Sohaib Malik One of the major hurdles in the progress of third world countries is undoubtedly corruption. It is a known fact that the countries listed high on the corruption scale, in surveys and reports, are either least developed or developing countries. Meaning thereby, that 'corruption and 'underdevelopment tend to not only coexist together, but they also invigorate each other. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNC-AC) 2003 is the first substantial international communitys effort which showed 'concern about the seriousness of problems and threats posed by corruption to the stability and security of societies, undermining the institutions and values of democracy, ethical values and justice and jeopardising sustainable development and the rule of law. UNCAC poin-ted out certain important aspects about corruption such as organised crimes, money laundering, resource of state, political instability and sustainable development etc. It is now recognised as the global instrument for combating corruption. Moreover, it complements the anti-corruption conventions of the Organisation of American States (OAS), the African Union and the Council of Europe, the SADC Protocol against Corruption and the OECD Convention on combating bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions. Pakistan has both signed and ratified the UNCAC and is committed to the cause of anti-corruption. As a nation, however, we have witnessed many changes over the past 63 years, but, one thing has remained quite constant: i.e. the notoriety of the parliamentarians when it comes to their primary job of enacting the legislation. One of the most recent illustration which is reflective of the above mindset is the bill, namely Holders of Public Offices (Accountability) Act (HP-OA) 2009, introduced to repeal the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 and to enact a new law of accountability. The primary objective of the proposed HPOA is to crimi-nalise corruption and corrupt practices, if committed by any person holding a public office. Further, the HPOA aims to abolish National Accountability Bureau (NAB) under the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 and instead create an independent accountability commission which would operate under the control of the federal government. Apparently this shares the aim of UNCAC to minimise the corruption factor in the country; however, analytical study reveals major loopholes in the draft bill. Although, the bill represents an attempt by the current government to redefine anti-corruption measures in the light of extensive criticisms against NAB but it adopts a more restricted approach as compared to the NAO, covering solely holders of political office and adopting a narrower definition of corruption. The model of a specialist investigatory commission is retained but with reduced investigatory powers and a limitation period upon prosecutions. For instance, there is no power of arrest or to freeze assets. All offences are bailable. The model of a specialist court is discarded, in favour of trial before Sessions Courts, thus, putting more strain on the already stressed conventional court structure. Penalties continue to include imprisonment, fine and forfeiture but the disqualification period in relation to public office is considerably reduced, from 21 to five years. Two important procedural differences also arise from the bill. The first is the automatic acquittal of those returning misappropriated assets prior to trial. The second is the removal of the plea bargaining/pardon procedure. Prosecutions will be dependent upon the general criminal law set out in the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 and other relevant legislation. Investigatory powers will rest with the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) and various other investigatory agencies. It is a well known caveat that in the past these bodies have been criticised for their poor performance in this area. More importantly, the definition of corruption and corrupt practices defined in Article 11 of the bill does not include the definition of offences under the convention. Chapter III of UN-CAC lays down various provisions with respect to crimin-alisation and law enforcement of corruption as well as related offences. A list of offences which are dealt under the convention but have not been included in the proposed bill of HPOA include, among other things: embezzlement or other diversion of property by a public official; trading in influence; abuse of functions; bribery and embezzlement of property in the private sector; concealment; and obstruction to justice. The purpose of this article is not to criticise the legitimate exercise of the democratically elected government to legislate but to highlight various legal flaws which should be taken into account by the drafters of this bill in order to make Pakistan compliant with the international laws and its obligations on the subject. Under international law, once a state ratifies any international convention, it becomes a legal obligation upon it to implement the said convention, in letter and in spirit, while enacting a new law on the same subject matter. Consequently, it is Pakistans responsibility to adopt legislation for corruption which is in conformity with the obligations under various provisions of UNCAC. Accordingly, Pakistan has to realise that the proposed bill after its enactment will become an important legislation, which will entail vital consequences, both domestically and internationally. If the said bill is passed in its present form, it will not only make the law nearly impotent in its implementation, but more importantly, make Pakistan non-compliant with its international obligations, according to the UNCAC, and will be a cause for embarrassment on the international front. The writer is a practicing lawyer of the Lahore High Court and a research associate at the Research Society of International Law, Pakistan. Email: sohaib.malik@absco.pkp