By Khalid Khattak
LAHORE: While the latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) has ranked Pakistan 117th out of 180, a detailed analysis of CPI since 1995 shows that Pakistan’s score improved over the years — particularly under the PML-N government.
The CPI scores countries on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean) and the latest CPI 2017 released by the Transparency International on Feb 21 shows Pakistan’s score is 32.
The analysis reveals that under the PPP rule in 2012, the country’s score was 27, clearly showing that it has improved by five points during the current tenure of PML-N since 2013. China, India and Sri Lanka are ahead of Pakistan in the CPI with the score if 41, 40 and 38 respectively. However, Iran (30), Bangladesh (28) and Afghanistan with 15 are behind Pakistan in fight against corruption.
For this year, the global average score is 43, while the best performing region is Western Europe with an average score of 66. The worst performing regions are Sub-Saharan Africa (average score 32) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (average score 34).
Overall, the Transparency International has placed New Zealand on the top of the ranking with 89 score, with Somalia scoring only 9 and the worst on the CPI scale at 180th spot.
According to the Transparency International’s analysis of the results, the countries with the least protection for press and NGOs tend to have the worst rates of corruption.
In 1996, Pakistan’s position further dropped (1.0 score) and was only ahead of Nigeria from among the ranking of 54 countries.
For three years from 1997 to 1999, during the tenure of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister, Pakistan witnessed improvement on the index with 2.5 and 2.7 score respectively except for 1999 (2.2 score) following a military coup in October that year.
The Transparency International did not include Pakistan in its index in 2000. The next year the score was 2.3. Pakistan’s score on the index never touched even 2.7 (highest under Nawaz’s government in 1998) on the scale under the PML-Q government from 2002 to 2007, as it almost remained stagnant with maximum score 2.6 in the year 2002.
When the Transparency International first released the CPI in 1995, Pakistan was among the three worst countries – third from the bottom. The index covered 41 countries and Pakistan was on 39th position with a score of 2.25. That time a scale of 0-10 was used to calculate the CPI and this scale remained in use till 2011.
Even under the first three years of PPP’s government, the Pakistan’s CPI could not touch the score of 2.7. In 2012, the Transparency International established the new scale of 0-100 and Pakistan’s score was recorded at 27.
The data reveals that between 1996 and 1998, Pakistan saw second highest increase in CPI among 54 countries and the increase was 19th highest among 175 countries between 2013 and 2017. And this was the period when the PML-N was in power.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Transparency International’s CPI ranks countries by their perceived level of corruption. The index for Pakistan is based on data from eight most credible sources including World Banks’ Country Policy and Institutional Assessment, Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Project, World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey (EOS), Global Insight Country Risk Ratings, Economist Intelligence Unit Country Risk Ratings, Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index, World Justice Project Rule of Law Index and Political Risk Services International Country Risk Guide.
The PML-N camp argues that this has been brought about as a result of government’s targeted policy interventions which provided an enabling environment with a booming stock exchange that boosted investor confidence. Although there was political unrest which hindered the process, the government’s focus made this possible, they maintain.
The technology-based interventions also aided transparency and efficiency which not only encouraged Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) but also gave confidence to local investors and built a positive perception among the polity. They referred to the Punjab government’s claim of saving Rs 682 billion in 12 mega projects in the last five years to substantiate their argument.
This story first appeared in The News.
Main image: COE