Prime Minister Imran Khan and his media team have carried out enough media trials of the opposition leaders, who have been called thieves and dacoits without proving the charges in the superior courts. As the focus of accountability begins to turn towards the PTI government, they are trying to massage the facts
Mr Khan had promised to uproot corruption from the country within 90 days. He now thinks even five years are too short a period to fulfill promises. After nearly two years and a half in power, his administration is seen to be mired in corruption. Whenever substantial evidence emerges from independent sources the PTI administration is left with no answers. The Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) pointed out financial irregularities amounting to hundreds of billions of rupees by the federal ministries and divisions during the audit years 2018-19 and 2019-20. The PM accused the AGP instead of putting his own house in order.
The Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) is a corruption sentinel respected worldwide. Its last report covering 2019-20 noted that corruption in Pakistan had surpassed previous records. The PTI government rejected the report as ‘being against the facts.’ Pakistan’s ranking on TI’s latest corruption perception index has turned out to be the worst in six years, proving that corruption has proliferated under the PTI government which had claimed eradication of corruption as its top priority. It was the second consecutive year that Pakistan’s ranking on the global transparency index slipped. While at the end of the PML(N) tenure, Pakistan’s global ranking on the index was 117, it has gone down now to the 124th position. This exposes the claim that the PPP and the PML(N) were the most corrupt governments.
The report should have left PM Khan’s administration red faced. Instead, untenable, even ridiculous, explanations are being given to create doubts about the report. One of the PM’s spokesmen has claimed that the figures given in the TI’s latest report pertain in fact to PML(N)’s tenure. This is hogwash as at the end of the report the sources quoted clearly mention that the figures pertain to the period 2018-2020.
The PTI government has spent more time on conducting the media trial of its political opponents than on eradicating corruption. It is thus responsible for tarnishing the country’s image.