Pakistan is ranked 10th on the annual Failed States Index, renamed this year as the ‘Fragile States Index’, a survey carried out by the Fund for Peace, a Washington-based research organisation.
Pakistan ranks just above Zimbabwe and Iraq, while South Sudan tops the index of fragile states. Afghanistan is ranked 7th on the list while India ranks 81.
In 2013, Pakistan ranked 13th on the index, which collates data from 12 indicators including demographic pressures, refugees and internally displaced persons, group grievance, human flight and brain drain, uneven economic development, poverty and economic decline.
The index categorises countries according to a spectrum of warnings, ranging from ‘very high alert’ to ‘very sustainable’ – Pakistan is described as state on ‘high alert’.
“Pakistan began 2013 on a promising note,” a statement from the Fund explains, but “one year later, the atmosphere of optimism that surrounded the elections is fading fast.” Sectarian violence, attacks on minority groups particularly in Balochistan, the failed peace talks between the government and the Taliban, and obstacles faced by humanitarian aid workers and health officials in the battle against polio are considered while categorising Pakistan as ‘very fragile’. However, the statement adds, “Pakistan moved up the list since 2013 not because of the worsening of its own scores but the improvement of others around it.”
“We won’t be seeing any countries turning their economies around overnight if they are facing demographic pressures or have huge political concerns, like corruption or human rights abuse,” remarked the Fund’s Executive Director Krista Hendry.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2014.