It’s not corruption; it’s perception, stupid!

FEBRUARY 12, 2020

The ruling party went into panic mode after the publication of Transparency International’s report, according to which Pakistan had slipped two or three points in the Corruption Perception Index.
It implied that corruption had not been contained. It had increased. The very learned lady advisor on (mis)information said something about it being a conspiracy against the PTI.
She said that the Pakistani chapter of the organisation had been given favours by the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government. That may be true, but this time, the report was issued by Transparency International (Berlin), according to which Pakistan is among dozens of nations, where perceived corruption has worsened significantly over the past year.
The local chapter of Transparency International attempted damage control; saying that the report did not reflect that corruption had increased or decreased in Pakistan. But this had little effect as the organisation admitted that it was not responsible for the report and had not contributed in any way in its compilation. But PTI ministers and advisors reacted triumphantly as though Kashmir had finally been conquered.

Of course, it is common knowledge that rampant corruption has not been contained, leave alone eliminated. When he was on that container for four months, the Dear Leader had promised to wipe out corruption in 90 days. If he had done so, by now, the country would have been richer by 18 billion dollars (since a billion dollars a month are lost to corruption). So it would be better for the Great Khan to stop talking about it, seeing that he can’t explain why he has tainted ministers in his cabinet. Among his friends, one has been disqualified from holding public office. Another is being investigated for corruption by NAB.
Then, there is the foreign funding case, which the Laadla has been trying with all his might to get postponed on one pretext or the other. Not to forget the much-delayed BRT project (which, if it is ever completed, will cost many times more than the originally estimated and on which seven billion rupees in kickbacks have already been reportedly paid). Of course, the sudden disappearance of wheat flour (being first exported and then imported at a much higher cost) qualifies to be treated as an example of corruption. Then, there was a sharp increase in the price of medicines, for no apparent reason except to make someone rich. And PTI followers still say that corruption has not increased in the country?

I suppose it is an encouraging sign that the ruling party is worried about how it is perceived by the public. But does it matter? People are now convinced that it cannot deliver, that it has duped the nation and whatever the Great Khan says, he cannot be believed (due to his many U-turns).
His latest admission that his salary of two hundred thousand rupees is not sufficient to meet his expenses makes one wonder how poor peasants and factory workers survive on a mere Rs 15 to 20,000.
As for taking money from his friends to pay for his visit to Davos, doesn’t he know there’s no such thing as a free lunch?
I’m not sure, but I believe someone from a European country immediately responded, “We don’t allow that in our country,” when he heard about Imran’s expenses being paid by his friends.
But why stop at Davos? Why not allow friends to pay for the fuel being used by his helicopter, flying from Bani Gala to the Prime Minister’s House? Since he thinks that his salary is not so high, perhaps, the friends should consider contributing to his household expenses!
The writer is an engineer, a former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College