ISLAMABAD: Transparency International – Pakistan (TI-P) has asked government to abolish voluntary return and plea bargain provision to discourage corruption in the country.
In an official statement, TI-P has issued a country report on Sustainable Development Goal 16. The report is based on the SDG16 Monitoring Methodology consisting of 175 indicators and is developed by Transparency International Secretariat.
Chairman TI Pakistan, Sohail Muzaffar said “Goal 16 is a cross-cutting goal as it emphasizes on the critical importance of governance, strong institutions and justice as pre-requisite for overall development and progress of any country. The key findings of the report highlight that the incumbent government has undertaken relevant reforms which are in line with the targets of Goal 16. However, there are important policy areas which need improvement”.
He further stated that this report provides an independent appraisal of Pakistan’s progress towards four SDG targets linked to Goal 16 – 16.4 (illicit financial and arms flows), 16.5 (reduce bribery and other forms of corruption), 16.6 (transparent and accountable institutions) and 16.10 (access to information). Transparency International chapters and partners in more than 12 countries have produced civil society parallel reports based on a common methodology to assess their government’s progress towards Goal 16.
The report also makes a series of recommendations that the federal and provincial governments should prioritise in order to achieve Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals;(i) provision for Voluntary Return and Plea Bargain should be abolished to discourage corruption;(ii) ensure compliance with FATF recommendations;(iii) Election Commission code of conduct for internal democratic governance of political parties, should be strictly enforced ;(iv) political parties must have independent audits, disclose their source of funding, financial spending and make audit reports online for public scrutiny;(v) pass whistleblower protection legislation at provincial levels;(vi) ensure that right-to-information requests are effectively processed;(vii) improve transparency of public procurement processes in government contracting;(viii) mechanisms should be designed to engage any civil society organization during budget formulation and (ix) the government needs to embrace and facilitate adoption of the concept of open government.