ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi through his video message virtually addressed the ninth Session of the Conference of the States Parties (CoSP) to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which started in Egypt’s City Sharm el Sheikh on Tuesday.
In his address, the foreign minister underscored that corruption hampered Countries’ efforts to eradicate poverty, improve living standards and provide quality healthcare and education to their people.
The minister said that the COVID-19 pandemic had painfully laid bare the persisting inequalities which were generated and perpetuated by the scourge of corruption.
Therefore, he emphasized to effectively address challenge of corruption to ensure a better future for people across globe.
Talking about measures taken by the government to prevent and combat corruption, he said that Pakistan had undertaken many steps to build and strengthen robust systems for accountability, transparency, and integrity.
The foreign minister said that Pakistan had supplemented existing legislation to induce transparency and openness in the public sector including facilitating citizens’ right to information. He said that Pakistan was also employing ICT tools to combat corruption including the Pakistan Citizen’s Portal application to promote participatory governance and accountability of government entities and public officeholders.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi highlighted the existence of “financial safe havens” which thwarted the efforts to hold the corrupt accountable.
Therefore, he urged the Conference of State Parties to develop a comprehensive legal framework to halt and reverse illicit financial flows to stop grave economic injustice as the existing international anti-corruption framework remained inadequate to effectively ensure the recovery of stolen assets and their return to developing Countries.
The foreign minister emphasized on need of strong political will for the removal of all barriers and obstacles to the return of stolen assets which can be done through timely sharing of information, simplification of administrative and legal procedures, and avoidance of undue delays.
The minister also talked about resolution co-sponsored by Pakistan aimed at enhancing transparency into beneficial ownership information as enhancing transparency and access to beneficial ownership information was the first and crucial step in tackling impunity for corruption.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi hoped that that the Conference of States Parties would adopt the resolution by consensus.
The Conference of the States Parties (CoSP) is UNCAC’s main policymaking body. It supports States parties in the implementation of the Convention and gives policy guidance to Vienna-based UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to develop and implement anti-corruption activities.