|By Arabian Post Staff| A dialogue of legislators and officials of India and Pakistan held in Dubai last week underscored the urgent need to improve conditions allowing for free dialogue and sharing of good practices among citizens of both countries. The Dubai event was the second in a series devoted to sharing of experiences on governance, democracy and the fight against corruption.
Participants from both sides expressed embarrassment that owing to the state of relations between Pakistan and India, the meeting had to be organised in a third country. The event was jointly organised by Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency and New Delhi-based Lokniti-CSDS.
Sharing of good practices on these key subjects once again underscored the critical need for regular dialogues and discussions among Pakistani and Indian citizens especially on areas that help improve the lives of citizens in two countries.
The participants appreciated the efforts of the two organisations in facilitating the exchange of good practices and asked that the exchange be broadened to include more areas of governance and democracy. They noted that the two countries face strikingly common challenges in functioning of the Local Government systems.
The two sides lamented the low ranking of both Pakistan and India on Corruption Perception Index and an indifference towards or the acceptance of sorts by the public of the prevalence of corruption in two countries.
Both sides believed that alongside effective institutions, the two countries require stronger affirmation by people that the rule of law shall prevail and a continuous strengthening of the accountability mechanisms.
The delegates agreed that political parties must also open themselves up for greater transparency by the citizens. Zero tolerance for corruption among their own rank and file and while choosing candidates for various elections by the parties will provide required impetus to effective anti-corruption in two countries, they said.
The importance of a pro-active role of civil society, use of smart technology and focus of the media on curbing corruption were also highlighted in dealing with the problems of corruption.
Experts who joined the dialogue included Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President of PILDAT, Shahid Hamid, Former Governor of Punjab; Mani Shankar Iyer, member of Indian parliament, George Mathew, Chairman, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, and Jagdeep Chhokar, founder and trustee, Association for Democratic Reforms New Delhi and many others.