ISLAMABAD: Mirpurkhas Deputy Commissioner Shehryar Gul was announced the winner of the 2018 Integrity Idol award at a ceremony on Tuesday.

Mr Gul was chosen out of more than 300 nominees for his dedication to serving citizens and carrying out his duties honestly. He was announced the winner before national officials and dignitaries, including high-level political party representatives, foreign ambassadors, public servants and citizens.

The chief guest at the event of Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi congratulated the shortlisted nominees present and the winner.

He added that the Integrity Idol initiative would have a trickledown effect to promote integrity in the social fabric.

Mr Gul won the popular vote after tens of thousands of people voted online and through SMS after seeing videos of the nominees on television and social media.

The Accountability Lab said all the nominees were winners, as they were chosen as people with integrity within their provinces before a popular vote.

The four other shortlisted nominees were Quetta Additional Commissioner Revenue Batool Asadi, Islamabad Social Welfare Officer Aamir Shehzad Shah, the Elite Force district commander in Shangla Amjad Iqbal and assistant professor in the Federal Urdu University’s Department of Mass Communications Azadi Fateh in Karachi.

The nomination process for the 2019 Integrity Idol was also opened at the ceremony.

Accountability Lab Pakistan Country Director Fayyaz Yaseen said: “We saw incredible energy today from the young people of Pakistan who have truly shown that they support and want to celebrate honest leaders.”

He added: “Let’s move away from ‘naming and shaming’ and towards ‘naming and faming’ those who uphold the Pakistani values of honesty, integrity and accountability.”

Integrity Idol is a global initiative that began in Nepal five years ago and has now spread to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Mali, Nigeria, Liberia, South Africa and Mexico.

In each country, local teams run a nationwide campaign to identify civil servants who demonstrate integrity in their work, and officials are nominated and voted on by the public.

This was the third competition in Pakistan, and it received hundreds of nominations. The competition was run in collaboration with the United Nation Development Programme and Hum News.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2018