Sunday Jun 06 2021
Web Desk

Countries get bankrupted by corrupt heads not low level officials: PM Imran Khan

Web Desk
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during an interview with Reuters in Islamabad, Pakistan June 4, 2021. — Reuters/Saiyna Bashir

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that countries get bankrupted and indebted when the head of state or government and the ministers are corrupt, not due to bribes accepted by low level officials.

“When low level officials take bribes it creates problems for the citizens as speed money is like a tax on them but countries get bankrupted and indebted when the head of state/govt and his ministers are corrupt,” the prime minister said on Twitter.

He also shared a link to a “Memorandum on Establishing the Fight Against Corruption as a Core United States National Security Interest” recently issued by US President Joe Biden, directing his senior officials to conduct an interagency review process and develop a presidential strategy to improve the ability of executive departments to promote good governance, combat all forms of illicit finance, hold accountable corrupt elements, and their facilitators, and bolster capacity of domestic and international institutions to prevent corruption.

The beginning paragraph of the Memorandum reads: “Corruption corrodes public trust; hobbles effective governance; distorts markets and equitable access to services; undercuts development efforts; contributes to national fragility, extremism, and migration; and provides authoritarian leaders a means to undermine democracies worldwide.

"When leaders steal from their nations’ citizens or oligarchs flout the rule of law, economic growth slows, inequality widens, and trust in government plummets."

The fight against corruption in Pakistan has remained the cornerstone of PM Imran Khan's government since he came into power.

On the party's 25th Foundation Day this year in April, the prime minister said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is the only political entity in the country's history to launch a campaign against corruption.

The premier said that when people in power resort to corrupt practices, then a nation is destined to decline. He said that twenty-five years ago, he and his friends named the party after the concept of Insaf (justice) because, without justice, corruption cannot be eliminated.

"This was the reason why a person like me — who was not only famous but had been bestowed with everything in life — decided to join politics [in a bid to make a change]."

Pakistan slips to 124 in corruption ranking

Meanwhile, Pakistan seems to have slipped further in 2020, instead of improving in global corruption rankings.

According to a January report, corruption in Pakistan is perceived to have increased compared to 2019, with the country ranking 124 out of 180 countries on a global corruption perceptions list prepared by Transparency International (TI), an international non-governmental organisation based in Berlin.

The Berlin-based non-profit releases the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) every year, ranking 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people.

Pakistan lost four places in 2020 compared to 2019 and seven positions compared to 2018. In 2019, Pakistan ranked 120th on the global corruption list and 117th in 2018.