Anti-graft drive from November 7: corruption to be treated as terrorism: Malik

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ISLAMABAD :Pakistan, ranked as 34th among most corrupt countries of the world in 2010, on Sunday said that it would turn around with results of an anti-graft drive, seen within a couple of days. Interior Minister Rehman Malik has warned all public institutions to improve within a week and put an end to the corruption. He said that the government is determined to take strict action against corruption-plagued departments after November 7.

Pakistan has always relied heavily on aid from foreign donors, who express concern over lack of transparency in the government, especially when providing relief from devastating summer floods, which left thousands homeless in the country.

Talking to journalists after presiding over a meeting at FIA headquarters, the Minister said that agents would be deployed in government offices to monitor corruption when the drive starts next week.

The government has taken corruption as terrorism, and we ll fight it on war footing, he said, adding that results of the drive would be seen in the next two months. After November 7, our covert action will start; we will have zero tolerance, and the government will take action against corruption terrorism , he added.

Pakistan s decline continues in corruption perceptions index (CPI) and now its index score is 2.3, against 2.4 in 2009, and out of 178 countries, its ranking as most corrupt country has slipped 7 ranks, from 42nd in 2009 to 34th in 2010.

The 2010 CPI shows that nearly three quarters of the 178 countries in the index score below five, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 10 (perceived to have low levels of corruption), indicating a serious corruption problem.

Rehman said that any office, be it Wapda, FIA, Immigration, Nadra, CDA or wherever it is responsible for public dealing, the corrupt officials must mend their ways. After November 7 , he said, the government will start across the board covert action .

The minister called upon the media to help the government in eradicating the menace of corruption from the society, saying that there must not only be a political commitment but a battle that engages all the stakeholders.

Meanwhile, he directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the premier law enforcement organisation, to adopt zero-tolerance policy regarding criminal activities, and said that the process of accountability would start from FIA.

The minister vowed to take strict steps against human traffickers and illegal arms licences and said that the staff deployed on checkpoints from where people were illegally leaving the country would also be thoroughly checked.

He announced that women s quota has been raised to 25 percent in FIA, and the employees salaries would now match those of the motorway police.

The interior minister said that special teams would be created to keep a vigilant eye on SMS-based manoeuvring of the stock exchanges.

No employee would be harassed, and anti-corruption action would be exclusively focused, he said, urging the departmental heads of the respective institutions to expel the employees involved in such activities.

He said that action would be taken against extortionists, and a special helpline would be established in this regard. He urged the people to help the government against these mafias by bringing them to the notice of FIA. The minister said that inquiry has been ordered against over 90,000 Afghan refugees and other illegal immigrants, who were issued identity cards. Strict action would be taken against such people who have badly tarnished the image of the country to fulfil their nefarious motives, he added.

Courtesy: Business Recorder

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