Double whammy | Pakistan Today

Double whammy

Reports by Transparency International (TI) and Amnesty International (AI) should make the government and concerned agencies do some serious thinking. The Transparency International, widely recognised as a responsible whistle-blower, notes that Pakistan has slid down the ladder leading to the bottomless corruption pit from 42nd rung in 2009 to 34th this year. Information Minister Kaira has dismissed the report maintaining that the methodology adopted by TI in compiling the report is faulty and does not present a true picture. What the minister says is in fact a stock response to each and every opinion survey that has appeared during the last two years and a half but considered negative by the government, be it from Pew Research Center, International Republican Institute or Transparency International.

The AI report in fact corroborates the conclusions recorded in various reports by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan regarding forced disappearances and custodial killings in Balochistan. The AI report, however, adds that the illegal acts on the part of the security agencies have led to reprisal killings of settlers and outsiders in the province. As usual a senior government official in Quetta has dismissed AIs call for an investigation saying it was a warlike situation in Balochistan and casualties were taking place on both sides. A more discreet FO spokesman has, however, said the government was studying the statement.

Burying its head in sand wont help the government. Foreign donors are already insisting on spending flood relief aid through NGOs because of perceptions of rampant corruption in Pakistan. The delay in setting up an independent accountability commission has strengthened the perception that the government lacks the political will to fight corruption leading the Supreme Court to take suo motu action against organisations like the National Insurance Corporation, Pakistan Steel and rental power plants. With the US Congress likely to be dominated by the GOP soon, President Obama would find it difficult to get approval for $2 billion military aid in the presence of reports of gross human rights abuses by security forces, be these in Swat or in Balochistan.