Despite the government claims of tackling corruption and launching a stringent accountability drive, Pakistan has fared poorly in a new global report released by Transparency International.
According to the report, Pakistan slipped three points in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) and is ranked 120th out of 180 countries. Pakistan managed to score only 32 points while the global average was 43, and also a point lower than 2018. The CPI is the leading global indicator of public sector corruption. It scores and ranks countries based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be by experts and business leaders.
This year, the CPI revealed that a majority of the countries are showing little or no improvement. Corruption is more pervasive in countries where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen to the voices of the wealthy or well-connected individuals. More than two-thirds of countries – along with many of the world’s advanced economies – are not improving or are showing signs of backsliding in the anti-corruption record.
The ranking reversal this year raises questions over accountability and the eradication of corruption touted as PTI’s foremost campaign objective. The local chapter of Transparency International clarified Pakistan’s worsening situation and stated that the perception of rising corruption in Pakistan was in line with the worsening views of public sector organizations globally.
The PTI government has been criticized for clipping the wings ofNAB and preventing the anti-graft watchdog from investigating affluent businessmen and industrialists. Another reason for Pakistan’s decline is the lack of stronger enforcement on campaign finance regulations and broader range of political consultation.
Chairman Transparency International has said that frustration with government perception and lack of trust in institutions speaks to a need for great political integrity. This means that people perceive public sector organizations as corrupt. Pakistan’s economic stablisation has led to rising prices and a persistent flour and wheat crisis which is having an impact on the public.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that reforms are painful as they affect the common man. He has termed 2020 as the year of prosperity. This will not deter his critics from claiming that the government has failed to tackle corruption. The prime minister needs to take tougher decisions as his claims of a developing a welfare state and eliminating corruption are still a far away dream.