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Programme Papers from the 9th IACC
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The 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference

The Papers

The Case of Pakistan (UNDP Programme for Accountability and Transparency and the OECD Development Centre on Comparative Country Case Studies in Anti-Corruption)

1986: end of the military rule

Since then:

  • no single government has finished its mandate
  • each of them has been dismissed on corruption grounds



  • Role of the State in the economy
    • Use of State's regulatory power to grant favors
    • Large bureaucracy, hierarchical and secretive
  • Impact of the amounts of aid in the 80s


  • Consequences of long periods of military rules: strong Executive and weak counter-powers/army perceived as the only strong and clean institution
  • Political instability and erratic election process
  • Regional and ethnic fragmentation and no strong sense of community

Anti-corruption Initiatives in Pakistan

The experience of the 1997 caretaker government:

  • Asymmetry of information: Freedom of Information Act
  • Discretionary power in the public administration
    • suppression of discretion
    • in cases where it is necessary, decision has to be transparent
  • Independent agency to sanction corruption (Ehtesab)
  • Issue of political corruption
    • corruption in elections
    • corruption in the granting of loans


  • Follow-up: none, or distorted
  • Context: non-elected government in office for 3 months (not affected by constraints of the political economy)

Control and Sanctions Institutions

  • Legal basis not always sufficient to guarantee full independence and efficiency
    Example: shortcomings in the current reform of the Auditor-General
    • No functional independence from the Executive
    • No elimination of the problem of clash of interest (accounting and audit functions)

Current Anti-corruption Institutions

  • "Rule--of-thumb": institutions often practically dependent on the Executive and cautious in their attitude towards corruption
    • legally entitled to process corruption cases, which he declines to do in order to be able to pursue cases of maladministration without undue pressure.
  • Most vocal institution: the Ehtesab commission (accountability commission)
    • Independent agency created in 1997 by caretaker government
    • Early 1998 amendment: adjunction of an 'Ehtesab Bureau', solely responsible to launch investigations, and dependent from Government

Structural Reforms

  • Reforms towards less involvement of the State in the economy (privatization)
  • Reforms towards better fiscal balance


  • Uneven record
  • Opposition from vested interests
  • No reforms of the civil service.

Weakness and Scarcity of Non Governmental Initiatives on Anti- corruption

  • Public cynicism
  • Inability of CS to mobilize
      High illiteracy
    • Governmental constraints on NGO registration/activities and on press freedom
  • Social apathy


  • Economic difficulties may trigger reforms
  • Need to structure demand for anti-corruption by the new urban middle-class
  • Bottom-up?

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