–NGO says score lies within standard margin of error; politicians, media outlets gave ‘false figures to damage reputation of country’
ISLAMABAD: A day after the Transparency International Pakistan came under fire by the top government spokesperson, Firdous Ashiq Awan, the Berlin-based watchdog clarified the report that lowered Pakistan’s ranking on corruption index didn’t “reflect an increase or decrease in corruption as it is within the standard margin of error”.
The CPI 2019, which was released on Thursday, ranked Pakistan 120 out of 180 countries. 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.
In a statement on Sunday, the NGO stated that a number of politicians, TV channels and newspapers misreported CPI 2019 and gave false figures to damage the reputation of the country.
It further stated that the Bertelsmann Stiftung Transformation Index 2020 which is provided only to the TI to form its CPI report has not been made public rather media used data from CPI 2018.
It rejected accusations from a leader that the TI declared Musharraf’s government as the most corrupt followed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government as the second corrupt and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) one being the cleanest.
“The reality is that CPI 2019 has not given any such rating for Pakistan, nor for any other country. TI does not have its own data input in CPI, and TI Pakistan has no role in the making of CPI, nor has any data input in it,” the statement read.
TI Pakistan appreciated the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) performance and approved of the anti-corruption steps taken by the incumbent government. It clarified that the data in the NGO’s report is obtained by at least 13 different sources and not its own.
On Friday, the PTI government had lashed out at Berlin-based 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.
Addressing a press conference in the federal capital, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan had 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.”
“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 PML-N did which explains why the reports during their term were so favorable,” she had said.
“Who will respect the findings of a report that says the most amount of corruption was done during the government of General (r) Pervez Musharraf, followed by Imran Khan’s government and then by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), placing the PML-N government at the very bottom?” she had asked.
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 is a slap in the face of the government as it has exposed all its lies about anti-corruption measures and good governance,” she had added.
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.