Thursday, September 29, 2011

TI Pakistan to launch USAID 'Anti-Fraud Hotline' next month

Business Recorder

November 2,2010

ISLAMABAD (November 02, 2010) : US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Transparency International Pakistan head signed a co-operative agreement on September 22, 2010 here, for the "Anti-Fraud Hotline" Project. Syed Adil Gilani has been designated as the Chief of Party for five-year period of the project - The Anti Fraud Hotline to be launched in December 2010.

The objective of the project is to ensure transparency and prevention of corruption in the utilisation of grant to be provided to Pakistan by USAID, including the $7.5 billion of Kerry Lugar Bill. TI Pakistan will disseminate information in the areas and sectors, where USAID funds will be disbursed, through print and electronic media, billboards, flyers and posters, banners and pole mountings.

Citizens and civil society organisations will be encouraged to report corruption and register their complaints direct through 'Anti-Fraud Hotline' website or send it to TI Pakistan by email, phone, fax, mail by visit to Transparency International Pakistan office.

For transparency and non-discriminatory policy of USAID, all procurements will be open for national suppliers/consultants /contractors, and international suppliers/consultants/contractors for specified procurements under the terms of the grantee agreements. US NGOs procurements will be open to Pakistani as well as US suppliers/consultants/contractors and the UN agencies.

All complaints will be uploaded onto the "Anti-Fraud Hotline" either by the complainant through web, or by TI Pakistan staff dealing with complaints. Each complaint will be automatically allotted a number if made through web, and given a number by TI Pakistan staff, which will be in continuous serial.

The complainant will be sent mail in case email address is given, or informed through mail about the company registration and compliant tracking number. The complainant will be able to track the status of complaint through web, or contact Transparency International Pakistan for the progress and result. Office of Inspector General USAID will conduct inquiry and investigation with regard to all complaints.-PR

US hotline to tackle aid fraud in Pakistan

America is opening an anti-corruption hotline in Pakistan to try to protect billions of dollars of aid money at risk from fraud, waste and theft.
America is opening an anti-corruption hotline in Pakistan to try to protect billions of dollars of aid money at risk from fraud, waste and theft.
With millions of dollars in aid pouring into Pakistan after this year’s devastating floods, allegations of financial mismanagement have been widespread Photo: REUTERS

Transparency International, a global corruption watchdog, will run the telephone line to help monitor more than $7.5 billion (£4.81billion) promised over the next five years as part of a package to help stabilisePakistan as it battles with militants along its border with Afghanistan.

The move risks angering the government of Pakistan which has criticised Transparency International for increasing the nation’s corruption rating.

Activists have already warned that they face intimidation and harassment when carrying out their work.

On Tuesday, Syed Adil Gilani, the chairman of Transparency International Pakistan, said he had received three death threats from government officials since signing up to run the hotline.

With millions of dollars in aid pouring into Pakistan after this year’s devastating floods, allegations of financial mismanagement have been widespread.

“One to one, I was told not to keep on working as we are,” he said. “I was told that Karachi is not safe and there are many target killings.”

The fraud hotline is one of a number of anti-corruption projects that USAID, the US government’s donor agency, is working on with the Pakistan government.

“This is a normal oversight mechanism in many countries where we work,” said Bob Wilson, USAID mission director when he announced the hotline.

Last month, Transparency International’s annual corruption perception index ranked Pakistan as the 34th most corrupt country in the world — a rise of eight places, putting it on a par with Mauritania and one place below Zimbabwe.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Anti-terrorism: Zardari calls for paradigm shift


President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday said that the government did not want a clash of institutions and deemed that “democracy is the best revenge”.

Speaking at the 21st All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) Awards distribution ceremony at Awan-e-Sadr, he said, “We strengthened the institutions by giving more powers to the Parliament and we are willing to work and fight for a better democracy.”

The president said that the PPP did not take the path of aggression after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto because it could have threatened the institutions.

“I am here for a larger cause to fight the mindset — which is definitely going to affect our coming generations if not fought now,” the president said.

He said “we will have to take this challenge”. It is the mindset which took away Benazir Bhutto, Salman Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti and thousands of Pakistanis. We are not against mardrassas but we are against the mindset.”

The president said the federation would file a reference in the Supreme Court to revisit the judgment of the “judicial murder” of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Pakistan Peoples Party has decided to get the case reopened, he added.

President Zardari said the first PPP government of Benazir Bhutto in 1988 had put the country on the road to democracy and freedom of the press. She lifted a ban on import of newsprint and made it free for everybody, he added.

The president asked the APNS to set up a body for rationalising the distribution of advertisements to the media.

Later, the President gave away awards to the APNS members, journalists, advertising agencies for achievements in their fields.

The president handed life-time achievement awards to senior members of APNS including Majid Nizami, Syed Fasih Iqbal, Sharif Farooq, Mustafa Sadiq, Mahmood ul Aziz, Masudah M. Ahmed, Prof S.B. Hassan.

APNS president Hameed Haroon presented address of welcome.

Editor in Chief Balochistan Times Syed Fasih Iqbal with Chief of army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez

Editor in Chief Balochistan Times Syed Fasih Iqbal with Chief of army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez
Editor in Chief Balochistan Times Syed Fasih Iqbal with Chief of army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez

Syed Fasih Iqbal

Syed Fasih Iqbal

Corruption breeding terrorism, violence

LAHORE, Feb 27: Corruption is the main cause of terrorism and violence being witnessed by the country and today we declare a crusade against the menace, Human Rights Society of Pakistan president Senator SM Zafar declared here on Sunday.

He was addressing the 30th human rights awards ceremony held by the Society at a local hotel.

Four awards for 2010 were given to as many eminent persons for their human rights activities and struggle for `amelioration of the condition of the people of Pakistan`. Those who were given awards are; Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, Mr Justice K M Samdani (retired), Senator and journalist Syed Fasih Iqbal and special education expert and chairperson of “SAHIL”, an NGO, Dr Maneezay Bano.

Mr Zafar said Pakistan was passing through the worst phase of lawlessness and violence these days. The increasing incidence of terrorism, target killing, extra judicial killing, dacoities, murders, abduction for ransom and investigations had made the lives of the people miserable. A careful study of the entire situation would reveal that the main cause of such heinous crimes and violence was corruption of the ruling class and an unequal distribution of wealth in the country.

He said that according to an estimate if 40 wealthiest families of the country transfer about half of their foreign assets back to Pakistan “we can not only clear all our foreign debts but can make Pakistan one of the fast developing countries of Asia.” He said as compared with these 40 families, no less than 40 per cent of Pakistan`s population, about 60 million people, were living below the poverty line and deprived of basic human rights. They had no future at all, he added.

Corruption, he said, was also a deadly weapon against merit. “Appointments made without merit give rise to inefficiency and false pride and the officials instead of serving the people start behaving like rulers as in the police department. Corruption denies the people justice.”

He said the Quaid-i-Azam had in his address to the first Constituent Assembly on august 11, 1947 had identified corruption as a cancer and had emphasised on rooting it out. “Thus the HRSP declares jihad against corruption from today by giving its human rights award to a brave man of Pakistan, Imran Khan, who has already launched a crusade against corruption in the country.”

He said Pakistan came into being on the basis of right to self-determination as an overwhelming majority of the Muslims of the sub-continent had voted for it to seek their human rights and self-respect. But, he lamented, during the past 63 years the rulers had disappointed them. “Enough is enough. The hot waves of the change are blowing. The civil society is rising and it has already won the battle for an independent judiciary and now the goal of complete independence is not far away which, Faiz Ahmad Faiz had been dreaming to realize,” he said.

He said real democracy and winning elections through fraud and malpractice were altogether different phenomena. He hoped the Election Commission would ensure free and fair elections, saying for this the Society would give The EC a special award.

The Society considered Imran Khan for the award for earning great fame by winning the 1992 cricket World Cup and then after his retirement from the game establishing a cancer hospital in memory of his beloved mother.

The HRSP has already given its 2008 award to Imran Khan for rendering great service to the people through his hospital where the treatment was given irrespective of patients` financial status.

The Society also recognised Khan`s political role in launching a war against corruption of the powerful.

Mr Justice K M A Samdani started his career as a lecturer at Islamia College, Peshawar and later joined civil service in 1955. In 1961 he switched over to the judiciary and became an additional district and sessions judge. Later, as a law secretary he confronted military dictator Ziaul Haq when the general in a meeting said he wished he could hang all secretaries upside down. To this, Mr Samdani retorted that he too would like to do the same with corrupt generals. After the meeting Gen Zia summoned him to force him to seek an apology for his remarks, but Mr Samdani replied; “Call another meeting of the secretaries, withdraw your words and I shall also withdraw mine.” Such a courage before a ruling military general is rare. As a high court judge he gave outstanding decisions, including the release of Z.A.Bhutto on a bail despite immense pressure. He also refused to take oath as a PCO judge. He is also a good columnist.

Senator Syed Fasih Iqbal is a leading journalist hailing from Quetta where he is the editor of daily Balochistan Times and Urdu daily Zamana. Starting his career as a journalist in 1955, he had been a human rights activist. He organised civil society in Balochistan and worked hard to awaken the conscience and consciousness of the people of the province to their civil rights. He helped them in getting their grievances addressed by not only highlighting these in his newspapers but also using his influence for the purpose. He has been brave enough to bear the pressure of Baloch Sardars and tribal chiefs as a representative of the downtrodden. He has been honoured with Hilal-i-Imtiaz and Sitara-i-Imtiaz for his meritorious services.

Dr Muneezay Bano is a social and human rights worker running an NGO, SAHIL, for the past 15 years which is working for the education and welfare of special children. She is an MPhil (Special Education) from Oslo, Norway, and a PhD from Punjab University. A special symbol dictionary for the special children is her great achievement. She is also a recipient of an award by the International Talent Art Club for her services for the special children. She is also working for the welfare of children in various jails of the country.