TIP presents PM with antidote to corruption | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

TIP presents PM with antidote to corruption

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: Transparency International Pakistan team, associated with the Prime Minister Office on premier’s request, has submitted to the PM Nawaz Sharif a detailed anti-corruption strategy which includes seeking early enactment of three laws including Whistleblower Protection Act, Freedom of Information Act and Right to Public Service Act to check the menace of corruption.

Along with the anti-corruption strategy, the Transparency also submitted for prime minister’s approval the draft bills of the required laws mentioned above. All these documents were presented on February 21 and now there will be a test of the government and the prime minister if they really want to take practical measures to curb corruption.

The TIP claims that the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had committed in his last November meeting with the Transparency that the government would get the draft laws on Whistle Blower Protection, Freedom of Information and Right to Public Service enacted through the parliament.

The Transparency has conveyed to the prime minister that the draft laws have been prepared on the basis of best practices globally. The premier has been assured that the promulgation of these laws would bring transparency and curb corruption, which would help Pakistan to improve its ranking as less corrupt nation.

The draft Whistle Blowers Protection Act would help establish a mechanism to receive complaints relating to disclosure on any allegation of corruption or willful misuse of power or willful misuse of discretion against any public servant and to inquire or cause an inquiry into such disclosure. The proposed law will also provide adequate safeguards against victimisation of the person making such complaint and for matters connected.

The proposed law suggests that notwithstanding anything contained in the provisions of the Official Secrets Act, 1923, any public servant or any other person including any non-governmental organization (NGO), may make a public interest disclosure before the Competent Authority. Any disclosure made under the proposed Act shall be treated as public interest disclosure for the purposes of this Act and shall be made before the Competent Authority and the complaint making the disclosure shall, on behalf of the Competent Authority, be received by such authority as may be specified by regulations made by the competent authority.

The proposed law added that every disclosure shall be made in good faith and the person making disclosure shall make a personal declaration stating that he reasonably believes that the information disclosed by him and allegation contained therein is substantially true. Every disclosure shall be made in writing or by electronic mail or electronic mail message in accordance with the procedure as may be prescribed and contain full particulars and be accompanied by supporting documents, or other materials, if any.

The competent authority may, if it deems fit, call for further information or particulars from the person making the disclosure. However, no action shall be taken on public interest disclosure by the Competent Authority if the disclosure does not indicate the identity of the complainant or public servant making public interest disclosure or the identity of the complainant or public servant is found incorrect or false.

The competent authority shall, upon receipt of the complaint and concealing the identity of the complainant, or the public servant in the first instance, make discreet inquiry, in such manner and within such time as may be prescribed, to ascertain whether there is any basis for proceeding further to investigate the disclosure.

The proposed Freedom of Information Acts seeks government transparency and the right to information ensuring that the people of Pakistan have improved access to records held by public authorities and promote the purposes of making the Government more accountable to its people, of improving participation by the people in public affairs, of reducing corruption and inefficiency in Government, of promoting sound economic growth and of promoting good governance and respect for human rights.

The proposed draft would provide for a law which would give effect to the human right to information, as guaranteed under international law and by Article 19A of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, whereby everyone shall have the right to have access to all information held by public bodies subject only to reasonable restrictions as established by law, and for matters connected therewith.

Under the draft law, the information could be sought from any Ministry, Division, attached department or subordinate office, including autonomous bodies, of the Federal Government; any federal and any municipal or local authority set up or established by or under any federal law; the National Assembly and Senate including their secretariats, committees and members and the head of government; any statutory corporation or other body corporate or institution set up or established or owned or controlled or funded by the Federal Government; any court, tribunal, commission or board; any incorporated or unincorporated body or entity functioning under the control or authority of another public body or wherein one or more public bodies owns or has controlling interests or provides substantial funding; any other organisation which undertakes a public function, to the extent of that function.

The draft Right to Public Service Act. An Act promises to provide for delivery of public services to the people of Pakistan within the stipulated time limit, including liabilities of Government servants in case of default, administrative efficiency and for the matters connected therewith. It promises to provide for delivery of public services to the people of Pakistan within the stipulated time limit, including liabilities of Government servants in case of default, administrative efficiency and for the matters connected therewith.

Under the proposed law there would a penalty for non-performers and appreciation for the performers in the government. ln addition to the imposition of fines, if the concerned Commission is satisfied that the designated officer against whom a complaint was received, has failed to discharge the duties assigned to him under this Act without sufficient or reasonable cause, it would recommend disciplinary action against him under the service rules applicable to him, for the time being.

In the case of good performers, the government, may by way of a notification or otherwise, maintain and publish from time to time but at least once in every quarter, a roll of honour, acknowledging the names of those designated officers and other government servants appearing on it, who have been consistently performing well either in providing public services in timely and efficient manner, or have been reputed for discharging their administrative duties and disposal of case work, adequately and within prescribed time as envisaged under this Act.

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