Pak govt to launch anti-corruption drive

The Pakistan government will launch a special drive from November 7 to purge all its departments of corruption on a "war footing", Interior Minister Rehman Malik said today.

Last Updated: Oct 31, 2010, 23:52 PM IST

Islamabad: The Pakistan government will
launch a special drive from November 7 to purge all its
departments of corruption on a "war footing", Interior
Minister Rehman Malik said today.

Malik`s remarks came amidst a debate in the country
over Transparency International`s new corruption perceptions
index that placed Pakistan at 143 on a list of 178 countries.

The least corrupt countries top the list while those
with greater instances of graft are at the bottom.

Though Malik disagreed with the findings of
Transparency International, he vowed that the upcoming drive
would root out corruption from government departments that
deal extensively with the public, including the state-run
power utility, passport department and railways.

The government will launch "covert action" to
uncover graft and agents will be deployed in government
offices to monitor corruption, he said.

"We`ll have zero tolerance. The government will take
it as corruption terrorism and we will fight it on a war
footing," he told reporters on the sidelines of an official
meeting.

A committee headed by the Director General of the
Federal Investigation Agency will submit a report within a
week about Transparency International`s recent findings, he
said. The FIA will also spearhead the special campaign against
corruption, he added.

Pakistan will also set up an Emergency Response Unit
with the support of France to help thwart any possible
terrorist activity, Malik said.

The government`s planned drive against graft comes at
a time when the world community has expressed concern about
corruption affecting the financial aid provided to Pakistan
for rehabilitating millions of people affected by
unprecedented floods.

Many countries have routed their aid through UN
agencies and NGOs due to concerns about corruption.

The Supreme Court has also stepped up pressure on the
government to reopen graft cases against ruling Pakistan
People`s Party chief Asif Ali Zardari, but authorities have
refused to take action on the ground that the President enjoys
immunity from prosecution.

PTI