Corruption ranking

The eradication of corruption and returning looted wealth either stashed abroad or in possession of influential personalities was one of the defining elements PTI’s manifesto which brought it to power. Despite the passage of over two years, the situation is a lot worse than before.

According to the newly-released Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) by Transparency International, Pakistan had dropped four spots over the last year and is now ranked 124 out of 180 countries. The country’s corruption score also dropped to 32 indicating that the perception of corruption in the public sector has worsened.

Last year Pakistan was ranked 120 but the government has blamed previous regimes and said the data used was from previous years and was not reflective of its performance. The Pakistan chapter of Transparency International had clarified that the rating does not reflect an increase or decrease in corruption. However, this year the data has been made public and the government cannot blame past regimes or that the data was collected from earlier years.

The main reason why Pakistan has dropped its year is due to listing on the ‘Rule of Law Index’ by two independent organisations – Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) and World Justice Project. This relates to the corruption of government officials, legislatures, judiciary, police, military and other public sector organisations. The government needs to expedite efforts and improve its performance in these sectors.

The NAB has claimed that it has made extraordinary efforts and recovered Rs363 billion within two years and Public Accounts Committee has also claimed to recover Rs300 billion. Nevertheless, it can be seen that corruption has been rising in the public sector without reforms. The anti-graft watchdog has retained laws such as plea bargain and voluntary returns without punitive action which encourages corruption among bureaucrats and civil servants.

It can be argued whether the ranking on the index is the failure of the PTI government but what is certain is that more efforts need to be made for rule of law and taking action against public sector officials.  The government has to accept the reality and the challenges ahead rather than merely dismissing an acclaimed report.

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