Stories about poor

What does it mean to be a ‘failed state’?

The term “failed state” has been thrown around with wild abandon for quite a while now and has only grown in popularity and public prominence since Foreign Policy magazine, in partnership with US think tank Fund for Peace, started publishing its annual Failed States Index in 2005. But what does it mean to be a “failed state” and what is the real impact of this index? The ranking is based on the total scores of 12 indicators. For each indicator, ratings are placed on a scale of 0 to 10. The total score is the sum of the indicators and is ...

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Don’t call my country ‘Hell’

“I want to plead guilty, and I’m going to plead guilty 100 times over”. Faisal Shahzad, a suspect in the failed Times Square bombing said this on Monday when he pleaded guilty in a US court. I read this the same day I read that Pakistan has been declared failed. Again. A report by the US based Foreign Policy Magazine ranked Pakistan 10th on the Failed State Index 2010. We have been characterized as failed by a measure of social, political and economic indicators. I have acknowledged it and come to terms with it. There are a few things, however, that ...

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Hunger knows no friend but its feeder

While a minority, born with a silver spoon living in their palatial havelis, luxurious farm houses and bungalows, can talk about the problems being faced by the country such as fake degrees, terrorism, the presidency and target killings on their dinner tables, with generators on standby and water tankers at their disposal, there are millions in this ‘land of the pure’ who survive on one meal per day and it is nearly impossible for them to make both ends meet no matter how hard they try. They are the deprived class, peasants or the masses that are being continuously exploited ...

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Dilemma: Only 1.7m pay taxes in Pakistan

As always, we have to blame the other for our actions. No wonder Pakistan is at the verge of being globally labelled as a “failed state” and many countries do not want to be diplomatically associated with it. Conspiracy theories are something we live for, and do not even have the courage to verify. Most conspiracy theories come from sources who feed on propaganda purposely or only for “speaking the public’s language”. But we will not learn and be truthful to ourselves. Because we just like believing in them. The media is talking about Pakistanis not paying taxes, that only 1.7 ...

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Pakistan: poor economy, rich country

It was January 2008, a relatively cold morning in Dubai. I was walking on Shaikh Zayed Road after parking my car about 300 meters from the meeting point with my client. I stopped suddenly before Crown Plaza upon hearing a Pakistani labourer arguing with a guy, claiming that UAE was not a rich country. I went up to the gentleman and said “Khan Sahab are you crazy? You are standing on Shaikh Zayed Road, the heart of Dubai and you are saying that this country is not rich?” He smiled and responded with a statement that I can never forget. He ...

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Irony on wheels

I was on my way to a meeting at II Chundrigar Road yesterday. As usual, there was a big, annoying traffic jam on the street, courtesy it being the main artery of Pakistan’s famed financial district. With everybody stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, my car ended up wedged next to a Rolls Royce Phantom, net worth Rs 34 million. Inside the car was a prominent Pakistani media personality, who was driving the Rolls himself, and accompanying him were two Toyota Vigos in front of and behind the vehicle, with private guards openly displaying their AK47s to everybody on the road. I was ...

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