Pakistan jumps up the corruption indexBy Awais Saleem, IANS
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has climbed up the corruption index from 42nd position in 2009 to 34th this year, as per the new ranking of corrupt countries released by Transparency International here Tuesday.
The Pakistan chapter of Transparency International (TIP) has identified corruption cases worth Rs.300 billion in different federal government departments last year alone.
TIP chairman Adil Gilani lamented that the government did not show any interest in probing these cases of corruption, according to The News.
He, however, said it was only the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly and the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) which took notice of some of these corruption cases.
Pakistan was ranked 47th in 2008 and went on to become 42nd in 2009.
“TIP has already referred a number of corruption cases to the National Accountability Bureau but it did not proceed even in one single case,” Gilani said.
Among the mega corruption cases, the Rental Power Projects of the government, presently under the scrutiny of the Pakistan Supreme Court, topped the list, he said.
“The alleged unauthorized award of rental power projects is expected to cause a loss of $2 billion.”
Pakistan Steel, Railways, Oil and Gas Development Corporation, National Highways Authority and National Insurance are some of the other major organisations being operated by the Zardari-led federal government that have been mentioned in the report on charges of rampant corruption.
Pakistan Peoples Party, holding the reigns of the government in the centre, has rejected the report.
Law Minister Babar Awan said: “Such reports are being issued at the behest of vested interests and there is no check and balance on the validity of their figures.”
The report does not look into corruption in provincial departments. Most of the cases are already under the scanner in the apex court of Pakistan and pressure is building on the government for making these deals without taking cognisance of relevant rules or appointments in key positions in violation of merit.
Former federal minister Shaikh Rasheed said that “corrupt elements have the audacity to say that they are above the law and nobody can get hold of them”.
He charged that “it seems impossible to uproot the menace of corruption if the rulers are themselves patronizing it”.
(Awais Saleem can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)