Pakistan angered over 'failed' report
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan ranks 12th on an index of failed states around the globe, according to a new report prepared by the Fund for Peace, an independent non-profit research and educational organization that works to prevent violent conflict and promote sustainable security in the world. Its neighbor Afghanistan ranks seventh. 
The fund's 2011 index is the seventh edition of the annual report of 177 countries based on their strengths and the challenges they face. This index is based on the fund's proprietary Conflict Assessment Software Tool (CAST) analytical platform.
Last year Pakistan was ranked 10th and this year was placed in the "weak but not failed" category.
The Washington DC-based Fund for Peace stated that weak and
failed states posed a challenge to the international community and created problems for their neighboring states. In an introduction to the index, the fund wrote:
By highlighting pertinent issues in weak and failing states, The Failed States Index - and the social science framework and software application upon which it is built - makes political risk assessment and early warning of conflict accessible to policymakers and the public at large.
Weak and failing states pose a challenge to the international community. In today's world, with its highly globalized economy, information systems and interlaced security, pressures on one fragile state can have serious repercussions.
The Pakistani government has blasted the report, saying it is based on false facts and figures, and called it a part of a campaign initiated by Western media and organizations to project Pakistan in a negative light.
A report recently published in Foreign Policy magazine said that Pakistan was on a list of countries that are on the brink of destruction.
Asia Times Online made several efforts to contact Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdos Ashiq Awan, but she was not in a position to talk.
However, former federal minister for information, Senator Muhammad Ali Durrani, commented, "All these reports are totally baseless and based on propaganda to defame Pakistan. Pakistan is not a failed state and also is not going to be in this stage in the future." He said that Pakistan had a strong economy and strong institutions.
He also rejected as "ridiculous, humorous and shameful" reports that the Pakistani government was in any way involved in embezzling foreign aid.
The Fund for Peace said that five core institutions in Pakistan were at a very critical stage - these include the leadership, the military, the police, the judiciary and the civil service.
According to the report, the population of Pakistan is 176.3 million. The primary exports are textiles, rice, leather goods and chemicals.
The report stated that social and economic indicators were poor and at their "warning level". Pakistan has a moderate population growth rate, a large youth bulge, a moderately high infant mortality rate and chronic food security problems. A lack of sanitation and inadequate health care increases the risk for the transmission of infectious diseases, the report says.
The report stated that more than 37% of the population lived below the poverty line. Inflation is the top concern and hit 15% in 2010.
Economic pressures have decreased the government's capacity to invest in the development of the country.
The World Bank recently warned Pakistan to improve its performance because of the increasing poverty gap and high inflation rates, which were worsened by the massive flooding of 2010.
The Fund for Peace report was prepared by J J Messner, senior associate and editor-in-chief at the organization, and his team. Messner told Asia Times Online, "The report is based on facts and figures and a lot of efforts were made during the preparation of this report. The Fund for Peace indicates the major flaws and failures of the states around the globe and the aim is actually an effort towards their sustainability."
Messner added, "The organization tends not to perform forecasting. However, it is possible to observe trends in countries over time which can be instructive as to the likely performance of a country in the near-term future. We are able to provide limited comment and analysis on specific countries, but require more specific information on aspects of a country's performance."
A senior stakeholder in the Pakistan administration told Asia Times Online on the condition of anonymity that rather than criticize and reject critical reports, people should learn form them and try to improve flaws and failures. "But unfortunately, we are not ready to accept our failures," he said.
A report published by Transparency International in 2010 said that Pakistan was the seventh-most corrupt country in the Asia-Pacific region and the 34th-worst in the world. This report was widely criticized by the government and Interior Minister Rehman Malik even called Transparency International an anti-state actor that wanted to destabilize the democratic setup in the country. Note
1. Somalia, Sudan and Chad were ranked the most failed states in the world. At the other end of the scale, the least failed were Sweden, Norway and Finland. For the full list, click here
. Malik Ayub Sumbal is a freelance investigative journalist based in Islamabad, Pakistan. He has worked for more than eight years for a number of national and international newspapers, magazines, journals, wire services and television channels. He can be contacted at
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