LAHORE - Though the number of corruption cases has witnessed a decrease during the previous year, its volume has increased in the country, Head of Transparency International in Pakistan yesterday said. Adil Gilani, chief of Transparency International Pakistan, while talking to The Nation, said the organisation came up with its opinion about the state of corruption in the light of media reports and the complaints received from people during the year. Otherwise, he said, the TIP was not an investigating agency.

The latest report, released by TIP, says as compared to other regional countries, Pakistan has improved its position. According to the TIP chief, Sindh is the most corrupt and KP the least one while Punjab and Balochistan are equal in this regard. Gilani said he had no statistics about the number of corruption cases or the magnitude of amounts involved.

Asked if it was morally justifiable for him to present a report on the state of corruption during the PML-N rule when he was a consultant to the prime minister, the TIP chief said, “I am neither an employee of the Pakistan government nor am I getting any salary against my services. The Pakistan government sought help from me to point out corruption and this is what I am doing for them”. The report on the state of corruption in Pakistan was compiled on the basis of the information he provided to the TI’s Berlin office.

It may be pointed out that the status of Gilani as a TIP representative has been challenged in the Lahore High Court. A writ petition says the appointment of Gilani as the TIP chief is illegal because of his role in the government. There is no post of consultant or adviser in the Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission according to the statute governing the PMIC, the petition said. The appointment was made in a dubious manner and is nothing but favoritism and violation of the fundamental rights of the citizens of Pakistan, the petition said.

The Punjab government, in its response, claimed Mr Gilani was neither holding any public office nor was he involved in decision-making. Presently, the head of Transparency International is Sohail Muzaffar and Gilani is engaged on honorary basis. He has not been appointed against a sanctioned post, so he is not drawing any salary from the budget of the PMIC and the government exchequer. He was offered boarding, lodging and travelling expense, which was not accepted by the Transparency International.

A noted expert on international law, Ahmer Bilal Sufi, said the conflict of interests would badly affect the performance of the anti-corruption watchdog. He said since the government had already anti-corruption experts in National Accountability Bureau (NAB), there was no need to seek a consultant from a private firm. “Services of such officials could be sought from the NAB. I cannot comprehend the need for taking a consultant from TIP,” he added.

Justice (r) Wajihuddin Ahmed said the appointment appears mala fide and needs a probe. “This is a violation of law. It would badly affect the performance of the TIP,” he said, adding there were laws to check appointments of the individuals having conflict of interests. Former attorney general and an ex-governor, Latif Khosa, alleged the Sharifs have a tendency of bribing those who could resist their corruption. “The Supreme Court of Pakistan has given numerous judgments for making appointment in the public institutions. None of the criteria has prima facie been followed and adopted while making the appointment of the respondent,” the petition reads.