Peshawar: Speakers at consultative meeting against corruption said that government. Civil society and media should join hands to eradicate corruption and to ensure access to information to all the interested persons in order to bring reforms in the faulty system.
The consultative meeting titled ‘countering corruption’ was arranged by Development, Environment, Legal Aid, and Technical Support & Advocacy Association (DELTA) at a local hotel on Monday.
Besides media persons, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Deputy Speaker Imtiaz Shahid, Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani, special assistant to chief minister, Awami National Party MPA Sardar Hussain Babak, PML-N MPA Akbar Hayat, senior lawyer Yousuf Riaz Khalil, Delta President Nazlee Sardar and others spoke on the occasion.
Briefing the participants, Ms Nazlee said that Delta was working in the districts of Swabi, Mardan, Peshawar, Nowshera and Charsadda on a USAID funded project aimed to improve engagement between citizens and government in order to promote good governance in the country by strengthening citizens’ voice and public accountability.
She said that charter of demands had been prepared by the organization and presented to the provincial government in 2013 where some of the demands were already met by the PTI-led government like passing legislation on Right to Information, to enable citizens to access information, like replacing anti-corruption establishment, a toothless body with ehtesab cell; replacing ACE’s 18 grade officer who could not check corruption by his superiors in 19 – 22 grades, with a commissioner with more powers.
She however lamented that reports were circulating how PTI government was indulging in corruption; saying that the CM Citizens Complaint Cell (CCC) was housed between Governor House and CM house, so how many citizens could access it.
Moreover, she said her organization had filed a complaint but found that the CCC was ineffective because after lapse of 5 months an official written response was still awaited.
She said that Pakistan ranked at 28 while India at 36, on a score of 1 (poor) -100 (good) as per the International Corruption Index, and it was time that we as a nation raised our voice against corruption and eliminated it by claiming our rights in an appropriate manner.
A short play by children of Panjpir, Swabi, on corruption in our culture, filled colours in the event and everyone enjoyed and appraised the performance of small children.
Yousaf Riaz Khalil, Advocate High Court, presented recommendations for countering corruption, and said citizens can use RTI to eliminate corruption by demanding information from the govt.
Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani said that corruption had gained roots in our society because of wrong decisions and weak policies of the successive governments which hollowed basis of the official departments. He also asked for coordinated efforts to overcome the menace of corruption.
Zareen Zia, MPA PTI, spoke on eliminating corruption from education sector and asked for joining hands to ensure eradication to the menace from the society.
Arbab Akbar Hayat, MPA, PML-N, said his party leader, Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif was bringing drastic changes as he wanted to transform Pakistan into a modern progressive state. During their five years of rule in Punjab, PML N had demonstrated that corruption could be eliminated from our society, and his party will do so now.
Imtiaz Shahid, Deputy Speaker KPK as chief guest said that the provincial government was working for removing corruption. “As corruption has entrenched every aspect of our society, it is difficult to remove it but that is not deterring our government and PTI from accepting this challenge. It is a difficult challenge but not impossible,” he said and added that civil society, media and government should join hands for eradication of corruption.