Public Interest Disclosures Bill to be effective tool against corruption: Zahid Hamid

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ISLAMABAD, Aug 17 (APP): Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid on Thursday said that the Public Interest Disclosures Bill, 2017 is a part of anti-corruption campaign and it would play an important role in eradication of corruption from the country.
Expressing his views before the passage of this bill in the National Assembly, he said PML-N manifest also focuses on zero tolerance policy against corruption and passage of this bill would fulfill its commitment.
He said that those objecting on this bill did not submit their suggestions for amendments which is like the Whistle Blower Protection legislation.
It will provide protection to those employees who will make disclosure in their departments regarding corruption, he added.
He said that under the law an employee of any department can inform his head about corruption or illegality.
The minister said that it is not the freedom of information Bill and the Opposition lawmakers are mixing things.
Pakistan has ratified International Convention against Corruption and this bill is commitment at international level in eradicating the menace of corruption.
The minister said there have been strategic and security interests of the country which can’t be disclosed.
Later, the minister moved the bill after clause by clause reading by the Chair and the bill was passed.
According to the statement of objects and reasons of the bill, modern day economic crimes including money-laundering, fraud, embezzlement, kickbacks, commissions and other forms of corruption and corrupt practices have become increasing complex and, therefore, are difficult to be investigated and prosecuted.
Persons disclosing information relating to these crimes in the public interest (also called ‘whistle-blowers’) are often subjected to retaliation in form of discrimination, intimidation, abuse, unjust disciplinary action including dismissal, and even threats of physical harm to them and their families.
Protection of persons making such public interest disclosures, by reporting in good faith about acts of corruption and other wrongdoings and illegal activities, is integral to efforts to effectively combat corruption, promote public section integrity and accountability and support clean working environment.
The House also passed the Pakistan Tobacco Board (Amendment Bill), 2017 to amend the Pakistan Tobacco Board Ordinance, 1968.
Another bill, the Establishment of Federal Bank for Cooperatives and Regulation of Cooperative Banking (Repeal) Bill, 2017 was introduced in the House while the Election Bill, 2017 was also tabled.
Following a motion, the House also elected MNAs Dr. Muhammad Afzal Khan Dhandla, Abdul Qahar Khan Wadan, Ms. Naeema Kishwer Khan, Nawab Muhammad Yusuf Talpur and Shafqat Mehmood as members of the Board of Governors, National Book Foundation Islamabad as required by paragraph (ii) of sub-secton (7) of section 4 of the National Book Foundation Act 1972.