State of corruption in ‘Madinah-like’ state of Pakistan

Published: 03:48 PM, 26 Jan, 2022
State of corruption in ‘Madinah-like’ state of Pakistan
Caption: File photo.
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The latest report of Transparency International on the state of corruption in Pakistan has exposed the PTI government’s failure to grapple with this menace and caused humiliation to the entire nation that is supposed to be a follower of Islam.

Pakistan dropped 16 places in the Corruption Perception index (CPI) for 2021 compared to the previous year, ranking 140 out of 180 countries.

Under the PTI government, the ranking of Pakistan has gradually slid. 

In 2019, it was 120 out of 180 countries, in 2020. In 2018, during the PML-N government, the ranking was 117 out of 180 countries.

The report is more disturbing as it is reflective of the failure of a party that is committed to eradicating the vice at all costs.

In this state of affairs the opposition parties are justified in ‘flogging’ the ruling party for the increase in corruption

The CPI measures how corrupt a country's public sector is perceived to be by its experts and businesspeople, and uses a scale of zero to 100 where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

The top-performing countries were all non-Muslim: Denmark, Finland and New Zealand — all having a corruption perceptions score of 88 — followed by Norway, Singapore and Sweden, all of them scoring 85. They are also non-Muslim.

In contrast, the worst-performing countries are South Sudan with a corruption perceptions score of 11, followed by Syria (13), Somalia (13, Venezuela (14) and Afghanistan (16).

What is more deplorable is the argument being offered by the PTI government to defend its performance.

Minister of State for Parliamen­tary Aff­airs Ali Mohammad Khan said while addressing a session of the Senate on Tuesday that it was strange that those having Swiss bank accounts and named in the Panama Papers were giving lectures on corruption to the PTI government.

In other words he tried to defend the government by launching a counterattack on the major opposition parties the PPP and the PML-N. 

The minister further said those whose political salvage was based on a Qatari letter, those who failed to provide money trail and those who appeared before the Supreme Court to term their statement made in the National Assembly political, had no face to hurl allegations of corruption on the Imran government.

This was another wrong ground the ‘defence’ minister used on the occasion.

The minister’s tirade continues.

He said there were just $9bn foreign exchange reserves when the PTI came into power, but today these had gone up to $19.5bn. He said the country’s exports during PML-N’s days in power were around two billion dollars a month and now these had surged to three billion dollars a month.

Likewise, he said a growth rate of 5.37 per cent had been recorded at a time when the global economies were shrinking due to Covid-19 and expressed the confidence that inflationary pressure would subside over the next three to four months as a result of the government’s prudent economic policies.

Every sane person would agree that the quantum of foreign exchange reserves in the past and now is not under discussion. 

The subject is the state of corruption and the government cannot defend it on any ground.

The TI report has been released at a time when the PTI government claims that it is trying to transform Pakistan into a Madinah-like state. This is certainly a tall claim. 

Had the government been seriously making such efforts – or if those efforts had borne fruit – the corruption level would have drastically come down by now.  But this is not the case.

If there has been no headway on this front even after the government’s fourth year in office, no improvement can be expected during its remaining term.

And the TI report can’t just be dismissed as propaganda by any opposition party.  

Ashraf Mumtaz

The writer is the Deputy Editor of 24 Digital.