ISLAMABAD: Major opposition parties on Thursday termed the Transparency International (TI) report on corruption and state of democracy in Pakistan a “charge-sheet” against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government, saying the report had “badly exposed” the tall claims of Prime Minister Imran Khan about his government’s actions against corruption.
Quoting TI’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) which ranked Pakistan at 120 out of total 180 countries, leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) said the report had confirmed that the PTI government had not only totally failed to curb corruption, corrupt practices had also increased in the country since Prime Minister Imran Khan took over the government in August 2018.
“The TI report is a certificate of failure of the Naya Pakistan project,” said PML-N information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb in a statement. “The report has confirmed that the level and amount of corruption committed by Imran Khan’s government in the past 16 months is more than any government in the entire past decade.”
This report, she said, was a “slap in the face” of the government as it had exposed all its lies about anti-corruption measures and good governance.
Imran’s tall claims about anti-corruption measures, good governance have been exposed, say leaders
“Imran Khan, who has already been proven incompetent, liar and incapable in the country, has now received an award from an international institution,” Ms Aurangzeb said in her hard hitting statement.
She said Mr Khan defiled Pakistan globally by calling its governments corrupt and today the world finally found out that “the chief of all corruption is Imran himself”.
Ms Aurangzeb, who had served as information minister in the previous PML-N government, said if Mr Khan had any moral courage, he should now say the same thing he so vehemently used to say about others that “the country has a corruption problem because the government is a bunch of thieves and looters”.
She said if the prime minister had “an ounce of honour left”, he should hold accountable all his “corrupt friends” who had brought “shame” to the country at the international forum with the report.
The report, she said, was an eye-opener and an answer to those who used to justify Imran Khan by saying that he was “authoritarian, incompetent and takes massive U-turns and lies but he is not corrupt”. She said the TI report had endorsed the PML-N’s narrative that the PTI government was looting the country with both hands.
She said the report proved that the real reason behind imprisoning PML-N leaders, who had served the nation, was to keep them away while “Imran and his corrupt regime empty the national treasury with unprecedented corruption”.
“From Peshawar Metro to Billion Tree Tsunami to the wheat crisis, the sugar crisis, Rs11,000 billion loans and corruption of writing off friends’ billions have all been published by the TI,” she said.
Parliamentary leader of the PPP in the Senate Sherry Rehman in her statement said the TI report had exposed the so-called accountability process in the country. She said the curtain was about to lift from the corruption committed in the projects of Malam Jabba, Peshawar BRT and other such scams.
Instead of eliminating the corruption, she said, the government would create new records of corruption.
JI chief Senator Sirajul Haq also talked about the TI report while addressing an Ulema convention at Mansoora. He said the report must be an eye opener for the prime minister who had made tall claims to start a ruthless and across-the-board accountability drive and introduce reforms in governance during his election campaign.
The JI chief wondered how the objective of “clean Pakistan” could be achieved when the ministers were involved in wrongdoings and openly blaming each other of making money through corruption.
Mr Haq said the decline of the country’s position in democracy index reflected the PTI’s inability to run the government on democratic principles. He said the fragile democracy, corruption, inflation and unemployment had become the trademarks of this government, adding the overall situation had made the masses desperate and hopeless and they wanted to get rid of these rulers at any cost.
Later, talking to reporters, the JI chief called on the Supreme Court to take action against those who had created wheat and flour shortage in the country and made billions of rupees in the crisis. He said the masses were starving and unable to meet both ends in the prevailing circumstances.
He announced that the JI would hold countrywide rallies and demonstrations against inflation on Friday (today).
Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2020