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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s rank in Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) has further slipped by 16 points to 140/180 in 2021 as compared to 124/180 in 2020. According to 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released by Transparency International (TI), Pakistan scored 28 out of 100. However, corruption levels remained at a standstill worldwide, with 86 percent of countries making little to no progress in the last 10 years.

The corruption score in neighbouring India and Nepal remained the same, however, Iran, is down by one position and Malaysia by five. On the other hand, Afghanistan declined by 9 and Turkey by 10 positions.

Justice (R) Nasira Iqbal, Vice-Chair, Transparency International Pakistan said “the absence of Rule of Law and State Capture” has resulted in substantial low CPI 2021 score of Pakistan compared to CPI 2020, from 31/100 to 28/100 and rank from 124/180 to 140/180, whereas there is no change in CPI 2021 Scores of India and Bangladesh from CPI 2020. The 8 sources and respective period of collection of data used to calculate the CPI 2021 for Pakistan are as follows: (i) Bertelsmann Stiftung Transformation Index 2022 (January and June 2021); (ii) Economist Intelligence Unit Country Risk Service 2021 January to December 2021;(iii) Global Insights Business Conditions and Risk Indicators 2020 (September 2020); (iv) The PRS Group International Country Risk Guide 2021 (September 2020 to August 2021); (v) World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment 2020 (August 2020); (vi) World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey 2020 (February and July 2020); and (vii) World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2021 (October 2020 and May 2021) Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) 2021 (April 2021).

Transparency International found countries that violate civil liberties consistently score lower on the CPI. Complacency in fighting corruption exacerbates human rights abuses and undermines democracy, setting off a vicious spiral. As these rights and freedoms erode and democracy declines, authoritarianism takes its place, contributing to even higher levels of corruption.

Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International said “Human rights are not simply a nice-to-have in the fight against corruption. Authoritarian approaches destroy independent checks and balances and make anti-corruption efforts dependent on the whims of an elite. Ensuring people can speak freely and work collectively to hold power to account is the only sustainable route to a corruption-free society.”

Transparency International: Pakistan's 'Corruption Perception' worsened in 2020

The 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). The CPI global average remained unchanged at 43 for the tenth year in a row, and two-thirds of countries score below 50.

The top countries on the index are Denmark (88), Finland (88) and New Zealand (88), all of which also rank in the top 10 per cent in the world on the Democracy Index civil liberties score.

Somalia (13), Syria (13) and South Sudan (11) remain at the bottom of the CPI. Syria is also ranked last in civil liberties (Somalia and South Sudan are unrated).

The TI maintains that as anti-corruption efforts stagnate and deteriorate human rights and democracy are under attack. This is no coincidence. The continued use by governments of the COVID-19 pandemic to erode human rights and democracy could also lead to sharper declines across the globe in the future.

Of the 23 countries whose CPI score significantly declined since 2012, 19 also declined on the civil liberties score. Moreover, out of the 331 recorded cases of murdered human rights defenders in 2020, 98 per cent occurred in countries with a CPI score below 45.

Pakistan was at position two in CPI in 1996 during PPP regime and improved to 64 in 2018, the last year of PML (N) government. However, it slipped to 61 in 2019, 57 in 2020 and 47 in 2021, which indicates that corruption has increased during the first three years of PTI government.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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