Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Khaki Pakistan - 'A Top Failed State'?

In 2005 the US Foreign Policy magazine and the US-based Fund for Peace think-tank introduced the annual Failed States Index by ranking 76 nations according to their viability.

The "failed states index" is based on "tens of thousands of articles" from different sources gathered over several months in 2005 and reviewed by experts, its authors said.

Each nation was given an overall score based on the 12 criteria:

  • mounting demographic pressures
  • massive movement of refugees and internally displaced peoples
  • legacy of vengeance - seeking group grievance
  • chronic and sustained human flight
  • uneven economic development along group lines
  • sharp and/or severe economic decline
  • criminalisation and delegitimisation of the state
  • progressive deterioration of public services
  • widespread violation of human rights
  • security apparatus as "state within a state"
  • rise of factionalised elites
  • intervention of other states


In 2005 Pakistan was ranked 34th in a list of 76 countries topped by:

  1. The Ivory Coast (106.0 points)
  2. Democratic Republic of Congo (105.3 points)
  3. Sudan (104.1 points)
  4. Iraq (103.2 points)
  5. Somalia (102.3 points)
  6. Sierra Leone (102.1 points)
  7. Chad (100.9 points)
  8. Yemen ( 99.7 points)
  9. Liberia ( 99.5 points)
  10. Haiti ( 99.2 points)

34. Pakistan ( 89.4 points)
75. China ( 72.3 points)
76. India ( 69.5 points)


And so this week the 2006 Failed States Index was released.

And guess what? Pakistan has crashed dramatically to become the 9th most at risk state out of a newly extended list of 146 countries.

  1. Sudan (112.3 points)
  2. Democratic Republic of Congo (110.1 points)
  3. The Ivory Coast (109.2 points)
  4. Iraq (109.0 points)
  5. Zimbabwe (108.9 points)
  6. Chad (tie) (105.9 points)
  7. Somalia (tie) (105.9 points)
  8. Haiti (104.6 points)
  9. Pakistan (103.1 points)
  10. Afghanistan ( 99.8 points)

    BBC commented:
    Pakistan moved from 34th last year to ninth in the new report - one of the sharpest changes in the overall score of any country on the list.
    The contributing factors were Pakistan's inability to police the tribal areas near the Afghan border, the devastating earthquake last October in Kashmir and rising ethnic tensions, the report said.


Dunia's Stranger said...


It seems like Pakistanis are saying the index was influenced by an Indian of the FP mag's staff.

Here is what he said:

I question the rankings as well but I would not say it was due to an Indian. Thats just hilariously absurd.

I'm curious to your thoughts on Pakistan being ranked lower than Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.

Onlooker said...

The Defence Forum is a 'chat show' for retired military personnel and bureaucrats. This lot would happily blame anyone other than their own lot for the mess we find ourselves in.

The authors of the report state that the "failed states index" is based on "tens of thousands of articles" from different sources gathered over several months in 2005 and reviewed by experts.

Nevertheless the fall from a previous of 34th to this year’s 9th is too startlingly precipitous. I don’t for a moment believe that Pakistan is worse of than, for instance, Afghanistan. So, something must have gone askew with the various weightings used in compiling the report.

Having said that, a fall in the rankings was definitely due. Why?

Well, recently Musharraf has embarked on a collision course with many segments of Pakistan’s society. Forgetting the never-ending propaganda of “the three sardars” the writ of the state has largely ceased to exist in Balochistan, which comprises of 40% of Pakistan’s territory. Then there is Waziristan, which has also spun completely out of Islamabad’s control.

The regime’s covert support of the religious parties to overcome Musharraf’s ‘uniform issue’ in parliament has also led to a major blowback – substantially increased religious intolerance over large swathes of the country is the price that has begun to be paid.

Then there is the issue of the much overrated economic boom – most of it is related to massive share market and urban land speculation. The disparity in wealth has reached shocking proportions. The prices of essential consumer commodities – such as flour, lentils, cooking oil, sugar and milk – have risen relentlessly, placing the bulk of the population in misery. Poverty has increased substantially, notwithstanding Shaukat Aziz’s sham jiggling of statistics.

Then the issue of Musharraf’s legitimacy in power is fast becoming a burning question. With the elections due next year, how low will he stoop to ensure his continued stay in power? This just adds to the already serious growing list of uncertainties Pakistan has to face over the coming months.

We need stability in the country and for that one needs some sort of national consensus. But if the people don’t want Musharraf to continue (which I believe may be the case), things can only get worse as I am certain Musharraf has no intention of giving up his ‘kursi’.

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