KARACHI - The claims of revival and independence of judiciary in the country fell flat on their faces as the institution climbed from sixth position last year to the fourth most corrupt, according to the Transparency International (TI) Pakistan’s annual report on corruption perception. The TI Pakistan Chairman Sohail Muzaffar, Adviser Adil Gilani and other office bearers unveiled the National Corruption Perception Survey (NCPS) 2011 on Wednesday at the Karachi Press Club (KPC).
With Land Revenue claiming the top spot followed by the Police Department and then the Income Tax, the increase in corruption in the judiciary was surprising while the military – included in the survey for the first time – made it straight into the top ten, claiming the 9th position in the most corrupt institutions of the country, more than the education department.
During the press conference, Muzaffar contradicted with the report of his own institution, doubting that how the military was included in the survey and why judiciary was shown as more corrupt than last year. “It is my personal opinion that the military should not have been included in the survey while the increase in corruption was reported in lower judiciary, not upper,” he said.
Muzaffar and Gilani said the NCPS-2011 indicates that administration and police are two of the most corrupt departments and education and military are among the least corrupt in Pakistan.
“Most alarming is the increase in corruption at Income Tax and Tendering and Contracting departments, ranked at 3rd and 6th most corrupt in 2011; whereas, they held the 8th and 10th positions last year,” they said, adding that this year the survey was conducted by Gallup Pakistan.
The TI Pakistan chairman said that corruption has reached unprecedented levels in Pakistan. “Lack of accountability as being witnessed is due to delays in punitive action by state organs against corrupt elements in cases like Pakistan Steel, National Insurance Company Limited, Bank of Punjab, rental power plants, the Hajj scandal, Karachi Electric Supply Company, Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Railways and Water and Power Development Authority,” he added.
He said the judiciary is being confronted by deliberate defiance in implementing Supreme Court orders and the unwillingness of prosecution agencies. “When 26 out of 40 positions of judges are lying vacant at the Sindh High Court (SHC), how can justice be provided efficiently. Delay in punishing corrupt people by the judiciary is one of the major causes of corruption in lower judiciary,” he added.
Muzaffar said that lack of political will to combat corruption can be observed from the government’s efforts of avoiding transparency in procurement. “Public Procurement Regulatory Authority is being made dysfunctional by not appointing a managing director since October,” he said.
The TI Pakistan adviser said in June, the Sindh government issued a notification exempting the Sindh Bank from application of public procurement Rules 2010. “The TI-Pakistan filed a constitution petition in SHC against this notification, but on December 15, the SHC chief justice, after reading that the Sindh chief secretary has cancelled the exemption, disposed of the petition,” he added.
According to the survey booklet distributed at the KPC, the local government department was deleted from the report and military added for the first time in the list of departments surveyed.
The NCPS-2011 reveals that the police department, ranked the most corrupt sector in 2002, 2006, 2009 and 2010, improved this year and was ranked the second most corrupt.
On a surprising note, the TI Pakistan chairman, who was satisfied while mentioning corruption in different departments, became visibly upset while reading out the reported corruption in military and judiciary.
Replying to the question if he did not accept the survey of his own organisation, Muzaffar termed the views his “personal” but the adviser interjected, saying that personal views of the chairman do not hold ‘any value’, as the report is complete and correct.