LAHORE - The menace of corruption has become the most serious issue of Pakistan and due to corrupt practices of the elite class the countrys economy is facing an irreparable loss, say speakers at a discussion on Who are responsible for corruption in Pakistan and how can we get rid of this menace? The Nation, Nawai-I-Waqt and Waqt TV organised the debate on Tuesday at Aiwan-i-Waqt. The speakers, including former director general NAB Punjab, Brig (r) Farooq Hameed Khan, central secretary information PTI Umer Sarfaraz Cheema and Istaqlal Partys chairman Syed Manzoor Gilani, said military governments of Pakistan were responsible for the menace of corruption as there was no corruption in the country before the government of Field Marshal Ayub Khan. They said Ayub Khan rooted the seed of corruption by awarding route permits and licenses to start various business concerns and the military dictators including General Yayha Khan, General Zia-ul-Haq and General (r) Pervez Musharraf followed the footsteps of their predecessor. While the civilian governments learning no lessons from the military dictators also followed their suit in strengthening the roots of corruption in the country. They said Pervez Musharraf brought NRO that practically stopped the process of accountability in the country. There should be no interference of government in the process of accountability and it should be held across the board, they suggested. It was a must for the smooth running of the accountability process and judiciary that the political system in the country should be put in the right direction, the speakers observed. Brig (r) Farooq Hameed Khan said economy of Pakistan was facing serious challenges due to the corruption and the federal minister of finance has not only acknowledged the fact but also said that FBR was facing a yearly loss of Rs 500 billion due to the corrupt practices. The PIA, Wapda, CDA, HBFC were bearing losses due to the financial mismanagement, he remarked. He said Pakistan Steel Mill was giving a yearly profit of Rs 2 billion two years ago but now it was bearing loss of Rs 22 billion per year. He said process of accountability was practically stopped when Pervez Musharraf brought NRO in the country. The incumbent government had announced it would abolish the NAB and establish a new independent accountability commission. But despite passing one year neither the NAB was abolished nor a new independent accountability commission was set up, he said. Any accountability commission or law could work if there was no political interference in its working and the accountability should be held across the board, he suggested. He said opposition in Musharrafs regime had filed 75 references of corruption in NAB and they should reach a logical end now. Umer Sarfaraz Cheema said the countrys economy was facing an irreparable loss due to the corrupt practices of the elite class. He said a petty thief is put behind bars and a person who looted billion of rupees was provided with perks and privileges. He said institution of accountability and judiciary should be independent and no one should be above the law especially the ruling elite, otherwise no accountability law would work in this country.