Triggered by the latest Transparency International (TI) report on corruption, we are witnessing a contradictions galore in Pakistan these days. An evolving story loaded with hypocrisy and finger-pointing. Reactions by opposition sound so self-righteous as if their rule was flawless and above board. Let us scrutinize this in the light of case studies such as the stiff resistance by bureaucracy to reform, TI ranking and appointment of Syed Adil Gilani as PML-N ambassador to Serbia, and the objections to Senate elections through show of hands. As far the current government, it of course has failed in revising/reforming some fundamentals of the finance economy. It has failed to replace the obsolete Pakistan Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) with an online system. It also sacrificed Shabbar Zaidi who tried to reign in bureaucracy and dodgy businessmen through reform at FBR but instead was shown the door. Despite all this, let us see how the TI ranking has worked in the last decade or so. Indices on the status of corruption makes an interesting reading between 2010 and 2020. Under the PPP government the index improved from 146 in ranking to 139 in 2012. Surprisingly it improved by a whopping 17 points to 126 in 2014. The ranking in 2016 and 2018 was 116 and 117 respectively after Reasons? Should we assume that this staggering improvement in ranking and its consistency between 2014-2018 had anything to do with PM Nawaz Sharif decided to appoint oSyed Adil Gilani, the head of TI Pakistan chapter, as the Ambassador to Serbia. The decision was taken in October 2016. It triggered reservations within the ruling Pakistan Muslim League but they were all brushed aside in the typically Sharifs’ style. This was the time when the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) put Pakistan on notice an went on to grey-list it in June 2018. These were the years when Pakistan’s banking and financial system was profusely leaking because of massive money-laundering thanks to the rolling tens of millions from commissions off public contracts. These were the years when the top loyal Punjab bureaucrats were being rewarded with the leadership of nearly 60 private companies, with heavy emoluments. It was precisely this period when a State Bank Pakistan audit report indicted three banks including Sindh Bank and Summit Bank for gross violations of regulations and serving as enablers and conduits of money-laundering. Ishaq Dar ordered the SBP to cold-store that report. A similar attempt to bribe and silence Ardeshir Cowasjee, a great columnist, a shipping industry entrepreneur, and of course a great critic of Nawaz Sharif, had failed during the second Sharif tenure. At the residence of Begum Abida Hussein and Fakhar Imam in Islamabad, the late Cowasjee himself told us that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif requested a meeting and offered to send a special aircraft to Karachi to fetch him but he took a commercial flight to Islamabad. During the meeting at for a meeting at prime ministers office the PM offered him the governorship of Sindh. “I refused saying this was not my temperament.” They insisted but politely declined, recalled Cowasjee. But all of a sudden Shahbaz Sharif intervened and asked how was my shipping company doing. “Why don’t you take a loan for your shipping company, we can help with that,” Shahbaz said. When I said no thank you, how will I return the loan, Shahbaz said , who asked you to return the loan. Don’t need to bother about returning the loan. Cowasjee thanked the PM and there the story ended. Now, to the objections to the open balloting in the Senate elections. The entire opposition is up in arms against it for strange reasons. They choose to overlook that through the 18th Amendment, the then ruling PPP and other parties agreed to turn party MPs literally into slaves. Any body going against the party opinion basically stands expelled from the party. Is it democracy? If that was done to prevent horse-trading, why not go for open balloting in the Senate to defeat horse-traders? Governance, rule of law, and minimization of corruption is actually directly linked to the current governance structures as well as the mindset. Can someone tell me if they can get a job done in any public entity – FBR, Commerce, different development authorities such as KDA, LDA, CDA , without sifarish or bribes? Can all the Bars, before objecting to government decisions, look at what happens to the poor clients in all district courts and high courts? Common people suffer because of a particular, insensitive mindset within the bar and the bench. The Judiciary is always calling out the executive for failures. But what about the 5.6 billion penalty imposed on Paksitan – just because of three Supreme Court judges, who cancelled the deal on Reko Diq without realising the contract with the Tethian Copper included arbitration in London. How can apex court judges be so short sighted? Unilateral termination of contract with Broadsheet is another case in point; how in their wisdom did the decision-makers even think of escaping international arbitration? How did our legal wizards could even think of contesting cases abroad which resulted from extremely unprofessional handling? Lastly, the systemic corruption; how can all those politicians who have direct or indirect stakes in businesses like sugar, cement, wheat flour mills all over the country expect the government to function effectively and raise its revenue when they themselves are not ready to honestly pay taxes? Not a single company – where politicians are also stakeholders – is listed on the stock exchange. Why? Most probably because they don’t want to be accountable to the FBR. That is why on the one hand the national kitty is leaking and on the other hand its size is not increasing because of the collusion between the FBR, bureaucracy, the businessman and the politician. It is a crisis of conscience and integrity. It is the proverbial pot calling the kettle black, with the all aforementioned classes holding fingers to the other, without the slightest intent of subjecting themselves to legal and moral audit.