PAKISTAN: CORRUPTION THREATENS THE SECURITY OF CITIZENS
Transparency International report says corruption has turned political parties into dynastical, dictatorial and undemocratic structures
The government needs to prioritise effective monitoring mechanisms that give citizens the power to hold their government leaders to account so to address the critical security risks in the country, Transparency International Pakistan warned today in a new report.
The report, the first to assess the effectiveness of Pakistan´s institutions and sectors in fighting corruption, warns that undemocratic political parties, weakened justice system and deficient law enforcement structures may sow the seed of conflict as disempowered citizens no longer trust a state captured by private interests.
Transparency International calls for strengthened Right to Information and whistleblower protection laws to be implemented on a priority basis enabling civil society to act as external watchdog for government activities.
“Government inefficiency allows gaps in national security that will most affect ordinary Pakistanis and may result in people turning to more extremist ideologies. Rampant corruption, especially in politics, disillusions the populous, which can make them more susceptible to radicalisation, further adding to the country’s security risks“ said Saad Rashid, Executive Director of Transparency International Pakistan.
Pakistan is in the red alert zone in the Failed States Index due to issues of “Talibanization” particularly in the Afghanistan–Pakistan border region, unrest from the illegal drone-attacks and insurgency in Baluchistan.
However, findings show those primarily tasked with protecting the security of citizens – governmental bodies and law enforcement –are among the most vulnerable to corruption out of the 13 institutions and sectors analysed.
The report looks at the country’s key institutions - including the legislature, judiciary and public sector – capacity in terms of independence and resources, governance and the extent to which institutions are efficiently performing their role in fighting corruption.
The report also confirms Pakistan is still struggling with abuses of power and lack of political accountability, which has been a major issue since its independence over 65 years ago. This has turned political parties into dynastical, dictatorial and undemocratic structures and eroded trust among the populous. According to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2013, three in four think political parties are corrupt or extremely corrupt and perceive corruption in the public sector as a serious problem in Pakistan.
Transparency International Pakistan calls on the government to prioritize strengthening of the current Right to Information legislation and introduce stronger laws to protect victims of corruption to ensure citizens can safely demand a government capable of public service. Despite signing the UN Convention against Corruption that clearly obliges countries to adopt legislation to protect whistleblowers, only one in four provinces in the country have passed such a law.
The national report released by Transparency International Pakistan is part of a study analysing institutions in 5 South Asian countries and their effectiveness in fighting corruption. The National Integrity System approach developed by Transparency International has been conducted in over 70 countries around the world and is a comprehensive means of evaluating and comparing institutions’ vulnerability to corruption. The in-depth assessment looks to anti-corruption structures such as private and public sectors, central electoral services, civil society, court of auditors, executive, judiciary, law enforcement, media, the ombudsman, parliament, political parties and anti-corruption agencies.
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