KARACHI - Pakistan has improved its position by reducing corruption in the current fiscal year 2013, unveiled a Transparency International report on world corruption perception index (CPI) released on Tuesday.

The improvement in the ranking of global corruption index was attributed to the peaceful transition of power from one democratically elected government to the other and judicial activism in the country. Transparency International-Pakistan Chairman Sohail Muzaffar and Secretary General Adil Gilani, addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday, released the report and said that Pakistan had improved ranking in the list of global corruption perception index (CPI) owing to peaceful transfer of power, political maturity of the parties and judicial activism of the apex court.

The report stated that Pakistan had witnessed improvement in the world corruption perception index 2013, enhancing one rank from 27 to 28 and scoring down from the last year’s 139 to 127 among the 177 countries, saying “this is a good sign for our country.” Reading out the salient features of the Transparency International’s report, Sohail Muzaffar said corruption perception index 2013 offered a warning that abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery continued to ravage societies around the world.

Chief of Transparency International-Pakistan Sohail Muzaffar said zero tolerance against corruption policy of the present government and the activism of the judiciary were the factors behind improvement of the country in the global index, hoping the judiciary and media would continue playing their role as a watchdog to reduce corruption in Pakistan, which was the root cause of terrorism, poverty, illiteracy, shortage of electricity, gas and inflation.

“Corruption within the public sector remains one of the world’s biggest challenges, particularly in areas such as political parties, police and justice system. Public institutions need to be more open about their work and officials must be more honest in their decision-making. Corruption remains notoriously difficult to investigate and prosecute,” Sohail Muzaffar quoted the report.

"It is time to stop those who run away with acts of corruption. The legal loopholes and lack of political will in government facilitate both domestic and cross-border corruption, and call for our intensified efforts to combat the impunity of the corrupt,” he referred to the report.

Transparency International-Pakistan General Secretary Adil Gillani was of the opinion that foreign investment had almost vanished in the previous tenure of the PPP government owing to increase in corruption. He, however, claimed no scandal had come on the surface during the present regime of the PML-N government at the Centre. He added the parties during their election campaign had promised to show zero tolerance against corruption.

The Transparency International office bearers noted that no scandal of corruption had so far surfaced at the Centre, in Punjab and Balochistan.

Gillani pointed out that corruption of billions of rupees had been reported during the last PPP government as about 1,000 cases had been filed with National Accountability Bureau. The Transparency International suggested punishment for corrupt elements to stop others from indulging in such practices in the country.

Meanwhile, the report noted that more than two thirds of the 177 countries in the 2013 index scored below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean).

"The corruption perception index 2013 demonstrates that all the countries still face the threat of corruption at all levels of government from the issuance of local permits to the enforcement of laws and regulations,” he quoted the report.

In the corruption perception index, Denmark and New Zealand tied for the first position with scores of 91. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia this year showed the worst performance, scoring just 8 points each.

"The top performers clearly reveal how transparency supports accountability and can stop corruption,” the report added. “Still the better performers face issues like state capture and the oversight of big public contracts which remain major corruption risks,” the report concluded.