ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi Sunday while terming the corruption as the biggest impediment in national development urged the anti-corruption institutions to plug the financial leakages to execute the dream of a ‘Naya Pakistan’. Addressing a seminar on ‘Our Faith, Corruption-Free Pakistan’ held by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day, the president said the agenda of leaving behind a country free of corruption was of vital importance. Recalling his ant-corruption efforts throughout life, the president said it took long to create resonance of corruption among the masses. He viewed that no society could claim to be corruption-free as it existed everywhere with varying levels. He said the absence of rule of law cast negative impact on society and said the impartiality, competence and strategy were a must for the institutions mandated to eliminate corruption. He said carrying out investigation on the basis of one’s assets was an Islamic as well as worldwide practice to probe the white collar crimes. The president, who earlier inaugurated a commemorative postal stamp and fifty rupee coin inscribed with anti-corruption messages, said the non-implementation of laws begot corruption and lawlessness. He desired a more powerful NAB and urged the institution to also excel in the prosecution to enhance the conviction rate.The president said the corrupt people were not looked well in the society and hoped that the country would witness drastic changes if the institutions kept going after corrupt elements. He said it was unfortunate that the people had looted and laundered billions of dollars from Pakistan where the children were begging in streets and the government was vying for funds to create a breathing space for the national economy. He was hopeful of the success of the idea of Naya Pakistan where the poor would have no worry for the education and healthcare and everyone would enjoy equal employment opportunities.The president also distributed commendation certificates among the best performing NAB officers and mementos to the guest speakers which followed the presentation of memento to him by the NAB chairman. The event was attended by NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal, Country Representative of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes Cesar Guedes and a huge number of accountability officers from across the country. Separately, in a message on the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day, President Dr Arif Alvi said corruption in Pakistan hurts the economy as well as business, adding that corrupted economies remained unable to function properly because corruption prevented free functioning of natural laws of the economy.”Although it has wide spread implications on our lives, the economy bears the main brunt and in turn sabotages prosperity of the nation,” he said.The president noted that the corruption in a nation’s political and economic operations caused its entire society to suffer.”Each year billions of rupees of the public money are lost because of corruption in the form of embezzlements, bribes and misappropriation of funds which directly affect the ability of the government to provide even proper basic services to the public and denies them their fundamental rights,” he added. He noted that the sheer scale of the challenge called for combined efforts to confront this challenge head on.”The government is committed to eradicate this cancer. The NAB alone cannot win this fight,” he added, and called upon all segments of society to stand together in bringing about the change in their behaviors and contribute toward efforts in putting an end to corruption to support economic growth in order to bring prosperity. He said the corruption was now taken as one of the world’s greatest challenges. “It is a major hindrance against development and prosperity and corrosive for the very fabric of society and economic prosperity. This day serves as reminder not only to the people of Pakistan but also to the citizens of all the nations around the globe about harmful effects of corruption,” he said.”No country is free from this menace; it poses threat to the very fabric of all societies,” he added. Published in Daily Times, December 10th 2018.