Islamabad: Pakistan has dropped 16 spots on the global Corruption Perceptions Index for 2021 and is ranked 140th out of 180 countries, Transparency International said in a report on Tuesday, in a major blow to Prime Minister Imran Khan's government which came to power on the promise of introducing a clean governance system.

The report released by the Berlin-based non-profit organisation formed to combat global corruption said that corruption levels remain at a standstill worldwide, with 86 per cent of countries making little to no progress in the last 10 years.

In its 2021 edition, the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), drawing on 13 expert assessments and surveys of business executives.

In 2020, Pakistan's CPI was 31 and it was ranked 124 out of 180 countries. According to Transparency International, the country's corruption score has now deteriorated to 28 while it is ranked 140 out of the total 180 countries on the index. Comparatively, India's score stands at 40 and is ranked 85, while Bangladesh's CPI is 26 and stands at 147th position. 

Explaining the causes of low score of Pakistan, the report said the absence of the "rule of law" and "state capture" were the main reasons. The report comes at a time when Prime Minister Khan is under pressure to improve the performance of his government which came to power in 2018 on the promise of introducing a clean governance system.

His advisor on accountability, Shehzad Akbar, stepped down on Monday amidst reports of his poor performance to bring the corrupt elements under the law.

To add to Khan's woes, Justice (retd) Nasira Iqbal, Vice-Chair of Transparency International Pakistan, said that the ranking of Pakistan under the PTI government has gradually come down.

In 2019, it was 120th out of 180 countries, in 2020, it was 124th and in 2021 it worsened further to 140, she said.In contrast, in 2018, during Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) period, Pakistan's ranking was 117 out of 180 countries.  Former prime minister and PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi while addressing media said that report showed that Khan's government is corrupt and incompetent.

"This government is most corrupt government in entire history of Pakistan," he said, and demanded Khan step down immediately. The CPI global average remains unchanged at 43 for the tenth year in a row, and two-thirds of countries score below 50, the report said.

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