Why Pakistan Defies the Failed State Narrative?

In the face of various adversities, Pakistan has demonstrated incredible resilience and success, and several variables contribute to this resilience.

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Men boating at Mahodand Lake, Swat, Pakistan[ Photo Credit: Shuttergames/ Unspalsh]

Despite the worst pandemic (Covid-19) and flood destruction, Pakistan is anticipated to grow at a 3.2% annual rate in FY 2023/24, according to a World Bank estimate.

Pakistan has long been associated with negative stereotypes, with many seeing it as a failing state. Poverty, terrorism, political instability, and corruption have all been problems for the country. Despite these challenges, Pakistan has demonstrated amazing resilience and success.

Pakistan was established in 1947 as a result of the partition of British India. At its foundation, the country faced various problems, including the migration of millions of people and the formation of a new administration. Pakistan’s early years were defined by political instability, with numerous changes in administration and periods of martial law. Throughout Pakistan’s history, the military has played an important role, with various military coups taking place.

In the face of various adversities, Pakistan has demonstrated incredible resilience and success, and several variables contribute to this resilience.

Economic progress:

Pakistan has achieved significant economic growth in recent years, with its GDP growing at an average rate of 5.2% per year between 2013 and 2018. The agriculture sector in Pakistan is a vital component of the country’s food security and economic stability, providing a foundation for resilience. This growth has been driven by industries such as IT and textiles, with Pakistan becoming one of the largest exporters of textiles, which account for the majority of Pakistan’s exports, valued at $19.33 billion in 2022 in the world. The IT industry has also seen significant growth, with the government actively promoting the sector as a key driver of economic growth.

According to the World Bank, the poverty rate in Pakistan has decreased from 64.3% in 2002 to 24.3% in 2015. However, major obstacles exist, particularly in rural regions. The government has made initiatives to address the issues of poverty, unemployment, and inequality, including the introduction of a poverty alleviation program and the implementation of a national minimum wage. However, more must be done to guarantee that the advantages of economic progress are more fairly distributed.

Political progress:

Pakistan has achieved substantial political progress in recent years, with civilian administrations peacefully transferring power. There has also been more journalistic freedom, with more coverage of political and social topics. To further reinforce democratic processes, the administration has made initiatives to strengthen institutions such as the judiciary and the Election Commission. To improve democratic institutions, the administration is aiming to increase openness and accountability.

Security Improvement:

In recent years, Pakistan has experienced considerable security challenges, including terrorism and regional wars. Terrorist assaults have long plagued the country, with the most recent being the 2014 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, which killed 132 students and 9 staff members. Regional crises, notably the ongoing violence in neighboring Afghanistan, have also had an impact on the country.

Despite these difficulties, Pakistan’s military and security forces have achieved tremendous advances in battling terrorism and enhancing security. Pakistan boasts a robust military, which serves to preserve stability and protect its territorial sovereignty. The commencement of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in 2014 was a watershed moment in Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts, with the military effectively striking terrorist strongholds in tribal areas. As a result, the number of terrorist attacks in Pakistan has reduced dramatically, with a 62% decline in the number of events and an 83% decrease in the number of deaths between 2014 and 2019.

Pakistan has also made progress in improving regional security, particularly through its role in the Afghan peace process. Pakistan has played a key role in facilitating peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, to promote stability and security in the region.

Social progress:

Pakistan has made significant progress in recent years in improving social indicators such as education, healthcare, and gender equality. The government has invested heavily in improving access to education, particularly for girls, with the number of out-of-school children decreasing by 22% between 2017 and 2019. According to UNESCO, Pakistan’s literacy rate has improved from 43% in 1998 to 63% in 2017. Healthcare has also improved, with the government launching several initiatives to increase access to healthcare services and improve the quality of care.

Pakistan has made strides toward gender equality, notably through legal measures such as the Protection of Women Against Violence Act and the Criminal Law Amendment Act. Women’s representation in Pakistan’s National Assembly has increased from 20.7% in 2013 to 20.9% in 2018. Civil society has been critical in advancing social change, notably via lobbying and awareness-raising initiatives on topics like gender-based violence and child marriage.

Continued investment in economic growth, political stability, and social advancement is required for Pakistan to build on its achievements and tackle the remaining problems. The overseas diaspora has historically helped the country in times of need through remittances and foreign direct investment. Friendly countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are also assisting the country in overcoming its economic difficulties.

Muhammad Wasama Khalid

Muhammad Wasama Khalid is a Correspondent and Researcher at Global Affairs. He is pursuing his Bachelors in International Relations at National Defense University (NDU). He has a profound interest in history, politics, current affairs, and international relations. He is an author of Global village space, Global defense insight, Global Affairs, and modern diplomacy. He tweets at @Wasama Khalid and can be reached at Wasamakhalid@gmail.com

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