ISLAMABAD: President Dr. Arif Alvi on Thursday, terming corruption an impediment to the country’s growth, said it was the collective responsibility of all tiers of the State and society to ensure its eradication.
“Strict laws, effective prosecution, and prompt dispensation of justice besides societal pressure are the important factors in checking corruption,” he said in his address at the seminar on ‘Corruption Free Pakistan: Pride of Nation’, held here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.
The event organized by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was held in connection with the International Anti-Corruption Day aimed at creating awareness among the masses to fight corruption in society.
President Alvi said allowing greed to take over morality results in the adoption of corrupt practices and put a detrimental impact on society.
He condemned the abuse of entrusted power for private gains and emphasized self-accountability to eliminate corruption.
The president lauded NAB for taking action against corruption, however, pointed out that the efforts of the anti-corruption watchdog alone could not prove effective unless supported by all segments of society.
He stressed the respective roles of parliament and executive in making strict laws and their implementation to check corruption. A combined action can eradicate the menace of corruption from the country, he added.
He also laid emphasis on prompt decisions by the judiciary on the cases of corruption because delays caused dispensation of justice.
Dr Alvi said the pressure of society, and religious and spiritual beliefs also helped a person not get deviated from the righteous path.
He said media, through whistle-blowing about corruption, could play a positive role, however stressed that it should be about the actual exposure of fraud rather than pursuing out-of-context journalism.
The president said Pakistan was taking effective steps against corruption and appreciated NAB for making a huge recovery of Rs 821 billion.
However, he drew attention towards the hypocrisy of the world, where vested interests prevailed over the concept of corruption. He mentioned that several countries allowed depositing looted money from other countries in their banks.
He said a “new morality-based world order” was need of the hour that also questioned the powerful States on corruption, rather than merely putting pressure on weak countries like Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya that faced decades of conflict.
Chairman NAB Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal said NAB was committed to ending corruption in the country and had carried out 1,194 convictions with a total recovery Rs 821 billion, including the Rs 520 billion in the last four years.
He said 30,000 petitions were addressed in four years with Rs 6.5 billion returned to the affected persons. The fine worth Rs 10 billion imposed by NAB in Madarba case was the biggest in the country’s history, he added.
He said NAB also took action against its 200 officials on charges of corruption in four years.
He said NAB did not believe in political engineering or vengeance, however stressed that it had corrected the definition of a ‘leader and a dacoit’ in light of the law.
He mentioned that foreign anti-corruption organizations had acknowledged the efficiency of NAB and had sought training on its ‘factum of deterrence’ methodology.
Country Representative United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Jeremy Milsom said extensive work had been taken up in Pakistan to fight corruption.
By preventing corruption and returning stolen assets, he said, the UNODC was unlocking resources for growth and new jobs, building resilience to future emergencies, empowering women and young people, and laying the foundations for a fairer future.
President Alvi on the occasion distributed certificates of appreciation among the NAB officers in the areas of investigation and prosecution.