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The Pakistan’s Failure

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Signs of State Failure

Some nations are doomed to failure because they have allowed acts of violence, corruption, and other instances of poor governance in their territories. Such bad practice can lead to rather undesirable outcomes for both people of the failed state and its foreign policy. Currently, many countries face difficulties in providing qualitative governance for their public, and there are certain services that monitor such kinds of states and the way they perform. One of those services if the Fund for People (shortened FFP), which is a non-profit organization devoted to calculating the index of failed states in order to “prevent violent conflict and promote sustainable security” in those counties (Haken et al., 2013,p. 2). Many states showed low or failed performance for their people, and Pakistan is one of those countries. To prove or disprove belonging of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to failed states, this paper will analyze the crucial criteria for the determination of failed states, the political strategy of the country, and the chart of the Failed States Index.

Generally, states fail because the internal policy results in a high level of violence and do not ensure political goods for citizens. Such states have critically low legitimacy and soon their policy becomes illegitimate both in eyes of the majority of the population and the world’s community. It does not come as a surprise that occasionally some countries experience hard times in political and economic life, but nowadays specific Latin American, African, Asian, and Oceanic states altogether can pose a threat to “the very foundation of the system” of legitimate word by violating it with their own weaknesses (Rotberg, 2003, p.1). As a result, many big and powerful states face the “maelstrom of anomic internal conflict and messy humanitarian relief” (Rotberg, 2003, p. 1), which precludes them from complying with international norms such as predictability and stability. This, in turn, leads to hesitation between weakness and failure, sometimes even collapsing. Whether the state fails or succeeds is evaluated in accordance with its performance. The probable outcome is determined based on the level of delivery of the most crucial political goods in the state under consideration. Rotberg defines political goods as:

Those intangible and hard to quantify claims that citizens once made on sovereigns and now make on states. They encompass expectations, conceivably obligations, inform the local political culture, and together give content to the social contract between ruler and ruled that is at the core of regime/government and citizenry interactions (2003, p. 3).

The states that have failed are dangerous, highly conflicted, tense, and have warring factions.

Actions Taken by Pakistan’s Leadership, which Caused State’s Failure

Referring to the state under analysis, it failed from its roots when “failed to do even the basics of economic development” (Sastry, 2007, p. 35), which is done in the majority of similar developing states. For instance, Pakistan is an independent state for more than fifty years, and it still remains mostly an agricultural economy. In addition to that, there are calculations, which show that nearly 70% of Pakistanis are illiterate. The state produces mostly the goods of average and low quality and that is not complex like, for example, clothes, bicycles, textiles, sports goods such as cricket and football balls, and some agricultural products. It is interesting that for a long time, over fifty years, Pakistan continued to make an impression of a powerful state with a well-developed industry that produces technology goods of high quality to the world, and most certainly to India.

Mainly, Pakistan’s internal and external policy highly depends on its attitude toward India. Apparently, Pakistan pursues an Anti-Indian policy due to its social and political traditions, which both are connected and have religious roots. Throughout history, Pakistan and India fought four different wars against each other. The policy of Pakistan Republic was centered on the competition with India for a long lime, and this determined multiple numbers of government’s decisions in relation to all aspects of the country’s life. Additionally, Pakistan experienced plural problems with keeping the desirable boundaries with Afghanistan and India. Only in 1972, the state under analysis decided to normalize its relationships with India and signed the Simla Peace Agreement. After India peacefully exploded the nuclear bomb for the first time in 1974, Pakistan secretly started to work on the uranium experiment. As a response to that case, based upon the Pressler Amendment in the Foreign Assistance Act, the US imposed sanctions against Pakistan, because it was secretly involved in the nuclear project (Masud et al., 2013, p. 68). Owing to that issue, Pakistan lost the support of the US. Apart from this, the reputation of Pakistan on the international stage was ruined after the country supported Afghanistan in the Taliban regime. India used that as the chance to suspect Pakistan of financing Islamic militant groups in Kashmir. This caused the war between India and Pakistan in 1999 in Kargil, Kashmir. Such kind of foreign policy played a significant role regarding Pakistan as an unfriendly party by many other countries, which, in turn, affected Pakistan’s possibilities in evolution quite negatively both in the current and for the future situation.

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A significant impact of the Republic’s failure was the adverse publicity around Pakistan’s relation to 9/11 event. As Pakistan exploded the nuclear bomb in 1998 for the first time, the state received primary attention on the world’s arena after the US tragedy, because the main suspect of the event was the Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda based in Afghanistan. Moreover, Pakistan shared a long border with Afghanistan and supported the Taliban regime. The government of Pakistan was concerned that its relations with the US might not last for long as they were once interrupted in the past. There was a possibility that the US would abandon Pakistan when it will not be useful for the US in its strategic interests. Pakistan’s concerns around that question were soon proved since as soon as Osama bin Laden died, the US stopped to support Pakistan. Thus, the country is no longer independent in its external policy as soon as other states change their foreign policy, while Pakistan does not even have its basic foreign policy (Masud et al., 2013, p. 68). Taking into account this historical context, it becomes clear and understandable why Pakistan has so many difficulties in recovering its status from the “failure.”

Pakistan and FFP

According to The Failed States Index, in 2013, Pakistan was ranked at the thirteenth position, which constitutes a “High Alert” situation in the nation. In the period of 2005-2013, the country possessed both higher and lower rates but never left the “Alert” status, not to say reached at least “Stable” position (Haken et al., 2013, p. 4). Due to the new ratings of 2016, the state is still in the list of “High Alert,” occupying the 14th position with the rate 101.7 (“Fragile states index 2016,” 2016, p. 7). During the past decade, the Republic of Pakistan lowered its index for 1.6 points, making a “Marginal Worsening.” To understand how those indexes represent the overall conditions of countries, there is a list of indicators and their components, which are considered according to the rate estimations. They are as follows: social, economic, political, and military indicators (“Fragile states index 2016,” 2016, pp. 11-12). The evaluation of whether or not Pakistan is the failed state should be based on those indicators.

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Evaluation of Political and Military Conditions of Pakistan

Political and military indicators are the most essential ones to prove the fragility of Pakistan. For instance, on August 8, 2016, there has been a terrorist attack in Quetta, Balochistan. The state’s government stated that the action was in the context of conspiracy to subvert the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, shortened CPEC. Most importantly, the confusion created by the government depicts a convoluted approach to facing terrorism. In addition to that, the situation has “trivializes the deaths of so many and loss of the cream of the Baloch intelligentsia and its legal fraternity” (Banerji, 2016, p. 7). The parliament of Pakistan continues to work in a way that is considered irrelevant or superfluous. Parliamentarians are under conditions where they have no right to express any critique in relation to the “security agencies of the country on the floor of the house” (Banerji, 2016, p. 7). The security apparatus of the country keeps a monopoly on legitimate force usage. This fact combined with the competing groups caused the weakness of the social contract. Furthermore, Pakistan has two extremist ideologies – Salafism and Takfirism, which became highly popular for religious extremists and terrorists in the period between 1977 and 1988, which were characterized by the Zia martial law years. At this point, nothing seems to be different when it rules the policy. Corruption continues to exist in civilian and military areas. Regarding the refugee movements, Pakistan remains to be the country with the second-highest rate in the region after Afghanistan. It is obvious that when the country experiences such a high level of violation of human rights instead of protecting them, the responsibility lies on the government (Banerji, 2016, pp. 7-8).

Evaluation of Economic Conditions of Pakistan

An estimated number of Pakistan population is 170 million people, and it has a high rate of growth, which is the clear sign that the country has to develop economically in order to provide a better quality of life to its inhabitants. However, the economy struggles during the crisis. First, owing to many reasons, including the ones listed earlier, those Pakistanis who have graduated and are professionals in certain areas leave the country in search of better job prospects and living conditions. Thus, the country stays mostly with worse professionals, which, consequently, leads to the lack of experienced specialists to improve the economy. Second, the state is highly dependent on foreign debt and investments. There is a significant lack of commodities necessary for people. It was estimated that nearly 19% of inhabitants are malnourished and nearly 20% are below the international poverty line. Twenty-five percent of the population has remained unemployed in 2011. In accordance with Pakistan’s Finance Ministry, the foreign exchange reserves decreased for $10 billion. The country’s currency struggles from the ever-increasing rate of devaluation (Masud et al., 2013, pp. 66-67). The state pays little attention to the economy and that negatively affects all citizens and the political situations in the state.

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Concerning the security apparatus, it has many issues that make it even more difficult for the country to become stable. In 2008, President Musharraf focused on taking in his hand’s as much power as he could, which negatively affected the state’s democracy in addition to other reasons. During his Presidency “the modern, secular and liberal forces in Pakistan, with the exception of some businessmen and his own community” (Mezzera, 2008, p. 4) were placed in the position of aliens. Thus, there was no opposition to the ruling forces in the state. Moreover, the country felt a deep depression respecting human rights as the President was implementing the overall rules in order to prevent the increase in opposition, media freedom, and other actions, which only lowered the level of independence in that republic. To survive on the political stage, Musharraf had to use the card of the military (Mezzera, 2008, pp. 4-5). Regarding the numbers, the Security Apparatus indicator in 2012 had a ratio of 9.3, which was improved for 0.1 points compared to the previous year, but that was still a critical number. The conclusion that may be made from this is that despite the country was charged by the civilian government from 2008, the crucial power was still the military forces. The army has a right of the veto on policy and its own economic interests. Meanwhile, Pakistan had an over-powerful army so it had to handle the situation with terrorist groups who encroached on some parts of the state’s territory. However, the study data of the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies provided results that clearly showed that terrorism decreased during 2011 (Leoni, 2012).

Prospect for Success in Pakistan

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan can fight the status of “failure” if it provides a proper model of democracy, changes its government and policies, and gets approval from the international community in time. In the case of Pakistan, the country has to break its connections with radical Islam in order to prevent terrorism and extremism incidents. The next step is to renew the cooperation with the US and clear itself from all allegations. Pakistan has the possibility to reduce or even break the antiterrorism operations and make some crucial groups of Islamic world more radical, but this would only complicate the situation in the country. By all means, the country has to avoid the military’s ambition in the policy. Due to its wide focus on the religious image of the state, military capacity, and external strategy, Pakistan has experienced weakness internally, which in turn contributes to the state’s failure. The focus should be put on the internal economy. The separating policy in relation to the militaries and the civilians, the atheists, and the Islamists, and among different ethnic groups in the state must be removed. If the country will continue this harsh separation, it can lead to further conflicts and the collapse of the state.

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The US also plays an important role in Pakistan’s policy, so Pakistan should not use its financial loans for America as the manipulative device to control the internal politics of Pakistan. Both countries have to build strong relationships based on trust. With the independent foreign policy, Pakistan would be able to solve security issues. The world community might find it difficult to compel Pakistan to refuse from the status of the Islamic ideological state. The government in Pakistan has to be reformed and the world has to serve as the guarantor of those changes. This state should also leave the idea of building the “pro-Pakistani government” (Masud et al., 2013, p. 68) in Afghanistan or financing terrorism in Kashmir. Financial investments into social and military services should be well-organized. If the republic would implement those changes and thus establish democracy, build strong civil society, and secular political parties, the state would upraise from the status of “failure” and provide a better future for its people.


The analysis of Pakistan’s politics and conditions on the base of several sources has shown that the country can be considered as the failed state due to its policy, economy, social strategy, and foreign affairs. Focusing on military forces and ignoring important social reforms and aggressive foreign policy caused social instability, poverty, and the lack of independence. The research also explains how the state has reached failure from the historical perspective. The state has been moving in the destructive strategy for a half of a century. There is a real possibility for Pakistan to become a strong, independent, and successful country, but in order to attain that, the state’s government has to implement particular changes in the system and the world community has to control those changes.

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