Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

24 January 2020, Friday

Corruption in Pakistan has worsened in 2019: Transparency International:

Slipped three ranks (117th rank) since 2018

PR Daily Brief | Lakshmi V Menon

24 January 2020, Friday

On 23 January 2020, Transparency International, an INGO based in Berlin, published the results of the Corruption Perception Index for 2019 placing Pakistan at the 120th rank, between Moldova and Niger, with 32 points. The country has slipped three ranks (117th rank) and dropped a point (33 points) since 2018. Simply put, in Pakistan, corruption has worsened. The opposition blamed the government.

CPI ranks 180 countries “by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.” A scale of zero to 100 is applied wherein zero indicates “highly corrupt” and 100 indicates “very clean”. In 2019, over two-thirds of countries scored below 50, fixing the average at 43; 11 points higher than Pakistan’s score. The country was the fifth lowest in South Asia, only above Maldives (130), Bangladesh (146) and Afghanistan (173).

A huge blow to Pakistan Tehreek e-Insaaf and Imran Khan who won the 2018 elections through anti-corruption and merit promotion promises. It is the worst standing in the past five years. Since 2015, while the “corruption mafia” (as Imran Khan branded) ruled, Pakistan’s Corruption index was 116-117. PTI has provided amnesty to the corrupt and paralyzed the graft buster, National Accountability Bureau through a presidential ordinance. While commoners were tax-burdened, affluent sectors enjoyed tax waivers. However, Chairman TI Pakistan Sohail Muzaffar credited NAB, under Justice® Javed Iqbal, with better performance in 2019.

The report comes immediately after US’ remarks (23 January 2020) on spiking corruption and lack of transparency regarding CPEC and in Pakistan at large and Imran Khan’s dismissive response claiming that past civil-military conflicts were due to corruption whereas his government and the military are in sync. 

Corruption poses a pressing integrity risk hindering international investment in Pakistan through collusive contracting, persistent security hazards and macro-economic uncertainty. Telecommunications, energy, textiles and infrastructure are prospective areas for foreign investment. Large foreign investors are generally less vulnerable and bring along foreign bribery laws which percolate across conglomerate chains forcing compliance amongst local firms; thus, tackling corruption. Nevertheless, a better level of transparency is necessary to attract such investors.

TI put forth monitoring political financing, solidifying checks and balances, regulating preferential treatment, controlling lobbying, empowering citizens, and managing conflicts of interest as methods to tackle corruption.

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