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|Corruption in Pakistan - Internet to the Rescue!|
|11/29/00 at 00:31:44|
I did not expect to find this on a IT web site. It appears the cure for all ills is the Internet! :)
Pakistan Using Web To Fight Graft
(11/28/00, 7:55 p.m. ET) By Barnaby Page, TechWeb News
Pakistan's military government has a new weapon in its war against corruption: the Web.
The National Accountability Bureau, founded a year ago by the country's chief executive, General Pervez Musharraf, has gone online with a website that asks Pakistanis to inform on corrupt politicians, civil servants, and businessmen.
"Today, most of the problems being confronted by our country are a fallout of corruption," said the NAB, which since it was established shortly after Musharraf took power and dissolved parliament has recovered $450 million in bribes, kickbacks, stolen property, and defaulted loans.
Although Internet use in Pakistan is low, the government is hoping that the ease of use and -- if desired -- anonymity of the website will encourage citizens to help it stamp out corruption, which has been a cornerstone of Musharraf's policy.
There are about 60 ISPs and some 150,000 Internet users in Pakistan -- little more than 0.1 percent of the population.
But that figure is trebling each year, according to local reports.
Corruption is so ingrained in the Pakistani system that the NAB itself has not been immune from accusations.
NAB prosecutor Farook Adam and deputy Ismat Mehdi unexpectedly lost their jobs earlier this month, following a long campaign against them by former prime minister and current Pakistan People's Party chairperson Benazir Bhutto.
Bhutto, who had been the subject of NAB investigations, said she had evidence Adam had tried to influence judges -- just the kind of under-the-table activity Musharraf's reformers are now trying to prevent through the Internet.
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