By Peer Muhammad
ISLAMABAD: Officials at a key ministry have proposed setting up special departments of the premier law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies in Gilgit-Baltistan to probe graft cases in development projects and other financial and administrative matters.
A senior officer in the ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan (KAGB) told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity that the ministry has sent a special recommendation to the Prime Minister Secretariat for formal approval of establishing these two institutions in G-B.
The move is aimed at curbing the menace of corruption in different ministries and departments.
In the absence of these two watchdogs, there is no mechanism in place for accountability at the provincial level. And that is probably why the ratio of corruption in the development project and in other financial matters is at an all time high compared to other parts of the country.
Recently, the G-B administration has sent a summary to the same ministry for taking action against some former secretaries, who served in the area and were allegedly involved in serious financial irregularities.
Besides, the proposed authorities will also probe into the corruption cases in the education and other departments, where jobs were sold out by the provincial ministers and bureaucrats during the five years of Syed Mehdi Shah-led government in the province.
The newly appointed G-B governor Chaudhry Barjees Tahir, who is also the federal minister of Kashmir Affairs and G-B, has specially requested the prime minister to allow establishing these institutions, which could ensure accountability in the region.
The officer revealed that though there are a number of graft complaints against the bureaucracy and some politicians in G-B there is no such provincial authority to investigate these cases.
The PM is expected to establish the creation of special departments during his upcoming visit to G-B.
Sources say Premier Nawaz Sharif is taking a keen interest in G-B affairs due to the proposed Diamer-Bhasha dam and Pakistan-China economic corridor.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2015.