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Why Pakistan is not a failed state


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More than 24,000 Pakistanis form the world’s largest “human national flag” in Lahore. –APP Photo

It’s been about a week since the Connecticut school massacre, and Americans are still grieving.

Yet we’re comforted by the thought that, with time, the bereaved community of Newtown will bounce back. Students will return to school, and victims’ families will somehow get on with their lives. This is because America, as politicians and the US media have intoned repeatedly in recent days, is a strong and resilient society.

For me, such words bring to mind another strong and resilient society — one that endures constant afflictions, tragedies, and privation. I can think of few nations that suffer more misery than Pakistan.

Pakistan certainly isn’t the only country where, in a span of hours, an infant can be bitten by a rat in a hospital nursery, and 16 people can die from consuming toxic cough medicine. This happened several weeks ago.

Yet, place these individual incidents alongside the unending onslaught of natural disaster, insurgency, terrorism, corruption, poverty, natural resource shortage, and disease. Now you can understand why so many Pakistanis suffer from PTSD, and are driven to desperate measures.

In 2008, in one of the most harrowing pieces of journalism I’ve ever read, Newsline’s Shimaila Matri Dawood wrote of Pakistanis murdering their children, jumping in front of trains, and setting themselves on fire — all because they couldn’t provide for their families.

Still, the aim of my final post of 2012 is not to dwell on Pakistan’s suffering. It is to showcase the remarkable strength and resiliency with which the Pakistani society responds to it.

When the 2010 floods plunged 20 per cent of the nation underwater, the government was largely missing in action. Yet doctors, housewives, students, and many others (not to mention the military) immediately deployed to the affected areas to render assistance. Of course, many Pakistanis minister to the needy every day, and not just after humanitarian catastrophes. Witness the tireless work of Pakistan’s living legend, Abdul Sattar Edhi.

Some of Pakistan’s citizen-first responders come bearing not relief or medical supplies, but inspiring words and campaigns that galvanise the nation. Malala Yousafzai certainly comes to mind — as does Sana Saleem, the free speech advocate recently named one of Foreign Policy’s top 100 global thinkers of 2012 (Malala made the list as well). Their ilk will increasingly take center stage as older generations — led by the likes of the late Ardeshir Cowasjee — retire from public life.

Then there are those Pakistanis who use their rare gifts to benefit the country. The tragically short life of Arfa Karim, the teenaged IT genius who provided computer training to the poor, is a shining example.

Also admirable are those who labor under the most difficult of conditions, yet still pull off extraordinary acts. Take journalists and doctors, many of whom are severely underpaid and overworked, and work in dangerous environments. Admittedly, some of them succumb to the stress (recall the surgeon who left operating scissors in a patient’s stomach, and the journalists who fell for the infamous Shamsul Anwar hoax). Yet many more shrug off threats to break critical stories, or save countless lives. I’ll never forget the young doctor I met last summer, who told me he constantly fears getting attacked at his hospital by livid people denied care. When I asked why he keeps going back, his answer was immediate and simple: “Pakistan needs medical care.”

And then there are the besieged religious minorities, who quietly persevere in a nation that refuses to protect them. It’s a wonder more haven’t fled.

Finally, there are the simple yet poignant acts of charity and benevolence — like the kids in Karachi who collect garbage every Sunday, or the Islamabad-based peace activists who travel to KP to speak to students about tolerance and nonviolence.

One of Pakistan’s enigmas is how it manages to “muddle along” despite its multitude of problems. The answer can be found in its people, who hold the country together. They are undoubtedly driven by patriotism, which runs deep despite the nation’s divisions. This is why I cringe whenever I hear Pakistan referred to as a “failed state.” So long as the Pakistani society remains strong, I can’t imagine how Pakistan can fail.

At least not yet.

The question, in the years ahead, is whether Pakistan’s resilient society can beat back the cresting waves of militancy and sectarianism that threaten to tear Pakistan apart and, one day, even plunge it into civil war. Balkanisation, more so than an Islamist takeover, is a very real threat to the Pakistani state.

Up to now, the Pakistani society has stepped in to provide services and fill roles where the government is absent. Yet this isn’t a sustainable strategy. To avert disaster in the decades ahead, the Pakistani state will need to step up — and provide the leadership and good judgment long exemplified by its society.

See you in 2013.

The author is the Senior Program Associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. You can reach him at


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Michael Kugelman is deputy director of the Asia Program and senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. He can be reached at or on Twitter @michaelkugelman

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (147) Closed

Adil Dec 21, 2012 03:28pm
Michael appreciate your views but here I see one thing not right when you say a Islamist take over since these people are not Islamic who kill other and who destroy others home without any reason. And Islam does not allow these thing I will say The Shariah (Islamic Law) is the best to be implemented for Pakistan i.e. according to Quran and Sunnah. But as the time passes the media has played and notorious role in letting people know that the those people killing one another are muslims. But for your kind information those people who kill (other muslim or whether its a muslim or any human being) without any reason he is a disbeliever since Islam does not teaches these things. And he is getting of the track of islamic teachings, Any how the Shariah rule is the best and with out this we can perish.. undoubtedly what is happening (unwanted killing) is all against shariah. (Else Allah is all knowing).
malik Dec 21, 2012 04:55pm
If people (escpecally the rich ) don't pay taxes than how will the government have resources to respond to these events?
Balochi Cynic Dec 23, 2012 03:10pm
Pakistan is not even a state leave alone failed or other wise. it is a huge territory controlled by armed groups. a handful of them are more organized and others a little less. ideology, national interest, religion, the struggle for right of self determination are the justifications for their continued absolute power.
Md Imran Dec 21, 2012 04:56pm
Pakistan paindabad ! Pak Fauj zindabad ! Pakistan forever..thanks Mr.Kugleman !
reality not selected truth Dec 23, 2012 01:41pm
When one understand there is a difference between system and society one starts understanding which countries are failed. System is there to help the society get stronger, a society which can stand on its own nomatter what happens at many levels. Stronger a society any crises any problem will be dealt with. A weak society collapses at the first problem that comes their way. Any other country having the same set of problem pakistan has had would have collapsed long time ago.
Hamood Dec 21, 2012 03:22pm
Good one Michael. Any country with such problems (especially since 2002) would have gotten destroyed by now. But Pakistan keeps plugging along and was even named in the next 11 economies to watch for on a global index. That being said, we need to get rid of corrupt politicians of PPP and N-league who keep looting the country every time they come in power and elect honest people like Imran Khan. Every resiliency has its limits.
Khan Dec 21, 2012 03:21pm
Apart from Pakistani people there are also some divine powers who have protected this country in harsh times. Pakistan Zindabad.
MJ Dec 21, 2012 04:37pm
I agree that there are individuals in Pakistan who rise above the clutter and accomplish great personal and humanitarian feats but the term "failed state" still applies to Pakistan because as a country, nation, political entity and government we have miserably failed altogether.
Sohail Ahmed Dec 23, 2012 07:24pm
Thanks you Michael ! One of the masterpiece articles that I have read since long. I have saved in my archives for re-re-re-reads. Very well researched and beautifully articulated facts. Nation is ready, but leaders are non existant. This nation has the potential to touch the skies, when they will find
anwar kamal Dec 23, 2012 03:27pm
By comparing you can get self-satisfaction.But compare the law &order,human rights (including the condition of women ) with any other country of this sub-continent.
Ira Dec 21, 2012 02:34pm
Great Article to lift up the spirits of the Pakistani's and find some reassurancee of the ability and strength within ! I hope we can overcome this chaos with the right attitude and under right leadership soon. We Pakistanis are blessed with a beautiful country with abundant resources and natural talent we just need to speak up against the attrocities and not be lazy anymore. Its time we prove ourselves to the world !
Mahis Dec 21, 2012 02:15pm
Saddening yet inspiring.
raika45 Dec 21, 2012 02:13pm
You apparently or conveniently forgot one MAJOR factor that faces Pakistan.It's colossal financial debt that is due soon.I salute the people for their resilience in the face of adversirty, but who is going to save the nation from this economic crisis? I do not read the government making plans to address it.How long can the people give their support when there is no surety given by the government to tackle this impending financial "storm".It has only some 13 billion in the kitty.
raw is war Dec 21, 2012 02:11pm
Because you say so?
saad rehman Dec 21, 2012 02:04pm
nice article.
Bilal qureshi Dec 21, 2012 04:05pm
Very good article. I feel proud to be a Pakistani.
Neer Nayan Dec 23, 2012 06:41pm
This remains a stark reality in the sub-continent that it is the common citizen who still is governed by her/his conscience and is instrumental in the sustaining an otherwise highly collapsable corrupt system of governance!
jay komerath Dec 21, 2012 03:53pm
It is not a simply failed state,it is a miserably failed state,with only a slight chance of improving,but not unless the mind set of the theiving politicians and the Hopless uneducated Muslim clergy Unless they reallise thiis window of time frame,Pakistan IS DOOMED.-IT WILLBE LIKE IRAN
nsmdma Dec 23, 2012 07:48pm
Pakistan is No. 1 failed state in the opinion of the whole world except Pakistan
Akhilesh Dec 21, 2012 05:01pm
Hope is fading away for this country; but I do hope this country survives, lest it becomes a bigger burden on my country - India.
Raj Dec 21, 2012 05:16pm
This proves that good citizens cant make a successful state. Pak is failed state with successful people.
Imran Dec 21, 2012 05:18pm
Michael,no need to cringe when you hear people saying Pakistan is a failed state. These are just jealous Indians who have never managed come to terms with the idea of Pakistan and are now revelling in seeing our current problems. These problems will pass, God willing. We know we are not failing, you've just happened to realised it now.
Atif Dec 21, 2012 05:25pm
"To avert disaster in the decades ahead, the Pakistani state will need to step up
Suraj Dec 23, 2012 06:12pm
We in India understand your love for Pakistan my friend,but the situation is bad as seen in the media of Pakistan like Dawn.
Salman Dec 21, 2012 05:41pm
Thanks Michael ! Yes, we will survive !
Raj Dec 21, 2012 05:58pm
I fail to understand how few % of population can take ride of fate of community as a whole ??? In every society there are hard liners but the majority moderate don't agree with them and contained them to minimum distortion of their faith. In Pakistan extremist are in minority even though they are allowed by moderate majority to represent as a ideology of Pakistan. If you don't contain them then don't blame others how they look at Pakistani in general. Surely I don't believe any state is become failed state. Every country gone through rough patches.
A Shah Dec 23, 2012 10:19am
FAIL FAIL FAIL! Pakistan is a 100% failed state and anybody who cant see this is either fooling themselves or blind! No industry (apart from drug smugling and terrorism) no education, no law and order.
G.A. Dec 21, 2012 06:26pm
Pakistan is like a video game where every next level gets tougher and tougher. Currently it seems like everything under the sun is being thrown at it along with the kitchen sink. It's clearly at a make or break level. Mr. Kugelman's hopeful and positive words are what this nation needs at the moment to carry on struggling for a better country.
XL Dec 23, 2012 10:16am
It would have been a better article if the author had defined (broadly) what is a failed state and applied those Parameters to show that Pakistan is not a failed state. We are genetically programmed to survive. People survive even in Sub Saharan Africa. That just can't be a parameter to call it a successful country. If a successful country looks like Pakistan I would not wish for any country to be successful.
Anony Dec 21, 2012 07:00pm
I LOVE my Pakistan
Sidster Dec 21, 2012 07:12pm
Thank You for your Optimism. It is true that Patriotism runs deep that is why Pakistan have not disintegrated. May Allah give us more strength to bring peace to our land, Ameen.
Salman Dec 21, 2012 07:45pm
I love this piece..... made me wanna cry..... we love u too much Pakistan..... how loud can we say this :(
Rashid Dec 23, 2012 05:50pm
when author suggested that Pakistan is a successfull country. Please read before commenting..
Iqbal Dec 21, 2012 08:12pm
respect to the writer... thank you very much
IndiaUSA Dec 23, 2012 05:32pm
Stratigic that all u'v got...
Capt C M Khan Dec 21, 2012 08:59pm
Micheal you are correct. Pakistan's population is 180 million. 15% Educated means 20 million. These are are the ones who are fighting against all odds and holding the country together. The British gave Pakistan some good infrastructure in school, colleges, hospitals etc which is producing these 15%,
Danish Dec 21, 2012 09:07pm
Of course Pakistan is not a failed state, but if the current crop of Pakistani leadership does not change its thinking, Pakistan will not be away from becoming one. Not just keep military out, but clip its power, make it subservient to the political leadership, just the way it is in US, India or China. BUt is the voice of people adequately represented by Pakistani govt.? No. Pakistan deserved much better.
Ali Dec 21, 2012 09:09pm
You need to go back to nation 101, when people are successful the state can not be called failed. I am glad you agreed with the main part.
Ahmed Dec 23, 2012 05:23pm
Pakistan as state may be failing or will survive, I hope and pray by the will of ALLAH. but i can certainly see a Pakistan nation evolving and that will never fail, INSHALLAH. A nation where all Pakistanis are equal under law, regardless of creed, religion, sect ; a nation where values are respected and tolerated cause the biggest cause it to respect human dignity. May Allah help Pakistan realize a true Pakistan nation.
Imran Dec 21, 2012 09:53pm
I think you're really muddled up buddy.
Imran Dec 21, 2012 10:10pm
No, because we the Pakistanis say so.
Silajit Dec 21, 2012 10:32pm
Tell people what they want to hear. Always a sure fire winner!!!
Thoughtful Dec 21, 2012 10:47pm
Fantasy article! Far from reality. Pakistan is not only a failed state but extremely dangerous to the civilized world due to its backwardness, lack of any kind of moral and ethical value, and militant and voilent nature of its citizens.
Indusonian Dec 21, 2012 10:50pm
Every common person love this motherland, no question. But at the same time there no question that the majority of politicians think otherwise.
Shaheena Dec 22, 2012 12:07am
really Raj? your comment also proves that haters like yourself will take up any opprtunity to kill other's hope and enthusiasm....
Shaheena Dec 22, 2012 12:10am
Excellently done, michael.
Faiza G R Bhatt Dec 22, 2012 12:36am
Pakistanis just need rulers who could align the long term goals of the country with the aspirations of the people. i am pro PTI just for this reason. great article by a young budding writer and scholar.
aabdul Dec 24, 2012 03:48pm
Before you lecture others, first write your id and full address.
Sue Sturgess Dec 22, 2012 01:46am
In most nations, the govts have developed systems to ensure taxes are paid. Paying tax is compulsory, not a choice.
Sauron Dec 22, 2012 01:47am
The arguments are i the favor of Pakistan being a successful society, despite being a failed state.
Sania Dec 22, 2012 01:50am
Thank you for your kind words. We appreciate your words of encouragement. I believe in the law of attraction which simply means when you ask what you want, believe it will come true and receive it as it has already happened with utter faith, then it will come to you! Pakistan will survive and I have faith it will!
syama Dec 23, 2012 08:49am
Down but not out.. you are never out, till you give up.
bq45 Dec 22, 2012 02:41am
This November, I visited Pakistan after 10 year
Umair Dec 22, 2012 03:32am
Yes that's why I love my great mother land - "Pakistan Zindabad"
aabdul Dec 24, 2012 03:47pm
You are day dreaming more than the author. Equality based on religion will never exist in Pakistan. Pakistan is a very divided nation, it is feudal and heterogeneous. The author compares it to America, what a joke.
Suraj Dec 23, 2012 08:10am
If Pakistan is not a failed state than by you definition what is a failed state?If this is not failure of Pakistan then what is the failure of Pakistan. Compared to America Pakistan is a failed state.
Beg Dec 22, 2012 04:10am
Pakistan is a new name for thousands years civilization called Indus Civilization. The civilization which survived thousands of years know how to survive
anand singh Dec 22, 2012 04:12am
If I were a Pakistani , I too would feel this way . I would like to see a silver lining. Furthermore, I like any other sane person worldwide would like to see my neighbor prosper & do we. So what if we have little in common- we were brothers once. However, the indicators are to the contrary. The indicators I refer to are not with regard to what is happening in Pak but with regard to what is NOT happening. What is not happening is the expected ground swell of resentment on how a few are taking the nation down the path of self destruction. The inability of the state to fight back & crush those who make the lives of the common man unsafe , the lack of will to squarely face & solve a problem thats eating into the vitals of the nation. The Armed forces today spend a large part of their resources in defending themselves from those whom they are meant to protect. I would like Pakistan to prosper and be able to fight back for two selfish reasons. One, a prosperous Pak is in India's interests, it shall help foster regional trade which in turn will help to breakdown decades of distrust & hostility. Two, a prosperous Pak will be able to fight & contain its fissiparous fundamentalist forces who if victorious will then try to permeate into India. We saw an indicator at Mumbai.
peddarowdy Dec 22, 2012 05:33am
Pakistan is NOT a failed state, but a state which will harm itself forever; will subject its own citizens to humiliation and brainwashing of various kinds. It will not fail, but suffer it will.. There is end to this in the foreseeable future.
Ali Dec 22, 2012 05:39am
Select ten/fifteen honest and sincere people to run the affairs of the country. ( A difficult proposition) Put a total ban on politics and religious activities and also ban all actvities of armed forces for fifteen years and finally ablosih the current system of policing the state and you will get a new/reborn Pakistan. (No harm trying, no harm dreaming)
Bilal Dec 22, 2012 06:33am
If Pakistani Nation was such a resilient society, then corrupts like Zardari would not have been ruling at us
Syed J. Ahmed Dec 22, 2012 06:39am
I think resilient is overused, if you think about resiliency than I think people living in parts of africa are resilient, people who live in somalia in resilient, heck people living in any 3rd world country are resilient in my book. What you have to understand is some people have no other choice. I see the word resilient used too many times by some TV anchors and politicians and that's just to pour some encouragement to a very demoralized country. Like it or not Pakistan is a failed state and it's only going to get worse and worse if people don't start figuring things out for themselves and understanding what is good for the whole nation and what is bad. There are just too many things wrong with Pakistan at the moment to consider it anything but a fail state.
K G Surendran Dec 22, 2012 07:09am
If Somalia can come back from the brink because of its people, and the basic instincts of humans is survival, no state can be declared a failed state. Most nation states could do with deep rooted democracy which foster strong democratic institutions thereby ensuring better standards of living for its citizens through more participatory forms of governance. Democracy is no five year wonder cure and by no means a perfect form of governance but it is the best available to humans as of today and its central theme is freedom of expression and choice. Pakistan will for the first time in history witness a democratically elected government finish its term and despite all the naysayers within Pakistan this is a moment to cherish for the future of a country which is facing huge challenges as the author has enumerated.
akhter husain Dec 22, 2012 07:09am
Thank you Mr Michael Kugelman for your encouraging words about us.Surely we are not as bad as people may project.We have all the courage and potential to fight, all kind of miseries and extremism that is humanly possible.
akhter husain Dec 22, 2012 07:15am
It is not all about money that makes a state successful but it is the determination to endure and survive in spite of it.This needs a firm character and faith. .
Sheikh chilli Dec 22, 2012 07:15am
When you suggest a state is failed you are suggesting it was successful once. Pakistan is not a failed state in the sense it never was successful and hence it could not get any worse. Whenever I want to hear bad news I just have turn on the Pakistani news channel. The reality is that Pakistan was formed as an after thought by the Brits to teach India a lesson. And boy what a lesson it has been.
bilal Dec 23, 2012 11:12am
well written and analysed Michael! keep writing, we follow your every article
Fuzail Z. Ahmad Dec 22, 2012 07:38am
Excellent article, Mr. Kugelman. Yes we will not only survive but we will bounce right back with every opportunity. I live and work outside Pakistan but my heart is with my homeland. I love you Pakistan, and I will say it as loud as I can, every time.
Fahad Razzaq Bhatti Dec 22, 2012 07:38am
Great Article Michael !
Adeel Dec 22, 2012 07:43am
u forget the pakistani workers abroad, who send the remittance worth billion USD per month.
Omar Dec 22, 2012 07:58am
Pakistan is not a failed state but it is a failing state. Unless some dramatic institutional changes take place Pakistan will fail in a historic fashion.
anwar kamal Dec 23, 2012 03:18pm
Not failed ,but ruined.Such as law & order,security of life ,economy,education,industry,,,
Ben Dec 22, 2012 08:28am
Pakistan is a name of Love and Passion. Nice observation
Insight Dec 22, 2012 08:33am
Wah! what and Insight.
Seeker Dec 22, 2012 08:46am
Pakistan is shining in resilience. :)
Vikram Dec 22, 2012 08:58am
Pakistan is not a failed state or a successful state its in between,its rating is 4.5 out of 10,you need a 0 rating to call a state a failed state.
yahya Khan Dec 22, 2012 10:04am
This is a very realistic and laudable judgement of the writer. Intellectuals of his calibre should use their influence on the western governments not to support / protect the corrupt individuals who somehow climb to the top positions in the Pakistan government.
abduk karim Dec 22, 2012 10:37am
live there for a month and then write again your experience
Nish Dec 22, 2012 10:54am
Check the following news reported by Dawn and then say what kind of state Pakistan is:
Salman Dec 22, 2012 11:26am
the only aspect he failed to refer is Pakistan Army and Peshawar Police. no military around the world has ever fought such battle. In Swat, our Army received heaviest number of casualties in world history in terms officers against soldiers. Talk about Peshawar police. there is no street, no post in that city which has not been targeted. Our brave policemen have not abandoned a single check post ever. My country is there to live,, INSHALLAH
Salman Dec 22, 2012 11:29am
Buck up
Akram Dec 22, 2012 11:58am
those who have set foot in Pakistan, do not recognise the picture of Pakistan painted in the west. It is this picture which is wrong, and will need correcting. Despite its problems, pakistan as an emerging economy (and a member of the Next 11 group) will change this perception over the next 20 years. of this I have no doubt. Much like Mexico has changed its perception over the last 50 years.
Rip Dec 22, 2012 12:05pm
The only problem with Pakistan is its false pied that prevents it from taking India's help in dealing with its failing state.
Putar Dec 22, 2012 12:28pm
Pakistan is already a failed state. The main cause of this is the systematic destruction of institution of democracy . The ruling elite who are a minority are setting the agenda in Pakistan ie the Clergy and the goons they control , The landowners and the military. The common Pakistani is suffering and has no say in the running of Pakistan. The same disease is now also cropping up in India also , where politicians or ruling elite have lost their connect with the populace. Instead of tackling the basic issues affecting common people they are busy filling their own houses by looting the country. They are slowly but surely killing the democracy and poisoning the various institutions for their own selfish means.
reality not selected truth Dec 22, 2012 12:55pm
Certain societies have a tendency to absorb and digest its problem.
reality not selected truth Dec 22, 2012 12:59pm
Reminds me of my own experience when i came abroad i did not know which pakistan people were talking about. I have most probably lived a dangerous life than the average. Working in a govt. hospital taking taxi regularly at any time of the day and yes that includes night as well. Only after a long time i understood the paranoia people had about pakistan. In the beginning i thought these were just polite conversations of a country noone knew about.
WellWisher Dec 22, 2012 12:59pm
Well, Its another article over an article, but very true that exaggeration is all around from both positive and negative perspective. This is just like the same propaganda we heard about Karachi from rest of the Pakistan who seems over concerned about the overall situation of city but Karachites feel in altogether different way as the person who is experiencing good and bad due to his physical presence knows better than those who are just watching/observing from outside.
Miss Riaz Dec 22, 2012 01:06pm
well said..
rajiv Dec 22, 2012 01:18pm
Wow... civilization is good idea... its indus valley civililzation but oday only the invaders are glorified.. If you want to stick to civilization part then try to see the level gori, babar etc in your society and in a second you would know what is wrong with pakistan... you gave pakistan its true and glorious identity... but pakistanis feel proud to celebrate the people who tried to crush it.. if you guys take out the religion part. you have every reason to hate these invaders who turned most of pakistani cities into rubble centuries back...
Raj Dec 22, 2012 01:38pm
So when are you returning to Pakistan permanantly ??? You may have taken admission of kids in Pakistani Schools ( Madressas ) and Universities I believe.
akbari Dec 22, 2012 02:27pm
No Pakistan has never been burden on any one. How can it be a burden for any country like India which is already a burden for so many ! First solve your problems Mr. Akhilesh.
akbari Dec 22, 2012 02:33pm
I too live outside. I have now the parallel citizenship of another country also. Of course I am happy about that. BUT my pride is being a Pakistani which is my identity. Corrupt Politicians of PP, PML, ANP or MQM does not mean that Pakistan is a failed state. A time will soon be there when these politicians will be got rid off (Insha Allah). Just wait.
Bilal Dec 22, 2012 02:45pm
your country also have many of its own problem from poverty to lawlessness, Insurgencies to religious extremism and many other .. so better to look at them first ...
Hum Dec 22, 2012 03:08pm
Get real bq45
Javaid Dec 22, 2012 03:09pm
Unbelievably candid and accurate post my dear. I visit Pakistan every 2 or 3 years and my experiences are an exact replica of yours. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for the post.
Mahvesh Khan Dec 22, 2012 03:14pm
This must be absolutely the worst article about Pakistan that I have ever read. The only good thing about it is the response left by bq45. I grew up in Lahore & Islamabad, Pakistan. I live a very comfortable life here in Islamabad and so do most of the people I know. I have required very little "resilience" to live here in Pakistan. Of-course, from what I can gather from American Media coverage of Newtown, Americans appear to have lost the ability to cope with any stress life throws their way. The word "stoic" does not appear to be part of the American dictionary. Luckily, being Pakistani, I have the sense not to base my judgment of any country or its people on what the media says about it. And most especially not on what the "expert" says about it. I'd be interested to know when Mr. Michael Kugman last visited Pakistan, how much time he spent in Pakistan and where he stayed? I'm betting he visited for the first and last time at-least eleven years ago (before 9/11), spent one week at a five-star hotel and became an instant "expert" on all things Pakistani! I find it interesting that in the catalogue of disasters he recites, he skips: both Afghan wars, the American role in setting up the Madrassah system (including,by the way, the syllabus that created the "Jihadists" they demonize so much today),the American drone attacks on Pakistani people that kill our children on a daily basis -- you know, a few of the "disasters" we have to be "resilient" against. Let me re-create his analysis of Pakistan for America: "Americans are a resilient people. Despite the corrupt electoral system that disenfranchised black voters in order to ensure George W. Bush won the elections the first time around, despite George W. Bush's mishandling of Hurricane Katrina which demonstrated the lack of care for the poor in America, despite Obama's inability to provide health insurance coverage to the poor, despite the Trayvon tragedy, despite the gun lobby, despite the Newtown tragedy, despite the constant, aggressive and illegal wars that America policy-makers continue to push even without public support, despite the collapse in the banking system that has led many to lose their homes, despite the fat bonuses given to bankers and the punishment meted out to creditors, they continue to live in and survive America" And I'm certainly not a Sr. Program Associate at the Wilson Woodrow International Center for Scholars. If Mr. Kugman is a sample of the quality of scholars they produce, I am delighted to have escaped this honor!
Nina Dec 23, 2012 12:24pm
Compared to America, many countries are failed states.
Ali Dec 22, 2012 03:43pm
Pakistan is not a failed state because the rest of the world cannot afford for it to fail due to its strategic geographic position, and therefore the country keeps getting bailed out. Please do not give any credit to the people of Pakistan - they keep trying their level best to "fail" the state.
Sania Dec 22, 2012 03:49pm
Thank you for your note. I am glad to hear some positives about Pakistan. After reading your post, I would love to visit my motherland. It is been almost 10 years now!
fahad_va Dec 22, 2012 04:08pm
That is one well written comment. It should be an article on its own. Thank you for that
Ehsan Dec 22, 2012 04:29pm
I routinely visit and share the same feelings.
KKRoberts Dec 23, 2012 02:08pm
Pakistan is not a failed state.Look at Karachi Stock Exchange.The index is running very high.
Jawad U Rahman Dec 23, 2012 11:56am
With due respect, this is no cause to celebrate that the state has not failed yet, remains on the brink of failing any time, and that its people come to its rescue from the 'cliff' every time. Ultimately, the law of averages will catch up and things will reach a point of no return. Pakistan, at some point, will have to start behaving and performing like all other nations in the mainstream of global community who are firmly on the path to development and prosperity. Or else, God forbid, it will actually fail. You can't chance your way out of poverty and lack of development.
Akoi Dec 24, 2012 09:50am
This is just ridiculous!
Nina Dec 22, 2012 05:36pm
I hope you feel better now thats off your chest.
bq45 Dec 23, 2012 12:58pm
Dear Mahvesh I agree with you that Michael's article is not very coherent, scholarly or even well researched but he is trying to be supportive of Pakistan in his own way.Let us give him his due. Thank you for appreciating my comment. I have updated and expanded the orginal comment and I would be delighted to send it to you if you so wish. Please send me an e-mail on; Kind regards bq45 Bashy Quraishy
Nina Dec 22, 2012 05:41pm
bq45, I'm glad you had a nice trip to Pakistan. Any one who's ever been here knows its not about to fail or implode. We for sure know it. We face a lot of troubles on the terrorism front at present so a few negative lines from our neighbours hardly matter to us. Dont worry we'll be fine.
ahsan7979 Dec 22, 2012 05:54pm
You are a true son of soil!
ahsan7979 Dec 22, 2012 05:57pm
Which world do you live in?
ahsan7979 Dec 22, 2012 05:58pm
Pakistan is the best!
Aliya Dec 22, 2012 06:29pm
I really don't know why nobody is not protesting against anything here...i really don't know what happened to our youth..Around the world changes are happening due youth protest and agitation for freedom,safety,proper living etc.. .... but i never expect that to happen here as we jus go for words but no deeds...We have to bring the change ourselves we cant expect a leader to bring the change otherwise we will always remain a failed state....
Pakistan Dec 22, 2012 07:32pm
If Pakistan was not a failed state then people would have some hope left in the country and would not have been commiting suicides like they do now.... The hope lies in PTI, Judiciary and an independent media....
Pakistan Dec 22, 2012 07:34pm
please dont come....
Raj Deshpande Dec 23, 2012 12:45pm
15% of 180 is 27 million--
Imran Dec 23, 2012 12:36pm
Nish by your definition, India has been a failed state since 2002 when hordes of Hindu fanatics lynched thousands of Muslims.
Sam Dec 22, 2012 09:18pm
Until religious extremism is State supported it is not possible. It will take few nerves of steel to pull back.
Aqil Siddiqi Dec 22, 2012 09:23pm
The whole world can see, that Pakistan is a failed state except for Mr.Kugelman. Please do visit Pakistan very very soon, and when you return back, write the truth this time.
SPar Dec 22, 2012 11:19pm
When terrorism is the policy of state, what else could you expect?
Ajamal Dec 23, 2012 01:13pm
Compared to America, most of third world countries should be called failed states. Many a countries in the world have gone through turmoil, particularly when big powers use their backyards for power struggle. Who thought Vietnam and Cambodia back in '60s of where they are today.
Sanjay Dec 23, 2012 01:32am
Sorry sir pak have no connection with indus valley civilization but india has pakistan history start with invasion of muhmad bin kasim
Muhammad Dec 23, 2012 01:40am
If Pakistan is not a failed state, what is it?
Sad but not bad Dec 23, 2012 02:18am
Well said, The same way no one can win Afghanistan ever.
Sad but not bad Dec 23, 2012 02:35am
Wow, BQ45. Your comment definately encourages to fullfill one of the 10 things I want to do before I die. 1 of them was to finish a route by car and the only obstacle in route was ''Taftan to Wagha''. Many of my Pakistani friends scared me a lot till now, the way they scared you. By reading you , I'm less worried.
ATP Dec 23, 2012 03:07am
Pakistan is sure a great nation. By far in survival mode Pakistanis beats everyone on the planet. I'm surprised how day to day life can be so difficult where nothing is safe. Human life price can some time be the least priced on the list. Still with all these difficulties facing by the average person, Pakistan still survive and still produce great doctors, engg, rocket scientists etc., I pray for the peace for everyone on this planet. Hope God makes life easy for all the mankind. Pakistanis should always held their heads up high, and get good leadership and then there is nothing they can't achieve. If there is any other country facing difficulties like Pakistan, I think they might not be able to face the music. So please elect right leaders.
S Dec 23, 2012 09:01am
Thanks Michael - INSHALLAH we will survive ...
Pakistani Dec 23, 2012 04:13am
I sincerely, hope that they do the same when they cast their vote.....They have never done that in the past......... They have never dared to stand up against wrong...........The freedom that Jinnah got them, they had taken it for granted. They will have to stand up to get it, just like any other nation did......Nothing is for free
Nabidad Khan — Sharjah Dec 23, 2012 01:29pm
Very well written piece, but, how the writer forgot about the role of the rising Judiciary in Pakistan. Pakistan is a name of spirit and spirit never defeat. Inshallah, we, the Pakistanis will be back on track soon with full strength.
rasool Dec 23, 2012 08:25pm
Sarcasm at its best :)
chacha_chaudhry Dec 23, 2012 08:30pm
Just little information 59 hindus burnt alive in train resulting in riots , which caused 790 muslim casualities 253 hindu casualities In a state with just 10% muslim Population. Gujarat is a victim of media, many more muslims or hindus or christians were killed in many parts of world , but didn't make a big news.
Dev Dec 24, 2012 10:23am
The writer is certainly day dreaming. Pakistan is not a failed state because of US dollars.Once US stops aid Pakistan economy and than Pakistan itself would collapse.
Michael Kugelman Dec 24, 2012 03:07am
Thanks to all, as always, for these very instructive and inspiring responses. As for my detractors. First, @Mahvash Khan, it's unclear why you're so unhappy with the article. It seems you believe that just because you and most people you know lead comfortable lives in Islamabad, then I am hopelessly naive for assuming that other people actually suffer in Pakistan. I'm also not sure why you launch into a screed about how America has brought such harm to Pakistan. My simple objective here was to recognize how Pakistanis pull through amid such hardship, and I can't understand why you'd object to that. Feel free to email me to chat further; I'd be curious to hear your perspective. @bq45, sorry you found the piece incoherent. As for not being "scholarly"--alas, it's a blog post, not a PhD dissertation!
areeha Dec 24, 2012 04:29am
good effort ..:)
sraz45 Dec 24, 2012 05:26am
write your identity or else do not make these statements. It goes to show you do not want to be identified, have an ulterior motive.
sraz45 Dec 24, 2012 05:33am
It what context is it failed state. The USA is a failed state also in so ways, for examle, some 30 million people here do not get enough to live by. 6 million children go hungry everyday. Thousands of its returning vertrans live on skid row (on the streets in downtowns) across the nation. This from a country which is the richest on earth. So you have to compare apples to apples not oranges.Leave Pakistan alone, it will be alright.
Fazi Dec 24, 2012 02:19pm
A good article and points to a rarely mentioned fact of Pakistani Society. Pakistani people are truly resilient and come to each others aid in the hour of need, far more effectively than Government agencies or other organisations. Seldom see such good articles in Dawn these days.
Mariah Dec 25, 2012 07:55am
Thank You Michael ! Atleast somebody noticed the truth.
Mariam Ahmed Dec 24, 2012 07:32am
Agreed with your Mr. Micheal. The dire need of this country is committed and visionary leadership and if we will get it we will be out of all these turmoils Inshallah.
Rao Dec 24, 2012 07:38am
State is absent in the affairs of the people....what more you want ....Pakistan is a failed or failing state...If you have said that DAWN wouldn't have published that
Ihtesham Kayani Dec 24, 2012 04:41pm
Very well said sir.
Naresh sharma Dec 24, 2012 04:57pm
ha ha ha.. chander gupt morya won and many indian king ruled over afganistan.. alexender the great was one of them
anwar kamal Dec 24, 2012 05:16pm
Shame to the rulers of pakistan.
Kay Ess Dec 24, 2012 07:27pm
Spoken like a true Indian. Thanks for confirming my belief in 'friends' across the border.
AJ Dec 24, 2012 09:56pm
We are not a failed state because of society and culture now things are changing thanks to media and just wait and see what kind of state we will be after one generation.
Amir Bangash Dec 25, 2012 09:36am
Pakistan is blessed with every thing you name any, say beautiful land, excellent weather conditions,5 rivers making the land fertile,vast energy resources sites on the rivers, talented maximum young population,unlimited sites for sea ports,vast natural resources and the nation is waiting for sincere leadership to take the country to the leading position.
bharat Dec 26, 2012 09:15am
Terms like failed state are coined by countries like America that believe only they are important Pakistan is struggling but has a good chance to improve. Who will improve it except its own citizens.
Barbara Dec 26, 2012 11:54am
Pakistan has so much potential , it will someday be among the world leaders. The country also has the most beautiful flag.
Abhishek Dec 28, 2012 01:59pm
A prosperous Pakistan is not only in the interest of Pakistanis, it is in the interest of India and South Asia as well. I wish that soon Pakistan overcomes her problems and become one of the best places to live in the world.