In a major blow to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) accountability narrative, Transparency International, a global corruption watchdog, has placed Pakistan at the 140th position out of 180 countries on its Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2021.
The CPI is an index published annually by the global watchdog, which ranks countries "by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys."
The PTI that came to power with a slogan to eradicate corruption has seen the graft level surge throughout the country during its three-year rule.
In 2018, Pakistan ranked at 117 out of 180 on the CPI, but over the three years, it slipped every year to reach 140 in 2021. In 2020, Pakistan ranked at 126 on the index.
In 2018, Pakistan scored 33 out of 100 on the CPI, whereas in the 2021 report, this score has been reduced to 28 as a result of rising corruption. In 2019, the score was 32; whereas, in 2020, Pakistan's score was recorded at 31.
As per the TI website, a "country’s score is the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0-100, where 0 means highly corrupt and 100 means very clean".
In a statement, Transparency International-Pakistan Vice-Chair Nasira Iqbal said the absence of rule of law and state capture was a reason for a substantial low score for Pakistan on the CPI.
“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," she added.
Over 68pc countries below average score
The corruption watchdog in its report said: "Overall, the CPI shows that control of corruption has stagnated or worsened in 86 per cent of countries over the last decade."
The report stated that at least 68 per cent of countries scored below 50, while the average global score remained static at 43. "Since 2012, 25 countries significantly improved their scores, but in the same period 23 countries significantly declined."
According to the TI, 131 countries made no significant progress against corruption over the last decade. "This year 27 countries are at a historic low in their CPI score," it said linking the rise in corruption to a spike in human rights abuses and the weakening of democracy across the world.
"This is no coincidence...ensuring basic rights and freedoms means there is less space for corruption to go unchallenged."
It said as per the recent index, the states with "well-protected civil and political liberties generally control corruption better".
"The fundamental freedoms of association and expression are crucial in the fight for a world free of corruption."
Best and worst performers
The global watchdog said Denmark, Finland, New Zealand are the top countries on the anti-corruption index with a score of 88. "Norway (85), Singapore (85), Sweden (85), Switzerland (84), the Netherlands (82), Luxembourg (81) and Germany (80) complete the top 10," it added.
The worst performing countries include South Sudan with a score of 11, Syria and Somalia with a score of 13.
"Countries experiencing armed conflict or authoritarianism tend to earn the lowest scores, including Venezuela (14), Afghanistan (16), North Korea (16), Yemen (16), Equatorial Guinea (17), Libya (17) and Turkmenistan (19)," it added.