Pakistan among most corrupt nations: Transparency International


Islamabad : The lack of anti-graft laws makes Pakistan one of the most corrupt nations in the world and is coming in the way of foreign investments in the country, global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) says.

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“How can one expect from any donor to come forward to assist Pakistan from its current financial crisis, when there exists no law against corruption?” TI said in its 2009 Global Corruption Report released Wednesday.

Unveiling the report here, TI Pakistan chief Adeel Gilani said anti-corruption efforts in the country had taken a 180 degree turn since then president Pervez Musharraf issued the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) Oct 5, 2007 granting immunity to politicians, army officers, bureaucrats and others charged with graft.

Among those who benefited from the NRO, issued 56 days after the ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption, were former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and her widower Asif Ali Zardari, now the president of Pakistan.

“The timing for the release of the TI report would be embarrassing for Zardari, whose government’s credibility is already seriously questioned internationally because of (his) own as well as many of his government’s key players’ past plagued by serious corruption charges,” The News daily noted Thursday.

Quoting from a joint World Bank-Planning Commission of Pakistan study on the country’s infrastructure implementation capacity, the TI report says 15 percent of corruption occurs at the procurement stage, costing the exchequer over Rs.150 billion.

This apart, the World Bank’s Control of Corruption Indicator in 2007 ranked Pakistan a lowly 21.3 out of 100.

Then, the Global Competitiveness Report 2008-2009 ranked Pakistan 101 out of 130 countries and found that respondents pointed to corruption as the second most problematic factor for doing business in the country, after government instability.

“The instability of the political situation in Pakistan cannot be underestimated as a factor in permitting corruption in the private sector to flourish. Despite Musharraf’s claim to be committed to fighting corruption, little headway has been made, and it is still considered to be pervasive and deeply entrenched,” The News said.