Pakistan slips down development rankings: UN Report

Published: November 30, 2011
Almost half of the country’s population is deprived of basic education and health facilities. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Almost half of the country’s population is deprived of basic education and health facilities. PHOTO: AFP/FILE


Pakistan has slipped into the low human development group of countries as almost half of the country’s population is deprived of basic education and health facilities, according to a United Nations report released on Tuesday.

The United Nations Human Development Report 2011, titled “Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future For All”, ranks Pakistan at 145 among 187 nations as compared to 125 in 169 nations last year. In 2010, Pakistan was categorised as a medium human development country.

Although Pakistan’s ranking has lowered, there has been a marginal improvement compared to last year when 51.3% of the population was suffering from multidimensional poverty. This year, Pakistan is among 46 countries in the low human development category.

The report says that as many as 49.4% of the country’s population is living in multidimensional poverty, while 11% is at risk of being pushed into the category. It defines the phenomenon of multidimensional poverty using the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) which assesses the nature and intensity of poverty at the individual level in education, health outcomes, and standard of living.

According to the report, 53.4% of the population is suffering from intense deprivation while 27.4% lives in “severe poverty”.

Life expectancy and gender equality

The report states that Pakistan’s life expectancy at birth has fallen to 65.4 years from 67.2 in 2010.

Norway, ranked at number one and said to have very high human development, is where life expectancy is 81.1 years, almost 16 years more than in Pakistan.

Alarmingly, Bangladesh, a younger nation than Pakistan, also fares better at 68.9 years.

In terms of gender inequality, Pakistan is ranked at 115 among 187 countries. The report says that the labour force participation rate for women is 21.7% while that for men is 84.9%.

Talking solutions

“Pakistan has come out very poorly on all global indicators and, in most cases, we are at the bottom of the barrel,” Dr Nadeemul Haque, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, admitted at the launching ceremony.

Toshihiro Tanaka, the UNDP’s Country Director for Pakistan, said that the country needs to have better strategies to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and to finance its development.

To this, Haque admitted that Pakistan does not have a long-term overarching theme for growth and all the country’s policies are short-term. “For the past five years, per capita income has not increased due to low economic growth as well as high population growth,” he said.

As a solution to poverty, Haque suggested that people should be encouraged to migrate to cities. “In urban areas, women will also be included. But these cities must not be run as bureaucratic enclaves,” he said.

But ANP MNA Bushra Gohar criticised the report, which is considered the only comprehensive document to reflect Pakistan’s poverty situation, saying that it did not take into account the impact of floods, war against terrorism and internally displaced persons on development and environmental degradation.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2011. 

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Nov 30, 2011 - 9:49AM

    A conspiracy by our enemies US,India,Israel,Martians, etc.

    Or perhaps we should admit most of our problems are of our own making…

    Just sad.


  • Su 30MKI
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:53AM

    Alarmingly, Bangladesh, a younger nation than Pakistan, also fares better at 68.9 years : Certainly nothing to surprize. Bangladesh is no nonsense state, Minding its own business and working to improve living condition.

    What really matter its ability to pull up despite being relatively new country among saarc members..Pakistan lost its priority, and now has no credibility left in international forum..However its not over at all, it can pull up, only its has its heart in its place.. ;)


  • Ahmad
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:55AM

    Truly disappointing..
    Someone rightly said about Pakistan: “Leaders Ameer-tareen, Voters ghareeb-tareen”..


  • Nov 30, 2011 - 10:51AM

    Libya was ahead, look what happened.


  • Samir
    Nov 30, 2011 - 12:01PM

    But.. but… Imran Khan said if we tell the Americans to leave all of our problems will magically fix themselves?


  • islooboy
    Nov 30, 2011 - 2:03PM

    india has 8% homeless and 77% poverty according to bbc yes growth has slowed but not stopped


  • Hedgefunder
    Nov 30, 2011 - 2:16PM

    This is a result of pure mismanagement of resources and basic will to improve anything within the nation by its rulers !!


  • faraz
    Nov 30, 2011 - 4:01PM

    Nobody cares about these poor; people have bigger issues to deal with regarding Ummah!


  • Tariq
    Nov 30, 2011 - 4:23PM

    pure mismanagement & Courpt administrator…..Recommend

  • Kashi
    Nov 30, 2011 - 6:06PM

    haha funny reports after NATO supply is cuttoff from PAK.


  • Zoha Irfan
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:32PM

    It is very depressing that a country like Pakistan which has so much potential is suffering so badly today.We often contribute this issue with the material deprivation faced by a common man in Pakistan today that has led towards significant rise in poverty.However we fail to discuss and anaylize the current situation in relation to lack of proper educational facilities provided to youth of our country.Unfortunately we are a country where least amount of budget is spent on education that eventually results in poverty.Education can assist us to benefit in future as it will help people from rural areas to attain knowledge that will eventually make them helpful and responsible members of the society.We are the ones whose economy depends on crops we grow but the problem arises with low production each year as the farmers are not having true awarness about their work,education will give them oppourtunity to excel in respective God gifted talents that will automatically benefit the nation and this way we can relieve from burden of loans which is crushing the economy of Pakistan as half of the budget is spent on returning back the loans.IT will also greatly resolve the issue of unemployement which is giving huge rise to crime and theft ,thus this can be improved only via education as people will start to conform according to their social norms and will make people understand issues of inequality,power,culture,social control and ideology.Due to educational problems we are even facing religious conflicts that has sadly divided us into different sectarial groups and have made us lost the real meaning of ISLAM that encourages patience and equality.And lastly one of its most important function will be to teach people to vote a leader who is willing to resolve our problems with his firm ideology and courage which can lead us towards a better future.


  • Hedgefunder
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:35PM

    This is not funny! wake up!! This is reality for majority of people in Pakistan !!!


  • Proud Christian
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:44PM

    Sad state of affairs. However not all hope is lost. Establishment can still save Pakistan if it has the right heart


  • Hedgefunder
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:44PM

    @Proud Christian:
    Establishment can still save Pakistan if it has the right heart

    That’s the problem with Pakistan !! Its their Establishment !! They lost half of the nation, and have bankrupted the country, add to that have created a uneducated generation with fundamental beliefs and destroyed their own secular society at same time !!!
    Well Done !!


  • StrategicDepth
    Dec 9, 2011 - 7:35AM

    No matter, once the US leaves, Afghanistan has minerals worth over $3 trillion that Pakistan can capture and there will be money for more nuclear bums, missiles and BMW 7-series. If that doesn’t work, then North Korea and Iran will pay more for nuclear technology.


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