Pakistan’s army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and spymaster Zaheerul Islam are the only two from the country who have made it to a list led by US president, Pope Benedict XVI, Angela Merkel, Facebook’s founder and other global leaders on Forbes’s ranking of the mightiest earthlings.
The American magazine placed Kayani on the 28th spot for “controlling nuclear weapons and one of the world’s largest standing armies in an unstable country.”
Kayani had earlier given a statement issued by the public relations wing of the Army that caused a stir in the news. He said: “As a nation, Pakistan is passing through a critical phase.
Following Kayani is Inter-Services Intelligence’s (ISI) recently inducted chief, Zaheerul Islam.
The magazine’s 2012 list of the world’s most powerful people also features those who might raise an eyebrow or two: a Mexican drug baron, and the young leader of North Korea, a hermit state assailed for pursuing a nuclear program at the expense of feeding its very poor people.
Last year’s No. 2 on the list, Chinese President Hu Jintao, is among those who fell off the rankings altogether this time. In Hu’s case it is because he’s on his way out of office.
The ranking features 71 names, a figure Forbes said it set as a cutoff because there are an estimated 7.1 billion people in the world and thus the ranking works out to one very heavy hitter for every 100 million people.