Statement by Mr. Saad Ahmad Warraich, Counsellor under agenda item 86 "The rule of law at the national and international levels: measures to prevent and combat corruption" (22 October 2020)

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of Iran on behalf of the NAM.

We thank the Secretary General for his report on strengthening and coordinating United Nations rule of law activities. The subtopic for this session, “measures to prevent and combat corruption”is apt and timely.

Corruption is an ‘insidious plague’ with a wide range of corrosive effects on societies and economies across the world.By diverting resources from where they are needed most, it impedes delivery of basic services, undermines trust in institutions and hampers the ability of developing countries to mobilize domestic finance. This is particularly manifestin the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The figures of stolen wealth from corrupt practices including bribery, tax evasion and money laundering are staggering - according to estimates, the global cost of corruption is US$ 2.6 trillion annually. What is needed is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary and integrated global approach to fight corruption. Full implementation of theUN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) remains indispensable.

The following steps are worth considering:

The forthcoming Special Session of the General Assembly on Corruption in 2021 provides an ideal opportunity to take concrete and substantive steps to this end.

Mr. Chairman,

Fighting corruption is at the heart of the agenda of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The foundation of ‘naya’ Pakistan is laid on the vision of promoting a culture of accountability and zero tolerance for corruption. The government recognizes that a “corruption free Pakistan” is not merely an end in itself; it is also an essential precursor to ensure rule of law, eradicate poverty, address socio-economic inequalities and achieve inclusive and sustainable development for all.

The government has adopted a holistic whole of the society approach to achieve this goal. A robust legal framework including the National Accountability Ordinance (1999) and the Anti-Money Laundering Act (2010), a vibrant youth, an engaged civil society and a free media, act as standard bearers of this national cause.

These efforts are already bearing fruit: in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government rolled-out the largest social protection initiative in Pakistan’s history – cash dispersal worth US$ 1 billion to over 16 million households across the country. Despite its ambition and scale, the ‘Ehsaas’ emergency cash programme has been widely praised for its transparency and effective outreach to 109 million people, nearly half the population of Pakistan.

Mr. Chairman,

A rules-based international order can only be built on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter - sovereign equality of states, non-use or threat of use of force and pacific settlement of disputes. These immutable principles remain as relevant today as ever.

Self-arrogated claims of ‘privilege’ by a misplaced sense of entitlement run counter to these ideals. They seek to revive outdated notions based not on the rule of law but on brazen projection of power.

This is a betrayal of all that the United Nations stands for. We should not be guilty of this betrayal.

I thank you.