Seminar on Whistleblower and Right to Information

Venue : Movenpick Hotel, Karachi
Date : 9th June 2014

Transparency International-Pakistan recently published National Integrity System Annual Report 2014, which is a product of a two year extensive research. The focus of the research was primarily aimed at assessing the strengths and weaknesses in 13 Pillars that are the foundation of the integrity system of the country. This broad research culminated in the identification of two major recommendations, Right to Information and Whistleblower protection, and TI-Pakistan believes that the implementation of these recommendations will not only help promote transparency in the public and private sector dealings but will play a pivotal role in combatting the menace of corruption from the country. In the spirit of education TI-Pakistan in collaboration with National Accountability Bureau conducted the seminar to spread awareness and to highlight the importance and the dire need of having these laws enacted and practiced. The seminar commenced with the name of Allah in form of recital of the Quranic Ayaat, followed by translation in English and Urdu language. Mr. Sohail Muzaffar, Chairman TI-Pakistan started the session with his speech stating that the seminar is a result of the National Integrity Systems (NIS) Research. He urged that government should take measures in ensuring that Rights to Information law and Whistle-blower Protection laws be enacted which will help ordinary Pakistanis to hold leaders and local officials accountable. He also stressed that public institutions should prioritise anti-corruption efforts and take concrete actions to address risks of whistle blowing which will help build public trust. He added that the government must establish efficient monitoring and integrity mechanisms across all sectors to bridge the gap between law and practice.
Deputy Chairman NAB Rear Admiral Saeed Sargana spoke about the efforts made by NAB to raise awareness among citizens of the country on how to assist NAB in the prevention of corruption. He committed all protection to those who are willing to expose corruption and appreciated the efforts by Transparency International Pakistan in supporting NAB.
Mr. Syed Wajid Ali Durrani, DG NAB Sindh highlighted the importance of freedom of information as a much needed tool to help reduce the level of corruption in the society. He also emphasized how whistle-blower and the laws required for protection of whistle-blower can play a key role in identifying corrupt practices. He also spoke on the role of NAB on these two important issues.
Mr Saad Rashid, Executive Director, TI Pakistan gave a presentation on the National Integrity System Research that was carried out during the past two years. He said that the purpose of carrying out this research is to evaluate the key institutions of governance which are responsible for the progress of integrity and how it can eliminate corruption from the country. He also stated that the research analyses the existing anti-corruption mechanisms and their effectiveness by studying 13 pillars or institutions for their role in fighting corruption. He also gave the list of pillars that were assessed and are as follows; Legislature, Executive. Judiciary, Law Enforcement Agencies, Election Commission, Ombudsman, Supreme Audit Institutions, Anti-Corruption Agencies, Public Sector, Media, Civil Society Political Parties and Business. The NIS research highlights the vital role that Right to Information and Whistle-blower Protection legislation can play in the development of the country.
Mr Adil Gilani, Advisor TI Pakistan followed the presentation by Mr. Saad Rashid and in his speech he compared the Right to Information Laws of both the Federal and Provincial Government. He pointed the weaknesses in these laws and their poor implementation. He also suggested recommendations for the Government on how to strengthen these laws.
Ms Maryam Javaid, Programme Coordinator TI Pakistan also stressed the importance of having Right to Information and Whistle-blower protection laws as presence of these oversight elements will help promote rule of law in Pakistan. She said �It is not just the law but it is the implementation of the law that is lacking in Pakistan. Everyone talks about corruption but what are you going to do about it. It is high time that the people of Pakistan stand up and start practising the law, it will be hard in the beginning but we will eventually succeed. The
Government�s job is to protect its citizens by introducing Whistle blower protection in the country and then making sure it is implemented in letter and spirit.�
In the end a Question and Answer session was held where the audience was given a chance to raise their concerns for clarification. The seminar ended with the dinner at the end.