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Pakistan has an estimated population of over 220 million in 2021, and a growth rate of 1.95 per cent per year. Adding 5.28 million people per year to its population, it is projected to surpass Indonesia in size around the year 2048. Population growth remains one of the biggest challenges for Pakistan’s development, with 60 per cent of its population below the age of 25, and a fertility rate at 3.5 births per woman. This means that providing education, health and employment for a large and growing youth cohort will remain an issue for the foreseeable future.
Pakistan also has one of the highest rates of urbanisation in South Asia. Urban areas have expanded immensely between 1995 and 2015. For instance, it has been estimated that various urban sectors convert 3,016 hectares of agriculture lands annually for urban uses in metropolitan Lahore, and if this rate doesn’t slow, by 2030 all agricultural land at the fringes of cities will be urbanised.
The World Food Programme says that 21 per cent of Pakistan’s population is malnourished, 44 per cent of children under five years old have stunted growth, and 37 per cent of the population faces food insecurity, despite Pakistan being a major producer of wheat and rice.
Pakistan has major water shortages. It is ranked 14th out of 150 countries at high risk of water crisis. Water Aid notes that 17 million people in Pakistan lack access to clean water close to home, and 70 million lack access to a decent toilet, the majority of them in rural communities.
According to the latest new US World Ranking 2022, Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) Islamabad has been ranked 461.
Finland has been ranked as the happiest country in the world for the fifth consecutive year in the 2022 World Happiness Report. According to the report, Pakistan, after dropping 15 places in one year, currently stood at 121 on the list, whereas India ranked further down, ranking 136.
Pakistan spent around $11.3 billion for military purposes in year 2021 recording a nominal decrease of 0.7% from a year earlier, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri). The country is on 23rd spot on the list of countries with highest military expenditure in the world. Read here.
Corruption Perceptions Index — 2021
On January 25, 2022, Transparency International (TI) published its annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2021. Pakistan dropped 16 places for 2021 compared to the previous year, ranking 140 out of 180 countries. In 2020, Pakistan’s CPI was 31 and it was ranked 124 out of 180 countries. Under the PTI government, the ranking of Pakistan has gradually slid. In 2019, it was 120 out of 180 countries, in 2020, it was 124 and in 2021 it worsened further to 140. In 2018, during the PML-N government, the ranking was 117 out of 180 countries.
The CPI, which measures how corrupt a country’s public sector is perceived to be by its experts and businesspeople, uses a scale of zero to 100 where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. The 2021 edition of the CPI ranked 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, drawing on 13 expert assessments and surveys of business executives. According to Transparency International, the top-performing countries were Denmark, Finland and New Zealand — all having a corruption perceptions score of 88 — followed by Norway, Singapore and Sweden, all of them scoring 85. In contrast, the worst-performing countries were South Sudan with a corruption perceptions score of 11, followed by Syria (13), Somalia (13), Venezuela (14) and Afghanistan (16).
Inclusive Internet Index — 2021
Pakistan continued to slide on “Inclusive Internet Index” to drop to 90th rank among 120 countries, according to a global report for the year 2021. The index report was released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on April 14, 2021. It represents 98 per cent of global GDP and 96pc of global population, with stiff competition between Sweden and the United States for the top two slots over the past three years. After dropping to rank 2 in 2020 Sweden beat the United States to retake the top position, the 2021 report shows. The top performers in South Asia include India at 49 ranking compared to its position at 52 in 2020, while Sri Lanka was at 77, Bangladesh at 82 and Nepal at 83 rank in the index report 2021. Pakistan not only remained the lowest in South Asia, but also lags behind other regional states, like Iran. The 2021 index report highlights that the overall ranking of Pakistan was 90, against 89 in 2020 and 77 out of 100 countries in the index report 2019. The EIU has reported that at the 90th place overall, Pakistan ranks in the bottom quartile of the index and second to last in the Asia region. The “Gender Gap in Internet Access” between male and female was 65pc and the gap between male and female access to mobile phone was 51pc.
Global Innovation Index (GII) — 2021
GII is published by the World Intellectual Property Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations. Recognizing that innovation is a key driver of economic development, the GII aims to provide an innovation ranking and rich analysis referencing around 130 economies. Over the last decade, the GII has established itself as both a leading reference on innovation and a “tool for action” for economies that incorporate the GII into their innovation agendas.
Pakistan ranks 99th among the 132 economies in 2021. “Pakistan ranks 17th among the 34 lower middle-income group economies,” the GII report said. “Pakistan ranks 7th among the 10 economies in Central and Southern Asia.” Pakistan’s ranking on the index was 107 in 2020 and 105 in 2019.
Henley Passport Index — 2022
According to the index, Pakistan is placed on the 109th position on the list, with visa-free access to only 31 destinations across the world. Only three other countries’ passports rank lower than Pakistan’s in the world which include Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, there was little change in the top 10 most powerful passports compared to the last ranking. Japan and Singapore continue to share the number one spot in the ranking, with passport holders from both countries able to access 192 destinations around the world visa-free.
Therefore, Pakistan’s passport still fourth worst in world. Afghanistan remains at the bottom of the ranking with its nationals only able to access 26 destinations visa-free.
World Press Freedom Index — 2022
The 2022 freedom index, released by a media advocacy group called Reporters Without Borders (RSF), also showed a general decline across South Asia. RSF, a Paris-based media watchdog, released its report on the World Press Freedom Day, which was observed on May 3, 2022.
Pakistan was 145th on the 2021 index and fell to 157th on a list of 180 countries in 2022. India fell by eight places to 150th, from last year’s 142nd. All South Asian nations performed poorly on the RSF 2022 World Press Freedom Index except Nepal. Sri Lanka is on the 127th position this year, Bangladesh 152nd and Myanmar at 140th. Nepal, however, gained 30 points in the global ranking, moving to the 76th position from last year’s 106th.
Sustainable Development Goal Report — 2021
An annual publication, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Index claims to track a country’s performance on the 17 SDGs. The report combines data and analyses produced by the United Nations, the World Bank and others as well as from non-official sources (research institutions and non-governmental organisations).
The report 2021 highlighted that the pandemic has been a huge setback for sustainable development. For the first time since the adoption of the SDGs in 2015, the global average SDG Index score for 2020 has decreased from the previous year: a decline driven to a large extent by increased poverty rates and unemployment following the outbreak.
The score signifies a country’s position between the worst (0) and the best or target (100) outcomes. Pakistan with an overall Index score in 2021 of 57.7 means that the country is on average 57.7 per cent on the way to the best possible outcome across the 17 SDGs. This score is 1.5pc higher than the country’s score in 2020. Pakistan is categorised in the East and South Asia region that comprises 21 countries including China and Singapore, pushing the regional scores upward. Compared to 2020, Pakistan’s performance has increased by 3pc in the region.
Despite the Covid-19 global pushback, Pakistan’s SDG Global Rank is 129 (out of 193) in 2021, improved by five ranks, 134 (out of 166) in 2020. Compared to its neighbours, Bangladesh’s rank stayed at 109 during 2020 and 2021. India’s rank declined by three, from 117 to 120 between 2020 to 2021. Read here.
WJP’s Rule of Law Index (RLI) — 2021
Pakistan slipped 10 places to 130th position out of 139 nations in the Rule of Law Index 2021 global ranking. The report of the World Justice Project shows Pakistan among the lowest-ranked countries in its adherence to the rule of law. The country of around 221 million is only ahead of Afghanistan in the regional ranking. Pakistan managed a poor 0.39 score, in the range from 0 to 1, with 1 indicating the strongest adherence to the rule of law.
Meanwhile, the country is among the three worst in respect to order and security, listed at 137 while it stands at the 124th, 123rd, 126th and 123rd position in civil justice, regulatory enforcement, fundamental rights, and corruption, respectively. Pakistan is in the fourth position out of a total of six regional countries assessed in the area of the criminal justice system, civil justice, open government, and constraints on government powers. Earlier, the WJP’s Rule of Law Index (RLI) 2020 listed Pakistan at 120th whereas the country was ranked at 117 in 2019.
Global Gender Gap Index — 2021
Pakistan slipped two spots since last year to rank 153rd out of 156 countries on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2021, published in April 2021. Pakistan ranked seventh among eight countries in South Asia, only better than Afghanistan. Pakistan’s gender gap has even widened by 0.7 percentage points in 2021 compared to 2020. The South Asian nation was ranked as the sixth most dangerous country for women in a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll in 2018, with hundreds of women and girls killed each year by family members angered at perceived damage to their “honor.” In the WEF’s 2021 report, Pakistan featured among the bottom 10 countries in two of the four sub-indexes: economic participation and opportunity (152nd) and health and survival (153rd). It also noted some improvement in the share of women who were in professional and technical roles, 25.3%, up from 23.4% in a previous edition of the index. The WEF said only 46.5 percent Pakistani women were literate, 61.6 percent attended primary school, 34.2 percent attended high school and 8.3 percent were enrolled in tertiary education courses. Read here
Democracy Index — 2021
Classified as a ‘hybrid regime’, Pakistan was ranked 104th among 167 states on the global Democracy Index 2021, compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). As for the region, ahead of Afghanistan, Pakistan trailed Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India among South Asian states on the index.
However, Pakistan retained its place among the eight least democratic countries among the 28 nations in Asia as the COVID pandemic negatively impacted democracy and freedom around the world for a second successive year, the EIU index stated. Pakistan received a score of 5.67 in the category of electoral process and pluralism; 5.36 on the functioning of government; 3.33 on political participation; 2.50 on political culture; and 4.71 on civil liberties. Interestingly, Pakistan’s score on the index has been witnessing a slight decline since 2013 when it registered its highest score of 4.64 with the first civilian handover of power in the country. The score dipped to 4.17 in 2018, the year of formation of the Pakistan Tehrik Insaf government at the center. The score slightly improved to 4.25 in 2019 and 4.31 in 2020 that marking the advent of the global pandemic. Read here
Global Hunger Index — 2021
Pakistan ranks 92nd out of the 116 countries with a score of 24.7, which indicates serious level of hunger, according to the 2021 Global Hunger Index. The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and national levels. Except India, the ranking of Pakistan is lower than all other countries of South Asia and other neighbouring countries. Region-wise, South Asian and African countries are the areas where hunger levels are highest. Hunger in both regions is considered serious. Africa South of the Sahara and South Asia having the highest hunger levels with GHI scores of 27.1 and 26.1, respectively. South Asia’s high regional hunger level is driven largely by child undernutrition, particularly as measured by child wasting. At 14.7 percent, South Asia’s child wasting rate as of 2020 is the highest of any world region. South Asia’s child stunting rate, at 31.8 percent, is nearly as high as that of Africa South of the Sahara. Read here
Human Development Index (HDI) — 2020
Pakistan was ranked 154th among 189 countries on UN’s Human Development Index (HDI) 2020 rankings.
E-Government Development Index (EGDI) — 2020
Pakistan was ranked 153rd among the 193 countries surveyed in the 2020 UN E-Government Development Index (EGDI) report which marks a decline in ranking in comparison with the report published in 2018 [148th]. Read here.
Global Climate Risk Index — 2021
Titled “Global Climate Risk Index 2021“, the report by Germanwatch was released on Monday and showed Pakistan drop from 5th most vulnerable country to climate change, to the 8th position. In 2019, Pakistan was listed eighth most vulnerable country but it climbed three spots to attain the fifth position in 2020. Despite the improvement in its standing this year, Pakistan is still ranked amongst the top ten countries most at risk of climate change. The think-tank said it took into account most data from 2000 to 2019 to analyze and rank “to what extent the countries and regions have been affected by impacts of climate-related extreme weather event” such as storms, floods, and heatwaves. Its Long-Term Climate Risk Index highlighted Pakistan lost 0.52% per unit of its GDP due to climate change and 173 climate-related events from 2000 to 2019.