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Real, Fake and Failed States: Where Does Pakistan Stand?

In its recent publication, US Foreign Policy magazine raised the issue of failed states.


The magazine put Pakistan on its list of failed states at ninth position. A year ago, Pakistan was at thirty fourth position, but now it moves it to ninth position, which shows the perception of foreign intellectuals about Pakistan.


First, determination of failing states as failed states is not correct. A state should not be considered a failed until it completely fails and dismembers. In recent history, we may cite the examples of Soviet Union and Yugoslavia as failed states. Both, Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, failed as states thus vanished from the map of the world.


Instead of labeling ‘failing states’ as ‘failed states’ the states should be categorized as ‘real’, ‘fake’ and ‘failing’ states.


There are two criteria to judge whether a state is a ‘real’, ‘fake’, ‘failing’ or failed state. And those two criteria are: Economic and Political.


80 to 90% Real states have perfect political and economic system. Real states have solid economic base which easily takes care of its citizens’ economic needs through controlled or free enterprise. Majority of the citizens of real states have enough of economic opportunities to live prosperous and happy life.


Real states also have functional, democratic systems which reflect the power of their citizens over their state apparatus. Final political arbitrators of real states are their citizens. They democratically elect their representative through fair and free elections who formulate and control state policies on their behalf.


Keeping this criteria in mind, if we look at different states around the globe there are no perfect real states. Most of the states are in transition trying to achieve the level of real states. Some of them are almost there, some are little away and some haven’t started their journey as yet. G-8 states, with the exception of Russia, are almost there. Their economies are taking care of the economic needs of their citizens. They are functional democracies.


In Pakistan’s neighborhood, India has strong possibility to become a real state. Politically it is already there. It has a functional democratic system which has stood the tests of time. Economically, it is moving very fast to become a real state. Once, it achieves the level of economic ease to fulfill the economic needs of its citizens it will become a model real state.


Comparative to India, economically China is way ahead, but politically it is way behind. Until China starts moving toward democracy, it will remain a state in transition and it will not achieve the level of real state. India has better chances of becoming a real state because it has already achieved political maturity. To become a real state, all it needs is to achieve economic level where its economy should take care of the economic needs of its citizens.


As far Pakistan is concerned, it is not a failed state as yet. It is still a fake state both economically and politically. Pakistan’s economy is not taking care of its citizens. Also, Pakistan does not have a viable democratic political system. It has not started its journey towards becoming a real state. Due to its dysfunctional economy and political system, it is sliding downhill fast to become a failed state.


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