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Transparency International calls for restoring rule of law in Pakistan

Transparency International (TI) is deeply disturbed by the declaration of state of emergency rule in Pakistan and calls for the urgent restoration of the rule of law and democratic process in that country.

With his decision to impose emergency rule, and to highlight the judiciary as a key contributing factor, President Pervez Musharraf has severely weakened the seeds of judicial independence in Pakistan. In recent months lawyers have sought to protect their integrity and professional independence after the dismissal of chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

This decision for emergency rule, which targeted both the judiciary and the country’s increasingly independent press and electronic media, puts at risk the building up of sound, transparent institutions that can fight against corruption and strengthen democracy.

The government exerts tight control over all levels of the judiciary and judges are susceptible to political influence. Now that lawyers and judges have been rebelling against a lack of independence, the entire country is paying the price. Pakistan ranked 138 out of 180 countries in TI’s 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index. During the past year, Transparency International has been at the forefront of the fight against judicial corruption and advocating for judicial independence worldwide.

President Musharraf issued the emergency decree just days before the Supreme Court was due to decide on the legality of his re-election. The current situation in Pakistan goes beyond the judiciary, and clearly, it is the biggest threat to democratic development in the country.

At its recent Annual Membership Meeting the TI movement voiced dismay at an ordinance recently promulgated by the Pakistani government which conferred immunity on alleged perpetrators of corruption. TI expressed its deep disappointment that this action was taken only a few days after Pakistan ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

TI national chapters/contact from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives, collectively expressed serious concern over the disturbing developments in Pakistan and are closely watching the impact of the state of emergency on the fight against corruption in the country.

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Transparency International is the civil society organization leading the fight against corruption.

Global Corruption Report 2007: Corruption in Judicial Systems


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Gypsy Guillén Kaiser
T: +49-30-3438 20662
Fax: +49-30-3470 3912
E: ggkaiser@transparency.org