ISLAMABAD: Five Pakistani civil servants this week received awards from a global campaign for demonstrating honesty, loyalty and diligence in their respective fields.
The Pakistanis were awarded as part of Integrity Icon, a campaign run by Accountability Lab, a global trans-local network that seeks to reward honest government officials in a bid to discourage corruption.
The Integrity Icon awards originated in Nepal in 2014 and have since spread to ten countries around the world: Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Liberia, South Africa, Mexico, and the United States. This was the sixth year the event took place in Pakistan.
This year’s winners included Zil-e-Huma, a deputy director at the Press Information Department in Islamabad, Shahzadi Noshad, a deputy superintendent of Police Traffic-Incharge in Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Romana Murad Khoso, a Section Officer from Quetta, Balochistan, Nasir Bashir, an assistant professor at the Government Diyal Singh in Lahore, Punjab, and Muhammad Naseer Musvi, a deputy director (Admin) at the Directorate of Schools Education (Primary) in Sukkur, Sindh.
Pakistan dropped 16 places on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2021 compared to the previous year, ranking 140 out of 180 countries, Transparency International said in a report in January.
“There is a perception of structural corruption in all government departments, but it always depends on individuals as to how they make a positive change by being honest and diligent,” Huma, who was awarded at a ceremony on Wednesday, told Arab News.
She urged women officers to take initiative in their respective offices and set an example for others.
“Always promote individuals in your offices who believe in honesty and hard work,” she said.
Another winner, Noshad, said she drew her honesty from her father, an army officer.
“It is nothing less than a daily test to remain honest during the public dealing, and thank God, I’ve done it," she told Arab News.
“I always wanted to become a role model for our young girls especially in the conservative Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and I keep trying to contribute to society,” she said.
“Being honest and upright in our society isn’t easy,” she added. “I have spent twenty-eight years of career on thorns, but I’m proud of never being indulged in corruption and bribe.”
Noshad said that she was known as a “tough officer” in her department who would not spare any corrupt official: “They know me, that I’ll take them to the cleaners in case of any corruption complaint."
Bashir, a renowned author of many books and a poet who has been teaching Urdu at the government college for the last 26 years, said he did his job without any expectation of praise or reward.
“I strongly believe in hard work, and always try to pay back to the society by putting my best in polishing my students,” he said.
“Our society is full of unsung heroes who have been contributing through their honesty and their hard work should be recognised and lauded,” he said.
Another winner, Musvi, appointed a primary school teacher in Sindh in 1983, said he had since been struggling for a "just and honest society."
“Being honest and upright in our society isn’t easy, you have to face countless challenges,” he said.
“A fish rots from the head down,” he added. “If the head of a government office is honest and upright, they will always ensure transparency and integrity down to their all staff.”