanted to learn from Chinese experience and signed MoU.Since the President Xi Jin Ping , came into power, an anti-graft movement was initiated and till date, thousands of high profile officials and business tycoons were arrested and recovered the illegal money from them or punished exemplary. Chinese model of fighting against the corruption is to spare none, irrespective of his/her position or status. Even they have not spared Ministers, Governors, Party’s senior officials or big tycoons from business community.
It is expected that PTI government will meet its manifesto of eliminating corruption from this society. Cooperation with China is a big initiative in this regard and yet many other initiatives have to be taken to meet the sever challenges. It might need to pass new legislations, and introduce reforms in the judicial system of Pakistan, as some of laws are rather out dated back to century old colonial era. Today, the world has emerged a high-tech and cyber styled. Our Law enforcement mechanism and judiciary may not be able to coup with white collar crimes. Wide range, comprehensive, reforms are also required to address the complicated and radical crimes.
NADRA is one of the very well and equipped institution to handle the hi-tech crimes. Pakistan may use all possible latest technologies to investigate modern time crimes.
The popularity of PM Imran Khan will increase if he succeeded in elimination corruption and recovered the looted money from high profile criminals.
The author is a Sinologist and nonresident fellow of the Center for China and Globalization, National University of Sciences and Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan.