May 2004 News

AJK to control misuse of power

6 May 2004
The Dawn
Our Staff Correspondent

MUZAFFARABAD: The AJK Ehtesab Bureau has decided to devise an 'anti-corruption strategy' to arrest the misuse of power and financial bunglings in Azad Kashmir with the help of government departments , lawmakers and media, EB Chairman Sarfraz Iqbal announced here on Thursday. He said at a news conference that necessary legislation in this regard would be enacted soon and the government had assured him of its support. The chairman, who met AJK Prime Minister Sardar Sikandar Hayat on Wednesday, said the premier had also assured that the government would meet the needs of the organization, besides sending references to it for investigation. Recently the PM had taken strong exception to the working of the bureau, asking it not to 'victimize people in the name of accountability'. 'The bureau should eliminate the component of victimization from the accountability process or else the Ehtesab Act would be abolished,' the PM had remarked. The EB chief, who was appointed last year by AJK President Sardar Anwar Khan, claimed that the bureau had brought down the level of corruption. But, he said, elimination of corruption was not the responsibility of bureau alone. Every segment of society needed to pool efforts in this regard, he added. He denied allegations that the bureau had ever disgraced any respectable person or the investment had stopped and the development budget was getting lapsed because of it. He said honest persons should not have an iota of fear from the bureau. The bureau, he said, required at least 12 experts to make the accountability process effective, better and impartial, but for the past six months the file for the appointment of experts was awaiting sanction. 'When we seek reports from some departments in cases against government officials, we are told that everything is okay,' he regretted. Calling for a forceful political support to unearth and uproot the menace of corruption, he also claimed that the confidence of people in the bureau stood revived following the restructuring of the organization. In reply to a question, he said the bureau cannot produce results overnight. Its procedure took time, he added. Answering another question, he said 550 complaints were under process in the complaint cell, 250 under investigation, 42 under trial in the Ehtesab courts and 35 in the superior judiciary. 'But unfortunately, the bureau has a staff of hardly a dozen people to deal with such a heavy load of work.'

 

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