The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2021 is out and it is not looking too good for Pakistan. India’s belligerent neighbour has slipped 16 places from the previous index to 140th position in the list of 180 countries. It had ranked 124 on the 2020 list.

Transparency International’s corruption index ranks the countries and territories by the perceived levels of public sector corruption. The ranking is on a scale of zero to 100, with zero being perceived as “highly corrupt” and 100 being perceived as “very clean”. Denmark, Finland and New Zealand topped the list, with a score of 88 each on the index. Denmark and New Zealand have retained their positions as the least corrupt countries with the same score as the 2020 index. Finland has increased its ranking from second place on the 2020 list with a score of 85, topping the charts this year.

As per the CPI 2021, Pakistan scored 28 on 100. Soon after the list was released, citizens from Pakistan and other parts of the world started slamming Prime Minister Imran Khan on Twitter. #CorruPTIon was trending and Pakistanis accused him of “maintaining its downward trajectory” and branded him “Corruption King Imran Khan”. They also pointed out his duplicity and shared old videos of Khan quoting this very index in television interviews, when he had criticised the former PML-N government led by Nawaz Sharif, and “promote his anti-corruption mantra”.

As far as the scores go, when Khan came to power in 2018, riding high on the promise of ‘Naya’ Pakistan, the country’s score was 33 out of 100. The scores dipped since then and fell to 32 in 2019, 31 in 2020 and 28 out of 100 now.

While the country has been consistently ranked among the highly corrupt countries by perception, the latest index registered Pakistan’s worst drop and an all-time low since 2010. The country was ranked 146th among the 180 countries in 2010 and had registered its worst performance on the corruption index.

Transparency International’s index covers the manifestations of public sector corruption in the countries under various paradigms including bribery, diversion of public funds, officials using their public office for private gain without facing consequences, the ability of governments to contain corruption in the public sector, excessive red tape in the public sector which may increase opportunities for corruption, nepotistic appointments in the civil service, laws ensuring that public officials must disclose their finances and potential conflicts of interest, legal protection for people who report cases of bribery and corruption, state capture by narrow vested interests, and access to information on public affairs/government activities.

India ranked 85th in the list, scoring 40 points — no change in ranking from the previous year, as did the US, ranking 27th with a score of 67. Among other neighbours of India, Bangladesh ranked below Pakistan — 147th position with a score of 26 points, and Sri Lanka ranked 102, scoring 37 points. Like India, Nepal held on to its position at 117 with a score of 33/100.

Afghanistan under the Taliban was ranked as one of the most corrupt finishing 174th in the list with a score of measly 16 and shared the position of disgrace along with North Korea and Yemen. South Sudan ranked at the bottom of the list — 180th position with a score of an abysmal 11.