By: Chandrashekar Bhat
PAKISTAN has dropped 16 spots on the global Corruption Perceptions Index for 2021 and is ranked 140th out of 180 countries, Transparency International said in a report on Tuesday (25).
It comes as a major blow to prime minister Imran Khan’s government which came to power on the promise of clean governance.
The report released by the Berlin-based non-profit organisation said corruption levels remain at a standstill worldwide, with 86 per cent of countries making little to no progress in the last 10 years.
In its 2021 edition, the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), drawing on 13 expert assessments and surveys of business executives.
In 2020, Pakistan’s CPI was 31 and it was ranked 124 out of 180 countries. According to Transparency International, the country’s corruption score has now deteriorated to 28.
Comparatively, India’s score stands at 40 and is ranked 85, while Bangladesh’s CPI is 26 and stands at the 147th position.
Explaining the causes of the low score of Pakistan, the report said the absence of the “rule of law” and “state capture” were the main reasons.
The report comes at a time when Khan is under pressure to improve the performance of his government. His advisor on accountability, Shehzad Akbar, stepped down on Monday (24) amid reports of his poor performance in bringing the corrupt elements to justice.
To add to Khan’s woes, Justice (retired) Nasira Iqbal, vice-chair of Transparency International Pakistan, said the ranking of the country under the current government has gradually come down.
In 2019, it was 120th out of 180 countries, in 2020, it was 124th and in 2021 it worsened further to 140, she said.
In contrast, in 2018, during the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) period, Pakistan’s ranking was 117 out of 180 countries.
The CPI global average remains unchanged at 43 for the 10th year in a row, and two-thirds of countries score below 50, the report said.
According to the report, the top-performing countries are Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, all having a corruption perceptions score of 88, followed by Norway, Singapore and Sweden, all of them scoring 85.
In contrast, the worst-performing countries were South Sudan with a corruption perceptions score of 11, followed by Syria (13), Somalia (13, Venezuela (14) and Afghanistan (16).
Transparency International calls on governments to act on their anti-corruption and human rights commitments and for people across the globe to join together in demanding change.
“In authoritarian contexts where control over government, business and the media rests with a few, social movements remain the last check on power. It is the power held by teachers, shopkeepers, students and ordinary people from all walks of life that will ultimately deliver accountability,” said Daniel Eriksson, chief executive officer of Transparency International.
The Index scores are based on the perceptions of public sector corruption, using data from 13 external sources, including the World Bank, World Economic Forum, private risk consulting companies, think tanks and others. The scores reflect the views of the experts and business people.