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Despite Prime Minister Imran Khan's campaign against the corrupt, the country has slipped three levels on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI)-2019 Image Credit: AFP/file

Dubai: Despite Prime Minister Imran Khan’s tall claims to eradicate corruption in the country, Pakistan has slipped three more places on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI)-2019.

It means that the corruption is more rampant in Pakistan compared to 2018. It is even worse than 2016 and 2017 when according to Prime Minister Imran ‘the corrupt mafia’ was ruling the country.

Pakistan’s ranking dropped from 117 in 2018 to 120 out of 180 countries on the CPI-2019, according to a report released on Thursday by Transparency International (TI), an international non-governmental organisation based in Berlin. Pakistan has not so far challenged the findings.

Pakistan ranking
Pakistan ranked 33 out of 100 showing increase in corruption in 2019 Image Credit: TI

CPI uses a scale of 0 to 100 to rank nations, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. Pakistan’s score 32 out of 100 is one below its score last year and well below the CPI average of 43 for the year 2019.

Little improvement

However, this year’s CPI also revealed that a majority of countries in the world are showing little to no improvement in tackling corruption. The Transparency International said that more than two-thirds of countries on its list scored below 50 on the index this year.

The Berlin-based non-profit releases the index every year, ranking 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people.

Free flowing money

The Transparency International analysis also shows corruption is more pervasive in countries where big money can flow freely in to electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.

New Zealand tops the list

The top countries are New Zealand and Denmark, with scores of 87 each, followed by Finland (86), Singapore (85), Sweden (85) and Switzerland (85).

The most corrupt countries at the bottom of the index are Somalia, South Sudan and Syria with scores of 9, 12 and 13, respectively. These countries are closely followed by Yemen (15), Venezuela (16), Sudan (16), Equatorial Guinea (16) and Afghanistan (16).

TI corruption list
Lit of five countries on top of the list and the five most corrupt countries. Image Credit: TI

While Pakistan was ranked 120 on the CPI this year, it did better than regional like Afghanistan (173), Iran (146) and Bangladesh (146). However, India did much better as it was ranked at the 80th place, scoring 41/100 on the CPI, according to TI.

The Transparency International (TI) recommended it is imperative to prevent opportunities for political corruption and to foster the integrity of political systems to end corruption and restore trust in politics.

Public sector corruption

The report says that similar to previous years, the data shows that despite some progress, a majority of countries are still failing to tackle public sector corruption effectively,” the non-profit contends in the report, adding that in the last eight years, only 22 countries significantly improved their CPI scores.

“Governments must urgently address the corrupting role of big money in political party financing and the undue influence it exerts on our political systems,” says Transparency International chief Delia Ferreira Rubio.

TI Managing Director Patricia Moreira also echoed the same comments.

“To have any chance of ending corruption and improving peoples’ lives, we must tackle the relationship between politics and big money. All citizens must be represented in decision-making,” she said.

The top countries on the index were New Zealand and Denmark, with scores of 87 each, followed by Finland (86), Singapore (85), Sweden (85) and Switzerland (85). The bottom countries were Somalia, South Sudan and Syria, with scores of 9, 12 and 13, respectively.

‘Imperative to prevent corruption, foster integrity’

The TI also identified several key areas that governments around the globe could concentrate on reforming and thus decreasing corruption in their societies. The recommendations were part of the report the group released on Thursday.

TI said that by managing conflicts of interest, controlling political financing, strengthening electoral integrity, regulating lobbying activities, tackling preferential treatment, empowering citizens, and reinforcing checks and balances, states could fight corruption and defeat it.

NAB performance

Commenting on the report, Chairman Transparency International Pakistan Sohail Muzaffar, said that the accountability body tasked with fighting corruption in Pakistan — the National Accountability Bureau — had performed much better this year.

“NAB, under the current leadership of Justice (R) Javed Iqbal, has performed much better, and NAB been rejuvenated after it has taken various initiatives in order to have collective wisdom in the conduct of inquiries/investigations on merits, which is lending quality,” he said.

Political leaders reaction

Leaders from the opposition political parties in Pakistan have criticised the Imran Khan government for failing to tackle corruption.

Pakistan Peoples Party leader and former Information Minister of Pakistan Senator Sherry Rehman said her party was already of the opinion that corruption in Pakistan had actually increased under the government Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the TI report was evidence of it, Geo News reported.

“The TI report is a charge-sheet against the government. The international body has exposed the accountability-driven rulers. The premier accuses the opposition of fostering corruption, but Pakistan has slipped to 120 in the CPI under his watch,” she said.

Maryam Aurganzeb, former Information Minister and leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), said the report on governance and transparency issues was a slap on the face of the PTI government in Pakistan.

“The country is not run on false claims but good governance. The government has only created unjust hue and cry over the past year with nothing to show for it,” she added.