The Ray of Hope against Corruption

Corruption has wide-ranging damaging effects on society and governance but its most deadly impact is always on the poor. Corruption in any society is inversely proportional to good governance. Undoubtedly, it provokes a range of economic and social problems. Corruption in Pakistan, like the rest of the world, has contributed greatly to multifaceted problems. It would be right if said that corruption is the vital cause of economic backwardness of Pakistan. This is the reason why Pakistan has lagged far behind the nations in the race of development and strict accountability at all levels is indispensable for solving all the problems.

Housing societies are pillars of socioeconomic development that aim to offer inhabitants with a safe and comfortable living environment. However, the hidden underbelly of the real estate market is showing numerous cases of fraud, with devastating consequences for customers hoping to acquire their own home. Unscrupulous management of various housing societies diverts funds intended for development and maintenance initiatives for personal benefit, leaving the society's infrastructure in shambles. Fraudsters use fake paperwork to sell homes that do not belong to them, causing legal issues for buyers. Fraud in housing societies presents major risks to tenants' well-being and investments.

NAB is the only law enforcement institution in Pakistan with the legal authority to investigate and prosecute the accusations of cheating public at large. The general public is a direct beneficiary of the good that NAB is doing, particularly in cases against the mafias defrauding the public at large under the guise of investment and housing scams. A recent significant relief so extended includes the recovery of Rs. 600 million by NAB Rawalpindi and distribution to concerned general public affectees in a case of housing fraud committed by M/s Arian City, Fateh Jang, Rawalpindi. On the occasion, Mr. Sohail Nasir, Deputy Chairman of the NAB, emphasized the necessity of achieving social justice and self-accountability in resolving societal concerns. He highlighted that public should only invest in legitimate and registered societies. He further stated that NAB would always strive to maintain high levels of professionalism in order to excel within the confines of the law.

Director General NAB, Rawalpindi, Mirza Irfan Baig stated that NAB aims to bring back the looted money to the national exchequer so that same could be used in projects meant for public good and also return the same to the rightful owners amongst the general public. Under the same objective, NAB through its best strategy and investigative performance has made a total direct recovery of 600 billion rupees, including the direct recovery of 39 billion rupees through the efforts of NAB Rawalpindi. Aside from that, the NAB's efforts in different instances have resulted in the indirect recovery of losses of government organizations and people totaling more than 320 billion rupees. Recovery of looted money is an ongoing process. He emphasized that nearly 50,000 individual victims of various frauds have regained their rights through the NAB's investigation and recovery process and that the effort of recovering more than Rs. 11.395 billion in various cases of NAB Rawalpindi is currently underway, which will be returned to the exchequer and affected parties after due course actions as required by law.

NAB's performance is praised both at home and abroad, and it has complete public trust. This success story would not have been feasible without the help of others. Various stakeholders, including the public administration, civil society groups, and the media, played critical roles in campaigning for anti-corruption policies as well as uncovering and completing corruption cases. Special mention should also be made of international organizations and foreign countries that have backed and provided support to Pakistan's anti-corruption programs through the exchange of information and evidence from their territories. NAB aspires to persist in doing its tasks with full responsibility and vigor while adhering to the law's zero-tolerance policy against corruption.
The month of December is dedicated to different awareness and prevention initiatives (A & P) in conjunction with the annual international anti-corruption day on December 9th. Although the NAB's A & P effort lasts the entire year in order to engage diverse stakeholders in its anti-corruption drive in Pakistan. Mr. Muhammad Faheem Qureshi, Director (A & P), NAB Rawalpindi, is currently leading the anti-corruption week activities from the 4th to the 10th of December in active collaboration with Rawalpindi Development Authority (CDA) and Capital Development Authority (CDA). Given the longstanding significance of religious institutions (Madrasah, Mosques, and other places of worship) in societal awareness, learning, and development, the NAB Rawalpindi/Islamabad has also requested the Federal Ministry of Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony, Islamabad, to engage the management of Madaris, mosques, and other places of worship to deliver public speeches on the topic: “The concept of halal and haram sustenance, social effects of corruption, and the duties of state and society in combating corruption”. The initiative intends to instill in the public a feeling of self-responsibility and to build a more watchful and educated society that actively engages in preventing and reporting fraudulent actions to relevant law enforcement organizations.

NAB's efforts to raise awareness, prevent crime, and enforce the law are to be appreciated. It is vital to increase openness, establish accountability procedures, and promote an integrity culture. I applaud the general public's participation in the national anti-corruption fight.  Let me remind the country that tackling corruption is not just the job of the government and the National Accountability Bureau. Individual and collaborative engagement at all levels is required for anti-corruption activities. It is every citizen's duty to play their full role in exposing and combating corruption around them within the legal boundaries.  Our individual anti-corruption obligations are also commanded by the Holy Qur'an, which states: He who purified himself succeeded, while he who did evil failed (Surah 91: Ayah 9-10). It is apparent that 'tazkiyah' – the self-accountability - is the source of success. It is, certainly, the pinnacle of one's religious and societal responsibilities; whether one is an individual, a group of individuals, an organization, or a nation. The NAB, therefore, believes that "Self-accountability is the best accountability." If we accomplish it at our individual levels, anti-corruption achievements will definitely help the entire society.

The writer holds a doctorate in Management Sciences  (Human Capital & Organization Development). He is serving as Additional Director in the NAB.

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