ISLAMABAD: Although Pakistan managed to maintain its ranking in Transparency International’s Corru­ption Perceptions Index (CPI) in 2022, its overall score fell to the lowest level since 2012.

According to the report released on Monday, Pakistan ranked 140 out of 180 countries — a position unchanged from 2021. However, its overall CPI score fell to 27 out of 100. Last year, the score was 28 out of 100.

“Pakistan [...]continued its statistically significant downward trend, this year hitting its lowest score since 2012 at just 27 points amidst ongoing political turmoil,” Transparency Inter­national said.

It added that former prime minister Imran Khan came to power on the promise of tackling corruption and undertaking social and economic reforms. “[B]ut little has been accomplished on any of these fronts since he took the reins in 2018.”

Country maintains 140th spot on Transparency International ranking

Under the PTI government, the ranking of Pakistan gradually slid from 117 out of 180 in 2018 to 140 in 2021.

The Berlin-based organisation said since Mr Khan was ousted through a no-confidence motion in April 2022, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) disqualified him over allegations “he failed to declare gifts and profits he made from selling them during his tenure.”

“While awaiting the verdicts from these two cases, it’s most important that the new government does not allow such political scandals to derail comprehensive anti-corruption efforts,” the organisation said in its review of Pakistan’s performance on the index.

The index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public-sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople. It relies on 13 independent data sources and uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

Pakistan is among the 10 nations whose CPI score has significantly declined since 2017. Among the biggest declines are Luxembourg (77), Canada (74), the United Kingdom (73), Austria (71), Malaysia (47), Mongolia (33), Pakistan (27), Honduras (23), Nicaragua (19) and Haiti (17).

Recommendations

However it said that upcoming elections in major countries, including Pakistan, offer some hope for addressing the issue,

“Elections in Bangladesh, Paki­stan, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and more can be important moments... to address corruption concerns that weigh so heavily on many.”

To improve its ranking, TI recommended Pakistan reinforce checks and balances and promote separation of powers; share information and uphold the right to access it; limit private influence by regulating lobbying, promote open access to decision-making; and combat transnational corruption.

Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2023

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