To combat the persistent, pervasive and omnipresent corruption in the country, we need to evolve and adopt a comprehensive and effective strategy to curb it. We can use a three dimensional accountability, it means a three dimensional or three-faceted extensive accountability modus operandi to nip the evil of corruption in the bud. This accountability consists of initiating an all-out, all-inclusive and across the board process of accountability in the country combating the monstrous corruption.

Firstly, the process of accountability should be all-inclusive covering all levels, from top to bottom without any exception. Secondly, in the latitudinal dimension, the action of accountability should be broad and across the board dealing with all the segments within the system. Of course, nobody is above the law. For the operation of accountability, there should not be any ‘no go area.’ It has been the common experience that some ‘untouchables’ have acted like thugs at times.

The third dimension of the process, representing the depth, is most important facet of the whole drive, in this context; there must be an all-out effort to combat corruption by mobilizing the extensive accountability mechanism and enforcement apparatus within a system. All the potential components dealing with accountability should work together in a well-coordinated manner. For this, all the regulators within the system should be mobilized to ensure the compliance with the rules by acting both, as watchdogs and whistleblowers. There are many regulatory bodies, both at the federal and provincial levels, like State Bank of Pakistan, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), NEPRA, PEMRA, OGRA, PTA, HEC, CAA, PBC, PMDC, Drugs Regulatory Agency of Pakistan etc. These regulators should be made more active and efficient to ensure an effective and transparent regulatory mechanism in the country.

Accountability agencies play a crucial role in any anti-corruption strategy and the people working there should be neat and clean or we would be creating bigger monsters. Their primary function is to investigate and prosecute the alleged crimes relating to corruption and malpractices. Instead of relying on the NAB only, other institutions like Public Accounts Committee of National Assembly, the FIA, the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), Federal and Provincial Ombudsmen, Tax Ombudsman, Auditor General of Pakistan and other institutions having some inbuilt accountability mechanism which should play their due role. Above all these departments, of course, there should be an autonomous, active and efficient premier accountability agency like NAB monitoring and coordinating the whole process of accountability in the country. Time is of the essence, and delay would be rather disastrous. Therefore, Urgent and effective counter-corruption measures are needed before the monster of corruption eats us out of house and home.

MOHSIN RAZA MALIK,

Lahore, January 9.