I know this question will raise many hands and will be regarded controversial among majority of readers. I have been thinking on this topic quite a long time and I went through some of the factors responsible for declaring any nation a failed state. With an ever-increasing load on economy, continuous penetration of militants into Pakistan from Afghanistan, increasing Islamic extremism, failure to provide “basic” necessities to the public, increasing protest from citizens on basic things like electricity, water and security, increasing level of violence during protest which needs to be peaceful, use of armed forces for the inner stability of country, increasing number of Internally displaced people (IDP’s), incidents of group of people declaring “state within a state” and last but no the least; failure of an “elected democratic” government in maintaining law and order situation.
Pakistan is being listed as 10th among the list of failed states or states which are close to be called failed nations. Three very important factors are being considered while judging a country’s condition. It includes social, economical and political indicators. I would like to briefly discuss every factor here;
1) Social Indicators
-Mounting Demographic Pressure: Unequal ratio of population growth and the services we provide is quite visible here in Pakistan. It also includes increasing border and land disputes and government’s less control over historical and religious sites.
-Massive Movement of Refugees and Internally Displaced People: We have recently seen huge number of IDP coming from war affected areas of Swat and other Tribal areas.
-Legacy of vengeance-seeking group grievance
-Chronic and sustained human Flight: We now have a massive brain drain of intellectuals, professionals and educated people from the country. There are an increasing number of voluntary emigrations especially by educated youth which is considered as the backbone of a country.
2) Economic Indicators
-Uneven economic development along group lines: We are observing that rich people are becoming richer and richer and poor people are still in pathetic conditions with a decreasing level of basic necessities.
-Sharp and/or severe economic decline: Thanks to IMF for the support otherwise we were very near to default.
3) Political Indicators
-Criminalization and/or delegitimisation of the state: No or less accountability of our past leaders and the corrupt judiciary system is something which I need not to talk much about.
-Progressive deterioration of public services: We have failed to provide security to our citizens and we have been observing series of suicide bombings and target killings all over the country. Furthermore; police, rangers and other law-enforcement agencies seems only to provide security to country’s top ruling elites. Basic necessities like food, health, education, sanitation and transportation are also a point of concern.
-Widespread violation of human rights: No matter how good or bad it is; we always witness a military rule after every few years. Political workers are imprisoned, media is harassed, judiciary comes under pressure, military is used for political solutions and religious or cultural persecution.
-Security apparatus as ‘state within a state’: We can never ignore the situations of Swat, Waziristan and other tribal areas of NWFP where militants are declaring state within a state. A quite similar situation is witnessed in Balochistan where different tribal areas have their own armies e.g Baloch Liberation Army (BLU) and the troubled areas of Dera Bugti where people do not want Pakistani government and forces to remain.
-Rise of factionalized elites
-Intervention of other states or external factors: Indirect intervention of United States and other countries in Pakistan’s personal and political matters including the use of force within the limits of Pakistan in the name of terrorism.
Political analysts and journalists worldwide usually come with the following statements to characterize a failed state as mentioned in wikipedia:
1) Loss of physical control of its territory, or of the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force therein: Pakistan has been under severe pressure from the international community for last 8 years to act against the terrorist forces operating into the country. There has been a significant increase in American drone attacks disobeying the Pakistan’s national boundaries.
2) Erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions: We have always seen conspiracies between important state institutions like parliament, media and judiciary.
3) An inability to provide reasonable public services: Current Pakistani government seems to be too much shaken by this threat of terrorism that its focus on providing public services seem to be lost.
4) An inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community: We do try to play our role as an active member of the international community but this role needs to be broadened and improved.
I know I am very ‘negative’ here in judging Pakistan as a state. Though we are still far behind to be declared as a failed state but the factors I discussed above are just a glimpse of where we are heading. We always cry for democracy and when it comes; it works as bad for us as a military ruler does. Democracy is a system of government in which the power lie within the people but what if the people do not have that state of consciousness to decide about right and wrong? The blame for the current situation of Pakistan largely goes towards its people. Yes; these are the people who always elect these representatives when ever there is ‘democracy’ and these representatives always fails to deliver and invite a military ruler to come and lead. If we want to make this country a peaceful place to live; we have to be intelligent and capable enough to decide whom we should and should not vote for. We need to be aware and critically conscious about whatever is happening around us. There is no revolution coming and we are never going to change if we do not change our selves. I pray for my country. Neither of us want to see Pakistan being declared as a ‘failed state’ so we have to open our eyes before its too late. May Allah be with Pakistan. May Pakistan live longer….Ameen!
Headings courtesy: www.wikipedia.org