The PTI government’s narrative about rising prices, increasing unemployment and endemic corruption under its watch has been rejected by the majority of the people of Pakistan, as shown by Transparency International’s National Corruption Perception Survey (NCPS) 2021.
The PTI’s ministers and spokespersons team have continued to deny that there was any shrinkage in people’s purchasing power by quoting the increase in demand for cars and motorbikes. They have also maintained that Pakistan was the cheapest country in the region. It was claimed that PTI’s polices, particularly its emphasis on the construction industry, had already created more jobs in the country than the 10 million promised by Imran Khan. Further that corruption had come down. The TI Survey reveals that a vast majority in Pakistan considers these claims as an exercise in disinformation.
The NCPS 2021 maintains that during the third year of the rule of ‘Mr Clean’ corruption has touched new heights with the result that Pakistan now ranks 124 out of 180 countries, dropping four spots over last year. Of those surveyed, 85.9 percent believed the federal government’s self-accountability was partial and unsatisfactory.
Over 80 percent of the surveyed maintained that their income had been squeezed under the PTI government, whereas 92.9 percent held that inflation and price hike have been the highest during the current government. They considered the PTI government’s incompetence the main reason behind the rising inflation and shrinking incomes.
Corruption is rife. People say they pay bribes unwillingly as these are extorted through tactics such as inaction or delay in the provision of public services. A large segment of the respondents, 72.8percent thought that corruption at the grassroots level had increased in the public sector due to the absence of local governments under the PTI rule. According to the Survey, Pakistanis perceived the police as the most corrupt sector (41.4 percent), followed by the judiciary (17.4 percent) This has led the Information Minister to remark that this should be a moment of reflection for the CJP, indicating the PTI’s indifference to the public image of its government.
The Survey tells how people look at the grave problems they face and who they consider responsible for them. The PTI might claim that what the Survey highlights are no more than perceptions; perceptions matter in politics particularly when elections are approaching and voters are comparing the performance of competing political parties on the basis of their perceptions.