Political parties and President Musharraf have been challenged to make pre-election pledges to clean up government
On the eve of Pakistan's parliamentary elections, politicians from across the political spectrum have been invited to an anti-corruption conference by Transparency International (TI), the global anti-corruption non-governmental organisation, in partnership with its national chapter, TI-Pakistan. At the International Conference Centre in Islamabad, political leaders will be given a platform on Thursday, 19 September, to commit themselves in front of the mass media to the service of the people of Pakistan, and to undertake that, once elected, they will fight corruption.
The President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, is scheduled to attend and to make his own anti-corruption pledge to the people. At the conclusion of the conference, the politicians who choose to attend will enter into a formal written pledge to the people of Pakistan. Only those attending will be able to sign. The pledge will be widely published ahead of the parliamentary elections scheduled for 10 October 2002.
TI-Pakistan hopes that the conference will provide all political parties with an opportunity to declare their election manifestos on combating the corruption that has thwarted Pakistan's democratic, social and economic development since Independence
Jeremy Pope, Executive Director of Transparency International's international secretariat, said today that "the current administration has started to confront corruption. Whatever critics say about other aspects of the administration, the anti-graft efforts to reform Pakistan's weak and unaccountable system of government and administration must be continued by the incoming government. It is hoped that democratically elected leaders will demonstrate the political will to re-double efforts to clean up government in Pakistan."
Shaukat Omari, Executive Director of TI-Pakistan, stated that "Pakistan has improved its position from being perceived as the 11th most corrupt country (out of 91) in 2001 to the 23rd most corrupt country (out of 102) in the TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2002, released in August. Nevertheless, Pakistan still has a long way to go before we can shed ourselves of the stigma of being perceived as the second most corrupt country in 1996."
"The international community stands ready to provide Pakistan with the financial support in grants, loans and technical assistance required to fight the menace of corruption," continued Shaukat Omari. "It is also the hope of every citizen in the country that the politicians will rise to this challenge. This conference provides a first opportunity for them to make a commitment to stamp out graft in Pakistan."
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