LAHORE - Director General National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore Shahzad Saleem has said that the Bureau has recovered Rs290 billion from corrupt elements in 18 years and deposited the money into national treasure.

Addressing the participants of a function held to mark International Anti-Corruption Day at Alhamra Arts Council Lahore on Thursday, the DG NAB said that media should present the real face of the corruption watchdog before public.

Former chief justice of LHC Mian Allah Nawaz was the chief guest while, senior journalist Sohail Warraich, columnist Ikram Sehgal, poet Amjad Islam Amjad also spoke as guest speakers on the occasion. Mr. Shahzad said that civil society and media were pivotal pillars of the state and in collaboration with these segments anti-corruption campaign could be strengthened. The DG said that the NAB was taking serious steps to eradicate corruption from society and for this purpose; thousands of character building societies (CBS) had been established at school, college and university levels.

“Unemployment is one of the major problems in our country and because of that a number of people are compelled to commit crimes.” NAB faces numerous hurdles to get corrupt punished but, besides the difficulties, the conviction ratio stood at 76 percent while comparing with other anti-corruption bodies who had that ratio less than 10 percent.

Throwing light on Plea Bargain law, Shahzad said “The Bureau is not a laundry for corrupts and plea bargain does not mean ‘forgiveness’. Without proof NAB cannot satisfy courts in the cases of plea bargain whereas, NAB has so far recovered Rs290 billion and deposited in government exchequer.

According to the PILDAT Survey, the NAB remained successful to win 42 percent trust of the people while police held 30 percent trust votes among masses. He said “Four years ago, in corruption perception index (CPI), Pakistan was at 126 number among 175 countries. Now Pakistan stands at 112th position in the index, he added. Addressing as a guest speaker on the occasion, Amjad Islam Amjad said by creating awareness among students of colleges and universities, anti-corruption campaign could be made successful and by organizing these events, people will be instigated to curb corruption. During his address, Sohail Warraich said leveling allegations against government departments for their betterment was the moral obligation of journalism and the society where criticism vanishes, turns into a graveyard, but NAB has flourished and has delivered too.

Columnist Ikram Sehgal highlighted the resources of Pakistan by saying, “Our country has largest gold and copper reserves in the world.”

Former chief justice Mian Allah Nawaz stated that good and evil traits existed in a man at the same time and economical imbalance creates social immorality among people.

Later, NAB Lahore distributed prizes among students who got first positions in painting, poetry, singing, speech and essay writing competitions.

Anti-Corruption Awareness Walk was organised as a concluding event.