–Govt’s spokesperson says report raises ‘huge question mark’ on watchdog’s ‘transparent’ working
–-Says accountability drive will continue undeterred
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government on Friday lashed out at Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) for placing Pakistan further down in its corruption perception list, saying the report was a “huge question mark” on the transparency of the international corruption watchdog.
Pakistan ranked 120 out of 180 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2019 released by the TI on Thursday. On a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), Pakistan was assigned a score of 32, a point lower than its score of 33 on the 2018 index and well below the global average of 43.
Interestingly, Prime Minister Imran Khan used to often quote TI’s reports on corruption in Pakistan when he was in the opposition.
Addressing a press conference in the federal capital, Special Assistant to PM on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said: “There is a huge question mark over the transparency of TI. It is necessary to expose the people and the data, on the basis of which this report was published, in front of the public.”
According to global watchdog’s 2019 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), the government was unable to curb malpractices since the year before. In 2018’s report, Pakistan ranked 117 with a score of 33. However, in 2019, Pakistan was ranked 120th out of 180, with a score of 32 out of 100, meaning that corruption has slightly increased.
During the presser, Awan said: “It is our fault that we did not fawn over the head of TI’s Pakistan chapter and allowed him to retire after the expiry of his term.” This is contrary to what the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) did which explains why the reports during their term were so favorable, she claimed.
“Who will respect the findings of a report that says the most amount of corruption was done during the government of Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf, followed by Imran Khan’s government and then by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), placing the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government at the very bottom?” she asked.
“The findings of the report are laugh-worthy. The clean chit given to the ‘corruption kings’ who are currently under trial in the country’s courts makes it evident that the report is not fair, fair or transparent.
“It is biased,” she alleged, claiming that those who have fled the country are trying to spread “ill will” among the people the prime minister has chosen to lead the fight against corruption.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan is adamant about fulfilling the mandate given to him by the people. We will keep on working to provide the people with a country free of corruption.
“‘Corruption kings’ are using this report as a tool to hide their sins, but they will be disappointed. Moody’s and other international agencies have not only recognised an improvement in the country’s economic indicators but have also appreciated the efforts being taken by the government.”
“We will continue with our efforts towards taking Pakistan towards progress and prosperity. Such reports will never deter us from our path,” she stated.
Commenting on PM Imran’s recent trip to Davos to attend the World Economic Forum, Awan stated: “The prime minister’s meetings with global leaders and tech firms and their wishes to invest in the country show that the world has decided to walk shoulder-to-shoulder with Pakistan.”
“The world recognises the credibility of the current government. Such reports will not succeed in deceiving the world.”
“The one thing that should be taken away from the index is that the money recovered during the past one year is more than that recovered during the past ten years.”
“Instead of highlighting TI’s report, the ‘corruption kings’ should inform the people about Nawaz Sharif’s platelet count,” she added.
Calling our Dr Adnan Khan, Awan said: “He used to inform us about Nawaz’s platelet count every two hours, four hours. Now, when they are in a country with the best and latest healthcare facilities, there is radio silence.”
‘CHARGE-SHEET AGAINST PTI’:
On Thursday, major opposition parties had termed the report a “charge-sheet” against the PTI government saying the report had “badly exposed” Imran’s claims about his government’s actions against corruption.
“The TI report is a certificate of failure of the Naya Pakistan project,” PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb had said in a statement.
“The report has confirmed that the level and amount of corruption committed by Imran Khan’s government in the past 16 months is more than any government in the entire past decade.” This report, she had said, was a “slap in the face” of the government as it had exposed all its lies about anti-corruption measures and good governance.
PPP leader Sherry Rehman had said the TI report had exposed the so-called accountability process in the country, adding that the curtain was about to lift from the corruption committed in the projects of Malam Jabba, Peshawar BRT, and other scams.