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TI reports in Pakistan are merely cited for point scoring business- no lessons are learnt.
Pakistan’s sliding down in the corruption perceptions rankings is quite unfortunate. The 2021 Transparency International report has placed the country at 140th among 180 states it reviewed, making a sharp slump of 16 units from its previous rating. Reports by the global watchdog are much-awaited by governments as well as financial institutions and donors agencies, to take a jibe on tangibles and formulate their policies, accordingly. Though not an official barometer for gauging the exact phenomenon in terms of corruption and good governance, the report certainly makes a point in all sincerity and professionalism, as it uses eight competitive data sources to calculate the indexing. Pakistan’s continuous fall on the parameter for the third consecutive year is an open and shut case of ours half-hearted efforts at curbing malpractices while doing business at the state level, and also indicates the necessity of reforms and retribution.
A few observations from TI are worth studying. In 2021, Pakistan’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) has drastically gone down at a time when the watchdog also notes that corruption levels remained at a standstill worldwide. This is a noticeable aspect as Pakistan’s anti-graft initiatives seemed to have remained unworkable, and have rather taken a backseat. Other categories where Pakistan has miserably slumped is the ‘Rule of Law Index’ and ‘Varieties of Democracy’ (VDem). This has more to do with institutional performance rather than computing of statistics on the financial torpedo side. A plethora of issues concerning civil service, judiciary, legislature, military and law-enforcement agencies’ role comes under debate, and it is admissible that we lack in reforming them as per international standards.
TI reports in Pakistan are merely cited for point scoring business. No lessons are learnt nor are any steps taken to do some inherent corrections. It is also a fact that accountability drive in Pakistan has been a non-starter as weak prosecution, rampant political interference and loopholes in the system make it a ridiculous affair. This aspect has also been acknowledged by the PM when he said the anti-corruption drive was not making any headway. By earnestly debriefing the aspects pointed out by TI, Pakistan is in earnest need to do some serious homework in uplifting its face value.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2022.
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