TI report on corruption lauds Indian SC, criticises Pak army

NEW YORK: An independent group has praised Indian Supreme Court for its efforts to fight corruption in government and political life but strongly criticised the Pakistani military for perpetuating corruption and flouting law for “grabbing land and companies” for its officers. “The Supreme Court takes corruption seriously in both the general and political domains. Political corruption is not confined to monetary considerations but extends to making false promises to secure votes, helping colleagues, conflicts of interest and manipulating law to help interested parties,” the report by Transparency International (TI) says. The apex court also brings the issue of corruption into its judgments, it says. It particularly refers to more than 300 laws placed in the “ninth schedule” to grant immunity from being tested in the courts. But the Supreme Court, it says approvingly, did away with immunity by observing that since the basic structure of the Constitution includes some of the fundamental rights, any law granted ninth schedule deserves to be tested against these principles. Referring to Pakistan, the report says that the share military controls was a “carefully guarded secret” until July last year when Ayesha Siddiqa, a civil servant who worked in defence accounting, published her book. According to her, full generals enjoy individual wealth of USD 8.3 million and President Pervez Musharraf has “converted USD 690,000 of army granted farmland into USD 10.3 million moveable assets,” it says and accuses military of “grabbing” land and companies. Pointing out the military has held power for most of the 60 years of the Pakistan’s existence, it says it is not surprising that arms procurement has provided a flourishing channel for corruption as “it also has in India and Sri Lanka.”
26 Jun, 2008, 0839 hrs IST, PTI


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